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Research-Based Hashimoto’s Diet

Hashimoto’s disease in one of the autoimmune thyroid disorders and the most common reason for low thyroid levels. Environmental factors along with genetic factors play an important role in the development of Hashimoto’s disease. Here I would like to evaluate the research that has been done about diet and their effect on Hashimoto’s diseases. And then based on that research what will be the best diet to follow for patients with Hashimoto’s disease.

Research on Food and Hashimoto’s disease. 

A study was done on 1887 participants looking for the influence of various kinds of dietary factors on the Hashimoto’s antibodies [1]. They made several different categories of food and looked for either a positive or negative association with developing antibodies for Hashimotos. What they found was the category which consumed vegetables, dried fruits, nuts had less chances of Hashimotos. While People who consumed more animal fats and butter had more chances of having Positive antibodies for Hashimoto’s disease.They hypothesized that the high amount of phytonutrients and polyphenols in the plant based diet might have caused the positive influence on the Hashimoto’s.  

Another study was done to look for effect of low carb and allergen free diet on Hashimoto’s disease [2] . Participants in the study were put on a diet which was restrictive on the carb content and were advised to eat large quantities of leafy and other types of vegetables and only lean parts of red and white meat, they were told to avoid goitrogenic food. Other foods that were told to avoid were: eggs, legumes, dairy products, bread, pasta, fruits, and rice.  What they saw was that there was a significant reduction in thyroid antibodies, which meant an improvement of their Hashimoto’s disease. Along with that there was a significant reduction in BMI, body weight and also body fat. There was also a case study about a patient who had Hashimoto’s disease and was consuming large quantities of artificial sweeteners [3] . She stopped all the artificial sweeteners and her thyroid labs including the antibodies all came back to normal. 

To look for whether the kind of fish that people consume affects thyroid, investigators did another study. This study divided participants into eating swordfish, or eating oily fish high in omega3, or other fish [4] . What they saw was there was a significant difference in the level of thyroid antibodies in these groups. The level of thyroid antibodies being lower in group which consumed the fish high in omega3. 

Then there are several studies who has evaluated the link between gluten and Hashimoto’s. Consistently majority of these studies have shown improvement of symptoms and antibody levels, especially patients who have celiac disease . This study showed an improvement in thyroid antibodies for people who went on a gluten free diet for 6 months [5, 6 ] . 

Hashimoto’s Diet

Based on the above studies, the diet most suitable for Hashimoto;s patient should be one which is low carb, plant based, high in good fatty fish, eliminates pro inflammatory foods like grains, dairy, alcohol, soy, corn, peanuts,legumes etc. Below you will find a list of foods to avoid and list of foods to consume.

Food GroupsFoods You can Eat on Hasimoto's Diet
VegetablesLots of vegetables, just stay away from the one listed in the avoid list
Dairy free productsCoconut yogurt, ghee, goat cheese
NutsBrazil nuts, pine nuts, walnuts, coconut, pistachios,hazelnuts 
OilsCoconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil, sesame oil, MCT oil, Ghee 
FruitsAll berries, Avocado, kiwis, pomegranates, apples, peaches, 
( limit the fruits with high sugar content ) figs, plums, dates, apricots 
SweetenersStevia, monkfruit 
FishWild caught and free from mercury. Alaskam salmon, Anchovy, tuna, sardines ,White fish, Freshwater bass, halibut. 
Meat: Pasture raised poultry. 
Grass fed and wild game meat ( limit to one time 4oz portion daily)  from bison, venison boar, Elk, lamb, beef, pork
Food GroupsFoods to Avoid with Hashimoto's Disease
GrainsAll grains should be avoided, including gluten free grains also
DairyAll dairy products should be avoided
Including regular milk, yogurt, ice cream cheeses.
Eggs
Legumes and beansAny kind of beans or legumes which include soy, peanuts, Peas
Chickpeas (including hummus), lentils, tofu,edamame
Sweeteners:saccharin, aspartame, Acesulfame K
Vegetables Specially nightshades: cucumbers, zucchini, pumpkin, eggplant, melons, tomatoes, bell peppers, white potato, peas 
Nuts and seeds`Peanuts, cashews, chia, sunflower 
Oils  soy, grapeseed, cottonseed, corn, sunflower, vegetable and canola
Coffee
Chocolate
Alcohol

References:

  1. Matana A, Torlak V etal. Dietary Factors Associated with Plasma Thyroid Peroxidase and Thyroglobulin Antibodies.Nutrients. 2017 Oct 28;9(11). pii: E1186. doi: 10.3390/nu9111186.
  2. Esposito T, Lobaccaro JM etal. Effects of low-carbohydrate diet therapy in overweight subjects with autoimmune thyroiditis: possible synergism with ChREBP.Drug Des Devel Ther. 2016 Sep 14;10:2939-2946. eCollection 2016
  3. Sachmechi I, Khalid A etal. Autoimmune Thyroiditis with Hypothyroidism Induced by Sugar Substitutes.. Cureus. 2018 Sep 7;10(9):e3268. doi: 10.7759/cureus.3268
  4. Benvenga S, Vigo MT etal. Type of fish consumed and thyroid autoimmunity in pregnancy and postpartum.. Endocrine. 2016 Apr;52(1):120-9. doi: 10.1007/s12020-015-0698-3. Epub 2015 Aug 26
  5. Krysiak R, Szkróbka W, Okopień B. The Effect of Gluten-Free Diet on Thyroid Autoimmunity in Drug-Naïve Women with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis: A Pilot Study.. Exp Clin Endocrinol Diabetes. 2018 Jul 30. doi: 10.1055/a-0653-7108
  6. Metso S, Hyytiä-Ilmonen H, Kaukinen K. Gluten-free diet and autoimmune thyroiditis in patients with celiac disease. A prospective controlled study.cand J Gastroenterol. 2012 Jan;47(1):43-8. doi: 10.3109/00365521.2011.639084. Epub 2011 Nov 30.

About The Author

Dr. Anshul Gupta, MD

I am Dr.Gupta, a Functional Medicine and Integrative Medicine physician. I like to write about Functional medicine approach to managing different diseases and want to empower people to reclaim their health through this modern approach. Come join me on this healing journey.

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