Best diet for hyperthyroidism (2023)

A person’s diet can have an effect on the symptoms of hyperthyroidism. Some foods can improve the condition, while others can make symptoms worse or interfere with medications.

Hyperthyroidism, a type of thyrotoxicosis, is a condition in which the thyroid gland produces too much thyroid hormone. Some people refer to this condition as an overactive thyroid. The most common cause of hyperthyroidism is an autoimmune condition called Graves’ disease.

The symptoms of an overactive thyroid include unintentional weight loss, anxiety, sweating, frequent bowel movements, difficulty sleeping, and muscle weakness. Hyperthyroidism is much more common in women than in men.

In this article, we discuss how diet affects hyperthyroidism and provide lists of foods to eat and avoid.

Eating certain foods will not cure hyperthyroidism, but some nutrients and minerals play a role in managing the underlying condition. Diet can affect both the production of thyroid hormones and how the thyroid functions.

The following nutrients and chemicals are among those that can affect hyperthyroidism:

  • Iodine, which the thyroid gland uses to produce thyroid hormone. Too much iodine in the diet can increase the production of thyroid hormone.
  • Calcium and vitamin D are vital because hyperthyroidism can cause problems with bone mineral density.
  • Foods and drinks containing caffeine can worsen the symptoms of hyperthyroidism.

Below, we discuss some of the nutrients that can affect thyroid function and note which foods contain them.

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The following foods can have benefits for people with an overactive thyroid:

Low iodine foods

If a person is planning to receive radioactive iodine treatment for hyperthyroidism, their doctor may ask them to follow a low iodine diet. A low-iodine diet is a diet with less than 50 micrograms (mcg) of iodine per day.’

Foods and drinks that are low in iodine include:

  • noniodized salt
  • egg whites
  • fresh or frozen vegetables
  • herbs and spices
  • vegetable oils
  • sugar, honey, or maple syrup (up to 2 tbsp.)
  • jams or jellies
  • unsalted nuts and nut butter
  • lemonade
  • beer and wine
  • moderate portions of beef, chicken, turkey, veal, and lamb
  • fruit and fruit juices

The American Thyroid Association offers tips on how to follow a low iodine diet.

Cruciferous vegetables

Some cruciferous vegetables contain compounds that decrease thyroid hormone production and may reduce iodine uptake by the thyroid. Both of these effects may be beneficial for a person with hyperthyroidism.

These cruciferous vegetables include:

  • Brussels sprouts and cabbage
  • collard greens, mustard greens, and turnip roots and greens
  • kale and arugula
  • radishes and rutabagas
  • bok choy
  • cauliflower
  • broccoli and broccoli rabe

Foods containing selenium

Selenium is a micronutrient that the body requires for the metabolism of thyroid hormones. Research suggests that selenium can help improve some of the symptoms of autoimmune thyroid disease, such as thyroid eye disease.

Among people using anti-thyroid medications, those who take selenium supplements may achieve normal thyroid levels more quickly than those who do not.

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Foods rich in selenium include:

  • Brazil nuts
  • fortified pasta and cereals
  • rice
  • egg whites
  • baked beans
  • oatmeal
  • spinach

Other selenium-rich foods, including tuna, halibut, shrimp, ham, egg yolks, and cottage cheese are also high in iodine which may affect iodine therapy. Eat fortified pasta and cereals, and rice made without ingredients that contain a lot of iodine. Eat limited amounts of beef, chicken, and turkey.

Foods containing iron

Iron is a nutrient that is important for normal bodily processes, including thyroid health. Iron helps the red blood cells carry oxygen to other cells in the body.

Researchers have linked low levels of iron to hyperthyroidism.

People can maintain an adequate intake of iron by including these foods in their diet:

  • fortified cereals
  • raisins
  • dark chocolate
  • beef, chicken, turkey, and pork
  • spinach

Some iron-rich foods are also high in iodine, which may affect iodine therapy. Make sure your total iodine intake is less than 50 mcg per day:

  • oysters and fish
  • white beans, kidney beans, and black beans
  • lentils
  • sardines
  • chickpeas
  • canned beef, chicken or turkey
  • cured pork products (bacon, sausages, or hot dogs)

Look for fortified cereals made without ingredients that contain a lot of iodine.

