What foods protect the thyroid?

The thyroid is the conductor of our well-being, among other things responsible for our weight, us mood, our transit and our vitality† The activity of the thyroid depends in part on certain nutrients, this is what you need to keep it running smoothly.

What are the essential nutrients to regulate the thyroid?


This trace element is an essential substrate for the secretion of thyroid hormones. However, the deficiencies are very present (almost 8.5% of men and 20% of women), and often located where the soil is poor. “When we lack of iodine, the thyroid grows to function more, says endocrinologist Boris Hansel. This explains the existence of goiters endemic.”

What needs? 150 g/day. With an upper limit of 600 g.

Where to find? In seafood products: seaweed (5,000 to 250,000 g/100 g), periwinkles (500 g), shrimps (260 g), fish, cod liver… Also in egg yolk (192 μg) and dairy products (70 g/100 g brie, 15 μg / 100 ml of milk, etc.). “Fruits and vegetables also contain it,” says Dr. Hansel. An enriched salt has been allowed since 1952. “It contains 15 to 20 mg of iodine per kilo,” says Isabelle Gambier, a dietitian. 5 g provides 50 to 75 µg of iodine. Please note that “natural” salts (marine, fleur de sel, etc.) do not contain any! †

What should you eat to regulate your iodine levels? “You need to vary your diet, eating fish and seafood 2 to 3 times a week, Isabelle Gambier advises. Ditto for eggs and 2 to 3 dairy products per day. » Iodized salt is interesting, it remains less than 5 g (WHO recommendation) per day. “The good reflex is to process seaweed (kombu, fucus, agar…) into flakes or powder in sauces, omelettes…”


This amino acid is the second essential element for the production of thyroid hormones.

What needs? 14 mg per day per kilogram of body weight, ie 1 to 2 g depending on body size.

Where to find? In animal products (meat, fish, eggs, dairy products, etc.), but also in seeds, oilseeds and legumes. “The best sources are meat or fish (710 mg/100 g), lentils (840 mg), dairy products (170 mg/100 ml milk) and potatoes (80 mg/100 g),” notes Isabelle Gambier.

What should you eat to regulate your tyrosine levels? With one serving (130 g) of meat or fish and 2 to 3 servings of dairy products per day and 2 to 3 legumes per week, you can easily meet your needs.


This trace element is involved in the synthesis of thyroid hormones and stimulates the activity of T3.

What needs? 10 mg per day for an adult woman, 12 mg for a man.

Where to find? In higher amounts in: fish and seafood (22.5 mg/100 g oyster, 11.9 mg/100 g crab, etc.), meat (8 mg/100 g flank steak) and offal, eggs, legumes (4 mg/ 100 g lentils…), oilseeds (5.6 mg/100 g pine nuts…).

What should you eat to regulate your zinc levels? There is no zinc deficiency with a varied diet. “Beware of shortcomings in the context of a vegan diet, the dietitian warns. Plant foods like whole grains can also be high in phytic acids that can reduce their absorption! †


The thyroid is the organ of the body that contains the most. This trace element is thus essential for the transformation of the hormone T4 into T3.

What needs? 55 to 70 g per day.

Where to find? In fish and seafood, then meat, offal and eggs and finally grains and seeds, especially Brazil nuts (103 μg/100 g).

What should you eat to regulate your selenium levels? A varied and balanced diet basically covers the needs.

The iron

An iron deficiency can reduce the efficiency of enzymes involved in the production and conversion of thyroid hormones.

What needs? 10 to 15 mg per day.

Where to find? In products of animal origin (meat, offal, fish, etc.) and certain plants (dried vegetables). However, iron of animal origin has a higher assimilation rate than that from plant sources (20 to 25% versus 1 to 8%).

What should you eat to regulate your iron levels? “You can strengthen your assimilation by consuming a food rich in vitamin C during the same meal, recommends Isabelle Gambier. And avoid tea, which hinders its absorption.”

Good to know : Be careful with endocrine disruptors † “Many substances (pesticides, phthalates, isoflavones, etc.) can interfere with thyroid function, says Dr. Pierre Nys, an endocrinologist. They can limit or mimic the action of natural hormones or prevent them from binding to their receptors. » They can be found everywhere (food, packaging, cosmetics, furniture, etc.), but exposure can be reduced by preferring biologicalavoid plastic and non-stick coating, aerate, prefer small fatty fish over large species and limit yourself to one soy food per day.

