When I was first diagnosed with Hashimoto’s autoimmune thyroid disease at 17, all I knew was that levothyroixine and Synthroid were the only medicines that could help me. That’s what doctors told me, that’s what other people on the internet were saying at the time and that’s all I ever knew. However, I had slowly come to learn that the food I ate could be a powerful medicine for supporting my body and healing my Hashimoto’s. Healing my own Hashimoto’s disease was done with holistic practices, treating the root cause, and real food. That’s why I’m excited to share this list of the best foods for Hashimoto’s disease!
Hashimoto’s disease is an autoimmune disease that begins the same way every other one does… in the gut. Our gut houses our immune system and the gut integrity is crucial to whether or not we develop autoimmunity. Giving our gut healing foods that both help heal the gut itself and give our body proper nutrients is crucial to achieving health with autoimmunity!
Now, it’s always important to stress that food alone is not the savior. Yes, I said it. Food a’int everythang. It seriously cannot fix everything just like it’s not the one thing that caused the problem. Food provides the nutrients and it’s one of the few things that we can actually control, but it’s just a piece of it. For me, I had to address my digestion, heal my gut, focus on my adrenals, minerals, blood sugar, and the like before I could every really make a real dent in healing. You have to work one on one with a medical doctor to really address Hashimoto’s… food is just one piece of the puzzle for a healthy lifestyle.
Disclaimers, aside that food won’t solve all of your problems, it will help tremendously! I always say that my number one biggest change in my health came from diet and it’s true. It gave me the most results the quickest, and really, it makes sense. Food can either be super inflammatory, or it can provide our body with nutrients needed to do its job correctly!
1.Organic Vegetables & Herbs
Veggies first, y’all.
I think regardless of what diet we follow, we can all agree that veggies and herbs are incredibly healing, and nutrient dense. Contrary to popular belief, the paleolithic man was not primarily meat based… they still ate mostly plants. Organic vegetables and herbs are full of phytonutrients that allow us to thrive. They give us energy, vitamins, minerals, and help the body heal. The general recommended value for a veggie-packed diet is up to 9 cups a day.
However, not all veggies are created equal. Especially when you’re dealing with Hashimoto’s there are two different veggie groups that I would be careful with… nightshades and goitrogens.
- Goji berries
After years with Hashimoto’s, I eventually discovered that nightshades were my worst trigger for flares. They’re often associated with joint pain, and they’re avoided on the autoimmune protocol for their tendency to cause inflammation. Not everyone reacts poorly, but it’s best to be cautious. I recommend many folks to avoid them for a period and reintroduce them to see how they react. If you’re like me, you’ll stay without
Goitrogenic vegetables include…
- Brussels sprouts etc.
These vegetables are known to slow down your thyroid in large amounts and when eaten raw. However, the best way to combat this is to eat them cooked and in moderation raw. A kale salad here and there or some raw broccoli won’t kill you, but they really are best cooked.
So what vegetables are “safe”?
- Cooked gotrigentic veggies
2. Vegetable Starches
We’re told that whole grains are healthy, full of fiber and that we should be eating more grains than vegetables. I highly beg to differ. Whole grains can be very inflammatory to the gut and not productive in an autoimmune state. I’m 95% grain free (I have rice on occasion) and know many others with autoimmunity who are the same are report great results.
However, we still need carbohydrates, especially with Hashimoto’s (read why here). That’s why we need to lean on vegetable starches rather than go grain heavy. What does that mean?
- Sweet potatoes
- Winter and summer squash
As a recovered pizza and french fry queen, I always thought that there as no way I’d be able to live without them. Not only is that the wrong way to think about it, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Trust me, I am just as happy and much healthier munching on my parsnip fries.
3. Bone Broth & Fermented Foods
Bone broth for life, y’all. Seriously, you guys know I’m obsessed with bone broth. It’s basically the green juice of animal protein. It’s made from grass-fed bones cooked over 24-48 hours to draw out the vitamins, and minerals. The gelatin in broth helps heal damaged gut lining and the easy to digest minerals support our healing as a whole!
