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Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis: Diets, Supplements and Lifestyle Modifications to Manage Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis

Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, also known as Hashimoto’s disease, is a common thyroid disorders in America and also seen in other developed countries.(1) Medications are used for treatment of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis; however, even with treatment the patient can suffer from its symptoms to the extent it affects their daily activities.(2)

Studies have shown that along with medications; lifestyle and diet modifications can significantly help in alleviating the symptoms of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Treatment for Hashimoto’s thyroiditis affects every patient in a different manner and this makes having a customized approach towards this disease very important.(2)

In this article we will discuss the important diet, lifestyle modifications and supplements, which will help patients suffering from Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.

What is Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis?

What is Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis?

This is an autoimmune condition where the body’s own lymphocytes slowly destroy the tissue of the thyroid gland.(1)

The thyroid gland is shaped like a butterfly and is situated at the base of the neck. The function of the thyroid gland is secretion of hormones, which are important for almost all the organ system, such as lungs, heart, digestive, skeleton and central nervous system. The thyroid gland also manages the growth and metabolism of a person.(3, 4)

The primary hormones secreted by the thyroid gland are tri-odothyronine (T3) and thyroxine. (T4)(3) The gradual damage to the thyroid gland incurred in Hashimoto’s thyroiditis results in insufficient production of these thyroid hormones.

The Importance of Diet, Lifestyle and Supplements in Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis

Research also shows that inflammation can be the primary cause behind so many symptoms of Hashimoto’s. Inflammation is more often than not related with diet.(5, 6)

Diet and lifestyle are extremely important in managing Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, as there are many patients who continue to experience symptoms even after starting treatment with medication. Additionally, many patients with symptoms do not get treatment if there are no changes in their hormone levels.(7, 8)

Therefore, it can be safely concluded that lifestyle and dietary modifications are important in alleviating the risk of developing other problems because patients suffering from Hashimoto’s thyroiditis are at increased risk for developing other conditions, such as diabetes, obesity and increased cholesterol levels.(9, 10, 11)

Research has also shown that making lifestyle changes, elimination of certain food items and including supplements can significantly improve the symptoms of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and the patient’s quality of life.

All these changes also help in cutting down the inflammation and prevent and slow down the damage to the thyroid gland caused by increased thyroid antibodies.

Scientifically Proven Dietary Tips for Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis

Scientifically Proven Dietary Tips for Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis

Following the below dietary modifications are a sure shot way to successfully combat the symptoms of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and effective management of this disease.

The Autoimmune Protocol Diet

The AIP diet is made for patients with autoimmune diseases where this diet eliminates potentially harmful foods, such as added sugar, grains, nightshades, dairy, legumes, coffee, alcohol, eggs, seeds, nuts, food additives, oils and refined sugars.(2)

A study done for 10 weeks in 16 women suffering from Hashimoto’s disease showed that by following the Autoimmune Protocol diet, they experienced significant improvement in their quality of life scores along with substantial reduction in the CRP levels or the levels of the inflammatory marker C-reactive protein.(2)

One should remember that the Autoimmune Protocol diet is a phased elimination diet, which should be monitored and prescribed by an experienced medical professional.

Grain and Gluten-Free Diets

Studies have shown that patients suffering from Hashimoto’s thyroiditis are at increased risk for having celiac disease. For this reason, it is highly recommended that patients with Hashimoto’s disease should also be screened for celiac disease.(12)

There is also evidence which shows that consuming grain and gluten-free diet is beneficial for patients suffering from Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.

A 6-month study done in 34 female patients suffering from Hashimoto’s thyroiditis showed that by following a gluten-free diet, they had decreased levels of thyroid antibodies along with improved vitamin D levels and thyroid function.(13)

There are other studies also which show that patients with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis or any other autoimmune disease can benefit from a gluten-free diet irrespective of having celiac disease or not.(14,15)

A gluten-free diet means avoiding or eliminating all the wheat rye and barley products, such as breads, pastas and soy sauces which have gluten in them.

A grain-free diet can be more restrictive when compared to a gluten-free diet, as the former completely eliminates all the grains. This dietary change has many benefits; however, research to support it is still less.

Include More Anti-Inflammatory Foods

As mentioned before, inflammation is one of the driving forces behind Hashimoto’s disease and it stands to reason that consuming an anti-inflammatory diet, which is rich in vegetables and fruits significantly, helps with the symptoms of this disease.