Foods containing calcium and vitamin D

There is an association between longstanding hyperthyroidism and decreased bone mineral density, which can lead to osteoporosis.

Calcium and vitamin D are both nutrients that are important for bone health.

Foods rich in calcium include:

  • milk (no more than once a day)
  • broccoli
  • fortified orange juice
  • kale
  • bok choy

Many people with hyperthyroidism have vitamin D deficiency. The primary source of vitamin D is the sun hitting the skin so that the body can make its own. However, due to concerns about sun exposure and increased risk of skin cancer, many people actively limit their time in the sun or use sunscreen.

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Not many foods are good sources of vitamin D, but the following foods contain some of this vitamin:

  • salmon and tuna
  • milk and some fortified dairy products (check the labels)
  • fortified cereals

These foods are also high in iodine, which may affect iodine therapy, so you may have to limit these foods or make sure your total iodine intake is less than 50 mcg. Look for fortified pasta and cereals, and rice made without ingredients that contain a lot of iodine.


Studies have linked certain spices, including turmeric and green chilis, to a reduced frequency of thyroid disease, including hyperthyroidism.

Turmeric also has anti-inflammatory properties.

People can use different spices, such as turmeric, to add flavor to their food.

Below, we look at the foods that can be harmful to people with hyperthyroidism if they eat them in large quantities:

Iodine-rich foods

Too much iodine can make hyperthyroidism worse by leading the thyroid gland to produce too much thyroid hormone.

A person with hyperthyroidism should avoid eating excessive amounts of iodine-rich foods, such as:

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  • iodized salt
  • fish and shellfish
  • seaweed or kelp
  • dairy products
  • iodine supplements
  • food products containing red dye
  • egg yolks
  • blackstrap molasses
  • carrageenan, which is an additive
  • baked goods with iodate dough conditioners


Animal studies have shown that soy ingestion can interfere with radioactive iodine uptake for the treatment of hyperthyroidism.

Sources of soy include:

  • soy milk
  • soy sauce
  • tofu
  • edamame beans
  • soybean oil


Research suggests that autoimmune thyroid disease, including Graves’ disease, is more common among people who have celiac disease than among those who do not.

The reason for this is not apparent, but genetics may play a role. Having celiac disease can also make a person more likely to develop other autoimmune disorders.

Celiac disease causes damage to the small intestine as a result of the ingestion of gluten. Gluten is a protein in wheat, barley, oats, and rye.

People with celiac disease need to follow a gluten free diet. Some research suggests that following a gluten-free diet may facilitate better absorption of thyroid medications by the intestine and decrease inflammation.


Caffeine can worsen some symptoms of hyperthyroidism, including palpitations, tremors, anxiety, and insomnia.

Where possible, a person with hyperthyroidism should try to avoid foods and drinks containing caffeine. These include:

  • regular coffee
  • black tea
  • chocolate
  • regular soda
  • energy drinks


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Hyperthyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid gland is overactive and produces excess thyroid hormone. People should follow their treatment plan and any dietary recommendations from their doctor.

Changing the diet might improve symptoms of hyperthyroidism. Certain nutrients may help support healthy thyroid function or decrease hyperthyroidism symptoms.

A doctor or dietitian will be able to provide more information about dietary changes for hyperthyroidism.


What diet is best for hyperthyroidism? ›

People with hyperthyroidism should aim for a healthy diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy products, whole grains, lean protein sources, and unsaturated fats in order to promote thyroid health. “It is important to consume enough carbohydrates to prevent low blood sugar episodes,” Feit says.

What foods should hyperthyroidism not eat? ›

A person with hyperthyroidism should avoid eating excessive amounts of iodine-rich foods, such as:
  • iodized salt.
  • fish and shellfish.
  • seaweed or kelp.
  • dairy products.
  • iodine supplements.
  • food products containing red dye.
  • egg yolks.
  • blackstrap molasses.

How do you slow down hyperthyroidism naturally? ›

How to Control Hyperthyroidism Naturally
  1. Diet.
  2. Iodine.
  3. L-carnitine.
  4. Bugleweed.
  5. B vitamins.
  6. Selenium.
  7. Lemon balm.
  8. Essential oils.