Here are some great recipes for bone broth:
Fermented veggies are another big one for gut health. Basically every indigenous culture had some sort of ferment, but we’ve completely stopped doing it. They’re rich in probiotics that feed our good gut bacteria and support a healthy gut and immune system! Fermented vegetables can be enjoyed in sauerkraut, kimchi, beet kvass, and basically anything else you can ferment.
Here are some great fermented food recipes:
- My Probiotic Beet Kvass
- No-Fail No-Pound Sauerkraut by Phoenix Helix
- Coconut Water Kefir by The Coconut Mama
These are traditional foods that are important to consume as often as possible to heal the gut, and daily if possible.
4. Sea Vegetables
These are another long forgotten traditional food that are packed with minerals, notably selenium and iodine which are both very low in our modern diets.
Iodine is very controversial in the Hashimoto’s community, and where most of the data leans is that high dose supplementation is not productive for Hashimoto’s and can actually be harmful. So though it’s important not to overdue sea vegetables as too much iodine can be harmful to Hashimoto’s, it’s also good to be mindful about adding in some seaweed, kelp or sea vegetables here and there to get some added minerals and a basic level of iodine.
My favorite way to add in sea veggies is to snack of seasnax a couple of times a week. They’re easy to snack on, and seriously yummy!
5. Healthy Fats
Fats are demonized for all of the wrong reason. Healthy fats are the building blocks of our hormones which regulate processes in the body and the thyroid!
Poor quality fats equals poor quality hormones and poor quality bile which equals poor quality digestion. It’s so important to make sure we’re eating enough fat, and the right fats to stay healthy and nourished. So what are healthy fats?
- Pasture raised animal fats (like tallow, lard, schmaltz, etc.)
- Grass-fed butter or ghee
- Olive oil
- Properly prepared nuts
6. Wild Caught Fish
Wild caught fish is a super food! It’s packed with anti-inflammatory Omega 3 fatty acids which is necessary for regulating inflammation.
I’m going to label an extreme caution with certain kinds of fish however… and that’s fish that’s high in mercury. I’m talking tuna (yes, even canned), shark, swordfish, orange roughy, and other large fish. Mercury poisoning is very real (actually, I have very high mercury that I’m working on detoxing from… more on that later) and it’s terrible for those of us with Hashimoto’s as mercury can inhibit selenium absorption which is crucial for a healthy thyroid. Be extremely cautious with these fish and only eat them on rare occasions.
So what are better fish to eat?
- Shellfish in moderation
7. Pastured Meats
Similar to fat, meat also gets an extremely bad reputation as being the antithesis of health. I hated meat for the first 23 years of my life. Except for chicken nuggets 😉 But really, I thought meat was so “bad for you” and I hated the way it tasted.
Let’s get one thing straight… CAFO, conventional meat is terrible for you. I’m taking the stuff you just buy off the shelf or get in restaurants that came from a feedlot. That is full of hormones, and was fed GMO grain. Even “organic” meat was fed organic grain which still isn’t suitable for animal consumption.
However, meat that was raised on pasture, and fed grass is much higher quality and better for human consumption. It ate it’s natural diet, it got sunlight, and it lived a humane life. Look for local pasture raised meat, or check out retailers like US Wellness Meats for high quality meat online.
I recommend eating whatever your body wants for pasture raised protein from beef, turkey, chicken, lamb, etc. Oh, and you can still get down with some chicken nuggets, my friend. Try my sweet potato chicken poppers made with pasture raised chicken 😉
8. Lower Sugar Fruits
Like vegetables, certain fruits can be rich in vitamins and phytochemicals. However, they’re far more sugar-y than vegetables. Though sugar from fruit is much less harmful than refined cane sugar, it’s still important to not over do it on any sugar in general. It still spikes your blood sugar in excess which leads to inflammation and hormonal imbalance.
High sugar fruits like mango, bananas, grapes, or dates are fine treats in moderation.
However, in any disease state, it’s much better to steer towards lower sugar fruits like green apples, and berries!
I hope these tips about healing foods for Hashimoto’s have been helpful! Eat up, friends 🙂