A study done in 218 female patients suffering from Hashimoto’s revealed that the markers of oxidative stress were less in patients who regularly consumed vegetables and fruits.(16) Some of the great options for anti-inflammatory foods with great anti-inflammatory properties are fatty fish, fruits, vegetables and spices.

Avoiding Dairy Can Help With Hashimoto’s thyroiditis

Patients with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis tend to suffer from lactose intolerance too.(17)

A study done in 83 women suffering with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis revealed that about 75.9% of them were lactose intolerant.(17)

If lactose intolerance is suspected in a patient, then reducing the consumption of dairy products not only help with the digestive problems, but are also beneficial for thyroid function and efficient absorption of the medication. This strategy may not be effective for everyone, as there are some patients of Hashimoto’s disease who can tolerate dairy well.

Whole Food and Nutrient-Dense Diet

A diet that is rich in whole foods and nutrients and low in processed foods and added sugar greatly benefits the health, in weight management and reduction in the symptoms of Hashimoto’s.(2)

When suffering from Hashimoto’s disease, always try to prepare your meals with nutritious foods like fruits, vegetables, fiber-rich carbs, healthy fats and proteins made at home. All these food items contain immense anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits for patients with Hashimoto’s disease.

Additional Diet Tips for Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis

Additional Diet Tips for Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis

There is some research that reveals that certain low carb diets can be beneficial by decreasing thyroid antibodies and body weight in patients with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. These special diets can give you around 12 to 15% of the daily calories from carbohydrates and also limit the goitrogenic food items. The substances present in soy products and cruciferous vegetables are known as Goitrogens and these can disrupt the production of the thyroid hormones.(18)

However, the cruciferous vegetables are extremely nutritious and when you cook them, it decreases its goitrogenic activity. So, the chances are less that they will disturb the function of the thyroid gland unless they are consumed in huge quantities. (19)

There is also evidence, which suggests that soy can also cause harm to the function of the thyroid and this is why many patients suffering from Hashimoto’s disease stay away from soy products.(20) However, more research is needed on this.

Beneficial and Scientifically Proven Supplements for Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis(21)

There are various supplements available that can help in decreasing the inflammation and the level of thyroid antibodies in patients suffering from Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. These supplements are additionally beneficial because patients with Hashimoto’s are prone to be deficient in some nutrients.

Some of the beneficial supplements for Hashimoto’s are:

Zinc (22): Zinc is vital for proper function of the thyroid gland. Studies have also shown that Zinc when used alone or with selenium can help in improving the thyroid function in patients suffering from hypothyroidism.

Selenium (23): Studies have also shown that taking selenium 200 mcg daily helps in decreasing anti-thyroid peroxidase (TPO) antibodies and enhance the sense of well-being in patients with Hashimoto’s.

Curcumin (24, 25): Human and animal studies have revealed that this powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compound helps in protecting the thyroid gland along with helping in treating and managing autoimmune diseases.

B-Complex Vitamins (26): Patients with Hashimoto’s also are prone to be deficient in vitamin B12. So, a daily supplement of good quality B-complex vitamin helps in increasing the levels of B12 and other vital B vitamins

Vitamin D: Patients with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis are shown to suffer from significantly decreased levels of Vitamin D. Studies have also associated low levels of vitamin D with severity of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.(27)

Magnesium (28): Low magnesium levels are linked with an increased risk of higher thyroid antibodies and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. With the right levels of magnesium, there can be an improvement in the symptoms of thyroid disease.

Iron: Patients with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis are at increased risk to develop anemia and for this reason, iron supplements will benefit them and help in alleviating the symptoms of Hashimoto’s.(29)

Other Beneficial Supplements for Hashimoto’s thyroiditis are (30, 31): Alpha-lipoic acid, fish oil, and N-acetyl cysteine.