What is the fastest way to cure hyperthyroidism? ›

Yes, there is a permanent treatment for hyperthyroidism. Removing your thyroid through surgery or destroying your thyroid through medication will cure hyperthyroidism. However, once your thyroid is removed or destroyed, you'll need to take thyroid hormone replacement medications for the rest of your life.

What foods worsen hyperthyroidism? ›

Foods and beverages that contain caffeine, such as coffee, tea, soda, and chocolate, can exacerbate the symptoms of hyperthyroidism and lead to increased anxiety, nervousness, irritability, and rapid heart rate. If caffeine has this effect on you, avoiding or limiting your intake may be a good option.

Is oatmeal OK for hyperthyroidism? ›

Oats have a low glycemic index. This means they get digested and absorbed slowly, therefore, they do not cause a spike in blood sugar levels. This makes oats a healthy choice for those with thyroid disorders as well as diabetes.

What are the 3 worst foods for thyroid? ›

Best and Worst Foods For Your Thyroid
  • Eggs. ...
  • Soy. ...
  • Gluten. ...
  • Processed Foods. ...
  • Fried/ Fatty Foods. ...
  • Refined Sugar. ...
  • Alcohol. ...
  • Cruciferous Vegetables. Although there are some differing opinions on this one, the general consensus is that vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage and Brussel sprouts could be harmful to thyroid production.

What can flare up hyperthyroidism? ›

A thyroid storm is a severe and sudden flare-up of symptoms caused by the metabolism going into overdrive, often due to triggers such as:
  • infection.
  • pregnancy.
  • not taking your medication as directed.
  • damage to the thyroid gland, such as a punch to the throat.

What triggers hyperthyroidism? ›

An increased level of iodine in your body can cause your thyroid to produce excess thyroid hormones. This can occasionally happen if you're taking medicine that contains iodine, such as amiodarone, which is sometimes used to control an irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia).

How do you get out of hyperthyroidism? ›

Treatment may include:
  1. Anti-thyroid medicine. These medications slowly ease symptoms of hyperthyroidism by preventing the thyroid gland from making too many hormones. ...
  2. Beta blockers. These medicines don't affect thyroid hormone levels. ...
  3. Radioiodine therapy. The thyroid gland takes up radioiodine. ...
  4. Thyroidectomy.
Nov 30, 2022

What vitamins should I avoid if I have hyperthyroidism? ›

Iodine: Yes. Avoid it as a supplement whether you have hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism. The effect of iodine supplements can vary by person, causing the thyroid to produce either too much or too little hormone. Certain alternative medicine websites or doctors tell patients that iodine is good for your thyroid, Dr.

Can hyperthyroidism be fixed with diet? ›

There's no such thing as a hyperthyroidism diet, but what you eat matters. Hyperthyroidism—when your thyroid gland produces too much thyroid hormone—can't be prevented or treated though diet alone. It's often treated with prescription medication, so see your doctor immediately if you have hyperthyroidism symptoms.

Can drinking more water help with hyperthyroidism? ›

The Best Type of Water For Managing Hyperthyroidism

Good thyroid health won't only be able to be treated by drinking water, but making sure you get a steady supply of spring or mineral water can help to reduce the amount of bacteria, toxic metals and chemicals in your bloodstream.

Do probiotics help hyperthyroidism? ›

Probiotics have shown beneficial effects in thyroid diseases and are able to have a positive effect on trace elements such as selenium, zinc, and copper.

Which vegetables to avoid in hyperthyroidism? ›

So if you do, it's a good idea to limit your intake of Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, turnips, and bok choy, because research suggests digesting these vegetables may block the thyroid's ability to utilize iodine, which is essential for normal thyroid function.

Are bananas OK for hyperthyroidism? ›

A: Yes, bananas are beneficial for thyroid health. Bananas contain selenium which has anti-inflammatory properties. Moreover, the antioxidant in bananas secures your cells from free radical damage.

What kind of bread is good for hyperthyroidism? ›

Consuming foods with a lower glycemic index can restore the healthy hormone levels in the body including thyroid hormone. Replace the enriched pasta, bread, snacks, cereals with 100% whole grains such as brown rice, barley, quinoa, air-popped popcorn, whole wheat bread, etc.

Is boiled egg good for hyperthyroidism? ›

Good: Eggs

One large egg contains about 16% of daily iodine—and 20% of daily selenium you need, according to the NIH—making eggs a thyroid superfood.