Population: to protect your thyroid, it is advisable to have a varied and balanced diet with meals consisting of fruits and vegetables, meat and fish or seafood (2-3 times / week), 2-3 dairy products per day and legumes several times a week. Salt moderately with iodized salt, adding seaweed occasionally.

Pregnant woman : The need for iodine (200 g) and iron (16 mg) is increased. It is important to give seafood a prominent place (except for potentially contaminated large fish) to boost the needs of the thyroid gland. “It’s very common to offer an iodine supplement,” says Dr. Hansel.

Vegetarians and vegans: “A diet without meat can be the cause of an iron deficiency and, without fish, an iodine deficiency, warns Isabelle Gambier. The vegan diet increases the risks of harmful deficiencies for the thyroid gland such as iron, tyrosine, iodine, zinc. †

Postmenopausal Women: “As menopause increases cardiovascular and bone risks, it is all the more important to ensure an appropriate diet, as a thyroid imbalance can amplify these risks,” specifies Isabelle Gambier.

What to eat to protect your thyroid and prevent weight gain if you have hypothyroidism?

The most common attack of the thyroid gland, leads to a slowdown in metabolism with various consequences (constipation, fatigue, weight gain, etc.) and can increase cardiovascular risk, especially after menopause. Well balanced by medication, it can sometimes require some dietary adjustments.

Increase the frequency of seafood consumption: “It is essential to increase iodine intake, but without excess, as this can also amplify hypothyroidism,” emphasizes Isabelle Gambier. The right balance: two to three servings of sea fish, crustaceans and shellfish and the same amount of eggs per week, and 2 to 3 dairy products per day, of which only 1 serving of cheese. “It is also the time to discover algae. And we opt for iodized salt, without exaggerating (max 5 g/day).

Eat fruits and vegetables with every meal: raw or cooked, vegetables should make up half of the plate: low in calories, but bulky and rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals, they reduce the caloric density of the meal. Because the fruits are sweeter, we limit ourselves to two servings a day.

Dose and select the added fats: 1 C. tablespoons of oil per meal, with preference being given to olive, canola, walnut, camelina and flax oils, which are beneficial for the cardiovascular system, among other things.

Choose lean meats: “They are rich in protein, tyrosine and iron and are preferable to fatty meats whose saturated fats can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease,” Isabelle Gambier points out.

Retain starch: they stick around by avoiding dips in the day that can lead to nibbling. “It’s essential to choose those with a low to moderate glycemic index (whole grains and legumes), Dr. Nys advises. They limit storage, provide lasting satiety, and also improve throughput.” 100 to 150 g cooked weight per meal and 50 g bread in the morning.

What are the goitrogenic foods to avoid in case of hypothyroidism?

After consultation with the physician, an increase in iodine intake through source foods or dietary supplements may be recommended to compensate for the deficiency that may be causing the goiter† It is also advisable to reduce certain “goitrogenic” foods: cabbage, turnip, radish, millet, sweet potato, cassava. “Their consumption should not be completely eliminated as they are excellent health foods,” says Isabelle Gambier. They can be integrated twice a week, preferring boiled forms, which are less goitrogenic.”

What To Eat To Take Care Of Your Thyroid When You Have Hyperthyroidism?

This hyperfunction of the thyroid gland causes nervousness, weight loss and muscle and bone mass, an acceleration of the throughput… Pending a rebalancing through treatment, diet can reduce these effects.

Increase the intake of meat, fish, eggs: “their proteins help prevent muscle wasting,” says Isabelle Gambier. One serving (100-120 g) is provided for each meal.

Consume 3 to 4 dairy products per day (2 for men): they are also rich in proteins, especially tryptophan with emollient properties, and especially calcium, which is essential for bones. “At the same time, we ensure a good vitamin D status,” continues the dietitian.

Avoid whole grains: their insoluble fiber speeds up transit. “On the other hand, it is interesting to give preference to the soluble fibers of cooked vegetables and certain fruits rich in pectin, gums and mucilages found in, for example, quince, apple, banana…”, recommends the dietitian .

Crunch oilseeds: energy sources, magnesium and omega-3 fatty acids that regulate stress and mood. Walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds… 30 g per day, with a meal or as a snack, why not accompanied by a few cubes of dark chocolate, rich in magnesium.

Stay Hydrated: in case of diarrhea it is necessary to compensate for the water loss through increased consumption of water, infusions, broths… nervousness and sleep disturbances”, warns Dr Nys.

To continue with the thyroid-protecting diet, read My Hashimoto’s Programs in 15 Days, Dr. Pierre Nys, ed. Leduc.S, €18.

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