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Hyperthyroidism: What are the Foods to Eat and Avoid


Hyperthyroidism is a condition caused by excessive thyroid hormone production in the thyroid gland. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), one out of 100 individuals have hyperthyroidism in the United States. 

As thyroid hormones act and contribute significantly to the body’s organ functions and energy usage, too much of its hormones can affect various functions and processes. Common symptoms include weight loss, rapid and irregular heartbeats, hand tremors, and many others. Moreover, causes may include existing medical conditions and diseases, too much iodine and thyroid hormone medicine intake, and tumors. 

Doctors may make the diagnosis by checking medical history and undertaking physical exams. Given the potential health risks of hyperthyroidism, various treatment plans, including efficient diet plans, are commonly maintained and followed. Here are the foods to eat and avoid for people with hyperthyroidism.

Foods to eat

A proper diet can contribute to managing hyperthyroidism symptoms and improving the condition. Although certain food intake will not ensure the cure and treatment of hyperthyroidism, it can help regulate thyroid hormone production. Food to eat for people with overactive thyroid include the following:

Foods Low in Iodine

Iodine plays a significant role in the production of thyroid hormones. Taking in foods low in iodine, such as egg whites, non-iodized salt, fresh vegetables, and fruits, are excellent foods to start in your low-iodine diet. Moreover, remember that the recommended iodine intake for people with hyperthyroidism is less than 50 micrograms daily. 

When preparing a low-iodine meal, plain and unsalted bread, rice cakes, cereals, grains, and nuts, can be a good inclusion to your plate. Fresh proteins and meat such as beef, pork, and chicken, including freshwater fish, is also an ideal addition to a low-iodine meal, as long as it is not processed, canned, and salted. For liquid, you can take about 8-10 glasses of plain water, carbonated water, lemonade, coconut water, fruit juices, teas, and non-dairy milk.

Cruciferous Vegetables

Cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, radish, bok choy, cauliflower, broccoli, and many others are rich in compounds that help decrease thyroid hormone production. You can try different and simple recipes at home when trying various cruciferous vegetables. These recipes may include cruciferous salads, roasted vegetables, stews, and a refreshing cruciferous smoothie.

While cruciferous vegetables are better for people with hyperthyroidism, it is most likely limited to people with opposite conditions like hypothyroidism. To understand more about the difference between these thyroid diseases, you can check https://www.buzzrx.com/blog/hypothyroidism-vs-hyperthyroidism for more.

Foods Containing Iron, Calcium, and Vitamin D

Although regulating food intake reduces thyroid hormone production, prioritizing thyroid health is also crucial. Hyperthyroidism is also highly congruent with low iron levels. This means that there is a need for adequate intake of iron-containing foods as it promotes red blood cell regulation, maintaining the carry out of oxygen in the body cells for energy that people need to survive.

Iron-rich foods include red meat, chicken, turkey, beans, green leafy vegetables, dried fruits, and iron-fortified cereals. Some seafood, like oysters and fish, is also rich in iron. However, remember that oysters are rich in iodine. Thus, you must carefully check the food's nutritional components to ensure that you get a balanced meal.

Additionally, calcium and vitamin D are also important as hyperthyroidism can lead to the decrease of density and minerals in the bones. Limiting milk for about no more than once a day can help, combined with calcium and vitamin D-rich foods like broccoli, kale, and bok choy.

Foods to avoid

Given the restrictions due to hyperthyroidism, various foods must be avoided or  consumed in low amounts, including the following:

  • Iodine-rich food - As mentioned above, too much iodine can increase thyroid hormone production, which is risky for people with hyperthyroidism. This means that high-iodine food must be avoided or limited.
  • Soy - If you are undergoing radioactive iodine uptake or treatment, soy can either interfere with or adversely affect various thyroid functions. Soy sources may include soy milk, tofu, soybean oil, soy sauce, and edamame beans.
  • Caffeine - Caffeine consumption can affect and worsen hyperthyroidism symptoms, leading to an increased heartbeat and stimulating common symptoms like palpitation, anxiety, tremors, and for some, insomnia. Caffeine-containing drinks that must be avoided include coffee, energy drinks, soda, and black tea.
  • Commercial products - Store-bought products, including processed and canned goods, can commonly contain high iodine ingredients and preservatives that may trigger hyperthyroid symptoms. As mentioned, checking nutrition facts labels can help identify ingredients and components that can further affect the condition. 


Hyperthyroidism is one serious health condition that requires proper guidance, treatment plans, and recommendation from health professionals like doctors and dietitians. Given the risk posed by the disease, healthy habits and dietary plans must be followed closely to ensure proper management and prevention of more serious conditions. 

Moreover, remember to regularly check with your doctor or dietitian to get the necessary help and changes to your treatment or diet plan, if needed. 

What is Hyperthyroidism? Health, What are the Foods to Eat and Avoid if you have hyperthyroidism? Medical History, Medicine, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive Kidney Diseases