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There is no specific "diet for an underactive thyroid." Instead, the best thing a person with hypothyroidism can do is eat a well-balanced diet, with minimal amounts of salt and trans fats and plenty of vegetables, whole grains, and lean sources of protein. However, too much dietary fiber can affect how the body absorbs thyroid medications, as can certain other foods.

What Is a Good Diet for an Underactive Thyroid?

Many people with an underactive thyroid wonder if there is a special diet they should be following. The short answer to this question is no. There are no foods or combinations of foods that have been shown in clinical studies to improve thyroid function. However, there are also no foods that have been shown in clinical studies to make an underactive thyroid (known medically as hypothyroidism) worse.
Therefore, healthcare providers recommend that people with hypothyroidism continue to follow balanced and healthy diets, be skeptical of "miraculous" claims, and avoid elimination diets and fad nutritional practices.

The Well-Balanced Diet

If you have an underactive thyroid, you should eat a well-balanced diet and control your weight. A well-balanced diet can help you feel better and can be a positive step in dealing with this condition. It can also help decrease your chances of developing heart disease or certain types of cancer.
Controlling your weight can help minimize the need to increase thyroid replacement medicines. It can also minimize your risk of developing other health problems.
Some suggestions for eating a well-balanced diet and controlling your weight include:
  • Eat a heart-healthy diet. This diet should include foods such as:
    • Fruits, vegetables, grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products
    • Lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts.
  • Limit foods with saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, sodium (salt), and added sugars.
  • Get regular physical activity for at least 30 minutes a day on most days of the week.
  • Limit your intake of alcohol.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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