Is potato good for hyperthyroidism? ›

What to consume on a hyperthyroid diet? Low-Iodine Foods. When you already have an overactive thyroid, consuming more iodine will only increase the already high production of thyroid hormone. Egg whites, Non-Iodized salt, Potatoes, Fresh/Frozen vegetables, Fresh/Frozen fruits, Unsalted nuts.

What diet fixes thyroid problems? ›

Thyroid and diet factsheet
  1. eat at least 5 portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables every day.
  2. base meals on higher fibre starchy foods like potatoes, bread, rice or pasta.
  3. have some dairy or dairy alternatives.
  4. eat some beans, pulses, fish, eggs, meat and other protein.
Oct 7, 2019

What foods flare up thyroid? ›

Worst Foods for Hashimoto's
  • Added sugars and sweets. Soda, energy drinks, cakes, cookies, ice cream, candy, sugary cereals, table sugar, etc.
  • Fast food and fried foods. ...
  • Refined grains. ...
  • Highly processed foods and meats. ...
  • Gluten-containing grains and foods. ...
  • High-glycemic fruits. ...
  • Nightshades. ...
  • Dairy & eggs.
Feb 28, 2021

What foods inflame the thyroid? ›

These foods are known as goitrogens. Known goitrogens are vegetables from the cruciferous family: broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, collards. Consumed in high amounts (especially raw) they are known to cause swelling of the thyroid gland leading it to become over- or under-active.

What are red flags for hyperthyroidism? ›

A diagnosis of hyperthyroidism should be suspected if there are: Symptoms such as anxiety, palpitations, tremor, weight loss, diarrhoea, and heat intolerance.

What are the worst symptoms of hyperthyroidism? ›

Symptoms of an overactive thyroid can include:
  • nervousness, anxiety and irritability.
  • hyperactivity – you may find it hard to stay still and have a lot of nervous energy.
  • mood swings.
  • difficulty sleeping.
  • feeling tired all the time.
  • sensitivity to heat.
  • muscle weakness.
  • diarrhoea.

How can I feel better with hyperthyroidism? ›

Medicines called thionamides are commonly used to treat an overactive thyroid. They stop your thyroid producing excess hormones. The main types used are carbimazole and propylthiouracil. You'll usually need to take the medicine for 1 to 2 months before you notice any benefit.

What vitamin deficiency can cause hyperthyroidism? ›

Some, but not all, observational studies have found low blood levels of vitamin D in patients with hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) as well as hyperthyroidism (an overactive thyroid) due to Gravesʼ disease.

Who is prone to hyperthyroidism? ›

Hyperthyroidism can happen at any age, but it is more common in people aged 60 and older. Graves disease (one cause of hyperthyroidism) is more likely to occur between ages 40-60 years old.

How does hyperthyroidism affect the brain? ›

Patients with hyperthyroidism frequently have neuropsychiatric complaints such as lack of concentration, poor memory, depression, anxiety, nervousness, and irritability, suggesting brain dysfunction. However, the underlying process of these symptoms remains unclear.

Is hyperthyroidism very serious? ›

If hyperthyroidism isn't treated, it can cause some serious health problems, including: An irregular heartbeat that can lead to blood clots, stroke, heart failure, and other heart problems. An eye disease called Graves' ophthalmopathy. It can cause double vision, light sensitivity, and eye pain.

Should I take b12 if I have hyperthyroidism? ›

The results of these studies provide evidence for increased vitamin B12 requirements in the presence of hyperthyroidism. The greater need for vitamin B12 appears to be related to increased utilization and/or accelerated turnover imposed by increased metabolism.

Can I take vitamin D with hyperthyroidism? ›

An interesting topic for a journal focussed on bone mass as Vit D is an essential nutrient for the management of healthy bone. Patients that have an overactive thyroid secrete too much thyroid hormone. In this case, more of a good thing is definitely not better.

Is magnesium good for hyperthyroidism? ›

We need magnesium to convert the inactive thyroid hormone T4 into the active thyroid hormone T3. Without this conversion, cells do not receive the more potent form of thyroid hormone. Therefore, when magnesium levels are low, our thyroid is not able to function correctly.

