Thyroid and Nutrition – What you need to know

In this article I talk all about the thyroid and nutrition – I hope you find the information useful!

The Thyroid
The thyroid gland is a butterfly shaped gland that sits in the neck. Its main role is as “energy manager”. It regulates the METABOLISM (that’s the amount of energy we make and use). If we produce too much thyroid hormone we have too much energy and get hyper active, and too little makes us feel tired as we run down our stores too quickly! In this article I focus only on the under active thyroid.

The thyroid works by responding to a message from the brain. That “TSH” message tells it to produce T4, T3, T2 and T1. Each of the thyroid hormones is made using mainly tyrosine (a protein) TPO (an enzyme) selenium and iodine. These building blocks we get from food so straight away we can see how important it is to eat the right foods for the thyroid.

Why something goes wrong
Issues occur if the thyroid isn’t getting the correct messages from the brain, we have antibodies that are attacking the thyroid, the thyroid hormones aren’t being converted into a form we can use or the cells don’t allow the hormones inside them. The thyroid controls our energy regulation so if it’s not working correctly then nothing in the body is. People can be diagnosed as hyperthyroid or hypothyroid but many feel ill despite normal blood tests.

Common Symptoms
HYPOTHYROID: Weight gain – feel cold – fatigue – aches in joints & muscles – fluid retention – puffy face – high Blood Pressure – constipation – thrush – depression – anxiety – high cholesterol – infertility – loss of libido – hair loss – heavy & irregular periods – hoarse voice – infections – anemia – swollen neck

Where Nutrition Comes Into It

I have already touched on how it is important to eat foods that contain the building blocks for us to make thyroid hormones but what about other foods? Some foods actually inhibit the thyroid or the body using them – lifestyle factors can impact too…..

The following should be avoided if you have an under active thyroid:
1. STRESS – when we are stressed the thyroid doesn’t work well so it’s important to manage the stresses in your life. Stress isn’t just a major event either – it can be sugar, caffeine, phobias, bereavement, big deadlines or just day to day busy life
2. FLUORIDE – fluoride blocks thyroid hormone production and the T3 getting into the cells. It’s in water (in some areas), toothpaste, mouthwashes, and all leaf TEA – why not switch to herbal?
3. GOITROGEN FOODS – These stop us using iodine to make the thyroid hormones are are found in raw broccoli, soy products, peanuts , spinach, radishes
4. PLASTICS & DIOXINS – Can inhibit the uptake of T3 into the cells. These are in paints, tins, plastic bottles, clingfilm etc

Here is a list of good foods for the thyroid:
1. Organic foods
2. unprocessed and natural foods
3. Lots of fruits and veg
4. Iodine rich foods such as sea vegetables and fish
5. Selenium rich foods like brazil nuts and meat
6. Good quality protein – meat, fish, eggs, beans and pulses
7. Lots of fresh filtered water

If you would like to know more about the thyroid or want to book an appointment to have a nutrition consultation with Apples to Zinc why not get in touch today….just email


Janet x

Janet Padfield

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