Note: It is important to bear in mind that high doses of iodine supplement, when there is no sign of iodine deficiency, can cause adverse effects in patients with Hashimoto’s. High dose iodine supplements should only be taken upon recommendation of your doctor.(32, 33)

Highly Recommended Foods to Eat in Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis (34)

As mentioned before, a diet rich in nutrients helps in decreasing the severity of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis along with benefiting overall health. It is important to include the following foods when suffering from Hashimoto’s:

  • Non-starchy vegetables, such as mushrooms, zucchini, tomatoes, artichokes, arugula, asparagus, peppers, broccoli, carrots etc.
  • Fruits, such as bananas, berries, pears, peaches, apples, pineapple and citrus fruits.
  • Starchy vegetables, such as butternut squash, sweet potatoes, peas, acorn and potatoes.
  • Animal protein, such as eggs, salmon, chicken, cod, shrimp and turkey.
  • Healthy fats, such as olive oil, avocados, coconut oil, avocado oil, coconut yogurt, full fat yogurt and unsweetened coconut flakes.
  • Gluten-free grains, such as brown rice pasta, brown rice, quinoa, rolled oats, etc.
  • Nuts, seeds and nut butters, such as macadamia nuts, almonds, cashews, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, almond butter and natural peanut butter.
  • Lentils and Beans, such as black beans, chickpeas, lentils, etc.
  • Herbs, Spices and condiments, such as rosemary, turmeric, paprika, basil, black pepper, saffron, tahini, salsa, honey, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice etc.
  • Nondairy and Dairy substitutes (fortified with vitamin D and/or calcium), such as coconut yogurt, coconut milk, cashew milk, almond milk, goat cheese and full fat unsweetened yogurt.
  • Beverages, such as water (duh!) sparkling water and unsweetened tea.

Note: Point to remember is that few patients suffering from Hashimoto’s thyroiditis will avoid some of the above mentioned foods, such as dairy and grains. Not all the foods will suit patients with Hashimoto’s and they need to experiment with their diet to figure out what foods they need to avoid and what works for them the best.

Foods to Avoid in Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis

Foods to Avoid in Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis (35)

Restricting or eliminating the following foods can help in alleviating the symptoms of Hashimoto’s along with improving the patient’s general health.

A Big No-No to:

  • Fried foods and Fast food such as: hot dogs, French fries, fried chicken, etc.
  • Sweets and added sugars such as energy drinks, soda, ice cream, cakes, pastries, candy, cookies table sugar, sugary cereals etc.
  • Refined grains such as bagels, white pasta, white flour tortillas, white bread etc.
  • Gluten-containing foods and grains such as barley, wheat, rye bread, crackers etc.
  • Highly processed meats and foods such as frozen dinners, microwave dinners, margarine, sausage, bacon etc.

According to experts patients suffering from Hashimoto’s thyroiditis can benefit by avoiding dairy, soy and in some cases all grains and nightshades as well. Even though these recommendations can benefit many patients, one should try and experiment with different foods to see which diet works best for your Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.

Patient can consult a dietitian specializing in autoimmune diseases to help with their diet and what to include and what to exclude and customize a diet and eating pattern, which is best suited for the patient suffering from Hashimoto’s.

Beneficial Lifestyle Modifications for Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis

Like with any diseases, one should avoid certain habits and follow certain habits, such as reducing stress, getting plenty of sleep/rest, quitting smoking, cutting down on alcohol, exercising regularly, meditating and other self-care routines will surely benefit any disease including Hashimoto’s thyroiditis disease.

It is also highly recommended to take medication for thyroid disorders on an empty stomach and at least half an hour to one hour before breakfast or at least 3 to 4 hours after your last meal for effective absorption.(36)

A study done in 60 female patients with Hashimoto’s disease revealed that participating in stress reduction habits was beneficial in reducing their anxiety and depression along with lowering the levels of thyroid antibodies and improving the overall quality of life.(37)

Dietary supplements and coffee interfere with absorption of the thyroid medication. So, it is recommended to consume only water for a minimum of 30 minutes after taking thyroid medication.(38)

It is important to remember that when first starting any medication for a thyroid condition, it can take some few weeks or more for the symptoms to abate. In case of no improvement in the symptoms, then seek medical consultation immediately to discuss other treatment options.


Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is an autoimmune disease involving the thyroid glands and producing various symptoms which can persist even after starting treatment,

Studies have shown a beneficial effect of the lifestyle and dietary changes in improving the symptoms of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis along with bettering the patient’s general health. However, each patient is different and one has to change their diet to see which food products and supplements work for them and which don’t and follow accordingly. One needs to be patient and find a good healthcare team as the symptoms of Hashimoto’s take a toll on not only the quality of life of the patient, but also the mental health of the patient.

Patient should also seek help of their doctor and dietitian to customize a healthy diet program, which is suitable for that particular patient to benefit their symptoms of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.


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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:July 15, 2022

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