Is lemon water good for hyperthyroidism? ›

Yes. Lemon blocks the antibodies that stimulate the thyroid gland to produce thyroid hormone, hence normalizing an overactive thyroid.

How can I get energy for hyperthyroidism? ›

According to the ATA, doctors may prescribe antithyroid drugs to stop the thyroid producing hormones. People may find that they become less tired once their hyperthyroidism and its symptoms are under control. People can also try talking therapy, lifestyle changes, and proper sleep hygiene.

Is yogurt good for hyperthyroidism? ›

Bad foods for hyperthyroidism

High-iodine food choices to avoid include: Iodized salt. Milk or dairy products — including butter, cheese, ice cream, milk chocolate, and yogurt.

Does Omega 3 Help hyperthyroidism? ›

Research also suggests that omega-3's can help support thyroid function. Studies have found that omega-3's can decrease inflammation that compromises thyroid function. EPA and DHA, two fatty acids that help make up omega-3's, create resolvins.

Does zinc help with hyperthyroidism? ›

Background/aims: Zinc is crucial for proper thyroid hormone metabolism; zinc deficiency may result in decreased thyroid hormone levels and resting metabolic rate (RMR).

How to lose weight with hyperthyroidism? ›

How to safely lose weight with hyperthyroidism
  1. Eating a well-balanced diet.
  2. Exercising regularly.
  3. Monitoring your thyroid levels.
  4. Taking your medication regularly.

How can I improve my hyperthyroidism? ›

Treatment may include:
  1. Anti-thyroid medicine. These medications slowly ease symptoms of hyperthyroidism by preventing the thyroid gland from making too many hormones. ...
  2. Beta blockers. These medicines don't affect thyroid hormone levels. ...
  3. Radioiodine therapy. The thyroid gland takes up radioiodine. ...
  4. Thyroidectomy.
Nov 30, 2022

What vegetables should be avoided in hyperthyroidism? ›

So if you do, it's a good idea to limit your intake of Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, turnips, and bok choy, because research suggests digesting these vegetables may block the thyroid's ability to utilize iodine, which is essential for normal thyroid function.

Why am I gaining so much weight with hyperthyroidism? ›

Increased appetite

Along with increased metabolism and energy, hyperthyroidism usually increases appetite. So, if your body is taking in substantially more calories, you may gain weight even if your body is using more energy.

Is it hard to lose weight if you have hyperthyroidism? ›

Since hyperthyroidism also increases appetite, some patients may not lose weight, and some may actually gain weight, depending on how much they increase their caloric intake.

How can I lose 10 pounds with a thyroid problem? ›

Use these six strategies to jump-start weight loss with hypothyroidism.
  1. Cut Out Simple Carbs and Sugars. ...
  2. Eat More Anti-Inflammatory Foods. ...
  3. Stick to Small, Frequent Meals. ...
  4. Keep a Food Diary. ...
  5. Move Your Body. ...
  6. Take Thyroid Medication as Directed.
Feb 22, 2019

What virus can cause hyperthyroidism? ›

Mumps virus, influenza virus, and other respiratory viruses have been found to cause subacute thyroiditis. The most prominent feature of subacute thyroiditis is gradual or sudden onset of pain in the region of the thyroid gland. Painful enlargement of the thyroid gland may persist for weeks or months.

Which vitamin is not good for thyroid? ›

According to the Mayo Clinic, supplements such as calcium, iron, multivitamins containing iron, and antacids containing magnesium or aluminum can potentially have interactions with thyroid medications.

What salad is good for hyperthyroidism? ›

Greens: Spinach, kale, and other leafy salad greens are nutritional powerhouses, and good sources for thyroid-friendly B vitamins, vitamin C, and iron.

Can you eat cheese with hyperthyroidism? ›

Hyperthyroidism can make it difficult for your body to absorb calcium. This can cause brittle bones and osteoporosis. Eating a diet high in calcium may help, although some dairy products are fortified with iodine and may not be as beneficial for you as others.


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3. Best Foods for a Healthy Thyroid | Dr. Neal Barnard on The Exam Room LIVE
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4. Hyperthyroidism Symptoms & Conditions / Graves / Best Tips – Dr.Berg
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5. What Foods Prevent Hyperthyroidism (High Or Overactive Thyroid)?
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