Foods That Can Lower Thyroid Function by Dr. Asa Andrew

Dana From California Writes:

I just came back from my family doctor and he said that I have hypothyroidism. He put me on the standard medication and said that I need to follow a healthier eating plan. What does that really mean? I eat healthy foods like salads, fish, and vegetables. What else could I be doing?

Dear Dana,

We have seen a rise in low thyroid function over the last few years.  The thyroid is so important because it controls several functions within the body. It is responsible for our overall metabolism, energy production, mental clarity, and helps support the heart rate. Several factors including environmental, nutritional, and some genetics can play a role with how well the thyroid works. When you have hypothyroidism, it means that the thyroid is starting to break down, for whatever reason. 

One of the greatest tools that we have is the power in the foods we eat every day. Our food can rebuild the body in so many ways. Certain foods can make the body function better or worse. It all depends on our choices. Lets take a look at some foods that should be avoided in order to support the overall metabolism and thyroid function. Keep in mind it is not to avoid these foods permanently, but should be avoided often.

1.Cruciferous Vegetables
Yes broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage. Yes they are healthy but they are considered goitrogenic foods. The reason is these foods can block the body’s ability to absorb iodine. Iodine is essential for the thyroid to function properly. The average is to limit your daily consumption to around 4oz to avoid any potential issues. Also, cooking can reduce some of these effects.

Avoiding gluten may help increase thyroid function. Most grain-based foods such as bread, pasta, cereal, and crackers can be the culprit. Research has shown that gluten irritates the small intestine and may reduce the absorption of thyroid replacement medication. A better option would be the gluten free products. 

The reason this long touted health food is in the line up is how it impacts estrogen. Soy is known to elevate estrogen in men and women. The higher the estrogen, the greater chance for the thyroid to be affected.

4.Trans Fats
Fats found in fried foods have been shown to disrupt the body’s ability to absorb thyroid hormone. So consider reducing your fats from saturated sources that would include trans-fats. Also include the healthier fats like fish oil, olive oil, avocado, nuts and seeds. 

5.Processed Carbohydrates
Sugar and refined flour will be a sure ticket to slow down the thyroid and cause your metabolism to come to crawl. Choose whole foods starchy options like brown rice and sweet potatoes. Avoid fruit juices and sugary drinks as well. The sugar isn’t worth it. 

Just go easy on the caffeine. Eight cups of coffee a day could begin to block the absorption of thyroid hormone replacement. Tea is usually safe due to its lower levels of caffeine for your health. Opt for lemon in your water. It will give you an energy boost and support you creating a more alkaline environment.

Keep it simple. If you have a thyroid condition, you should consider cutting out the alcohol. Even moderation might be too much. Studies have shown that alcohol can really tear down the gland almost similar to a toxic effect.

Along with a detailed eating and lifestyle plan you should be able to support the overall metabolism. Check out our new natural support for the metabolism and thyroid called Metabolic Edge. It’ s loaded with key nutrients to help the body function well and increase well-being. 



Known as America’s Health Coach, Dr. Asa Andrew is a national best-selling author and host of the #1 Health Talk Radio Show in North America. In addition to his hit television series, Dr. Asa is a regular contributor to NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN, and FOX and regarded as a healthcare leader in the field of lifestyle medicine.