What Foods to Eat and Avoid If You Have Hyperparathyroidism?

Hyperparathyroidism is a condition of malfunctioning of parathyroid glands. It must be managed and controlled by a proper diet besides the medications. Eating a proper healthy diet by avoiding some foods which might deteriorate the hyperparathyroidism condition is something that needs to be taken care of.

What Foods to Eat If You Have Hyperparathyroidism?

The foods which one must have in order to control hyperparathyroidism as well as maintain the keep the side effects at bay are:

Low-Iodine Foods:

Iodine in its mineral form is essential for the production of thyroid hormones. A low-iodine diet helps to control thyroid hormone production in the body. Adding foods like non-iodized salt, tea, coffee, fresh fruits, oats, potatoes, honey, egg whites, salt-free nuts, popcorn, and bread to the daily diet helps in putting control over thyroid hormones.

Cruciferous Vegetables:

These vegetables help in inhibiting excess iodine utilization by the thyroid. Such vegetables are ideally beneficial to deal with a tricky condition like hyperparathyroidism. Cruciferous vegetables include bamboo shoots, broccoli, bob choy, sprouts, cauliflower, kale, mustard, and rutabaga, etc.

Selenium-rich Foods for Hyperparathyroidism:

Selenium-rich foods help in balancing the thyroid function and also protect it from any diseases. It also prevents cell damage and keeps body tissues and thyroid glands healthy. Selenium is present in foods like Brazil nuts, chia seeds, mushrooms, tea, beef, lamb meat, rice, oats, chicken, turkey, and sunflower seeds, etc.

Vitamins and Minerals:

Several essential nutrients are required for a healthy thyroid so that it can function in a balanced way. It produces hormones as per the demand of the body. Fruits and vegetables are loaded with various vitamins and minerals and can be consumed every day to meet the daily recommended dosage.

Iron for Hyperparathyroidism:

Iron is important for several functions of the body even for healthy thyroid functioning. This is an essential mineral required by the blood cells to carry oxygen to and fro in the body. Several types of research have shown a linkup between low iron levels and hyperparathyroidism1,2. So, eating plenty of iron-rich foods is the best thing in every aspect. Some of the foods containing iron are dried beans, green leafy vegetables, nuts, lentils, red meat, chicken, turkey, whole grains, and seeds, etc.

Zinc:

This mineral helps in the utilization of food for extracting energy. Zinc also helps in keeping up the immune system and also keeps thyroid in a healthy state. Some of the foods rich in zinc include chickpeas, beef, cocoa powder, cashews, lamb, mushrooms, and pumpkin seeds, etc.

Healthy Fats for Hyperparathyroidism:

Fats obtained from whole foods are considered healthy fats. These are not processed in any way and help in minimizing the inflammation caused due to any reason. It protects the parathyroid glands and helps in its proper functioning. Some of the healthy fat-rich foods are olive oil, flaxseed oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, sunflower oil, and safflower oil, salt-free nuts, and avocados, etc.

Calcium and Vitamin D Intake for Hyperparathyroidism:

Hyperparathyroidism might cause weak and even brittle bones. Bone density or mass can be restored over time with proper treatment. Calcium and vitamin D are the essential components for healthy and strong bones. Calcium-rich foods include kale, okra, spinach, white beans, almond milk, calcium-rich cereals, and calcium-rich orange juice, etc.; whereas Vitamin D is found mainly in low-iodine foods like beef liver, fatty fish, mushrooms, vitamin D-fortified cereals, and orange juice, etc.

Spices:

Some of the spices and herbs possess certain anti-inflammatory properties which help in balancing the parathyroid function. Besides adding flavor to foods, they act as a dose of antioxidants which is a daily requirement. These include turmeric, green chilies, and black pepper, etc.

What Foods to Avoid When You Have Hyperparathyroidism?

When you are suffering from hyperparathyroidism, the following foods must be avoided:

Excess Iodine:

Eating too much of iodine-rich diet might even worsen the condition of hyperparathyroidism. Normally, a teaspoon full of standard iodized salt gives nearly 284 micrograms of iodine. Another source of iodine is seafood which has ample of iodine in it. The daily recommended dose of iodine is nearly 1.1 mg. 1 g of seaweed possess nearly 2 mg of iodine approximately. So a patient suffering from hyperparathyroidism requires even a lesser daily intake of iodine than 1.1 mg so a diet must be planned accordingly to avoid any further adverse health effects.

The following seafood and its additives must be avoided or minimized in the diet in order to maintain the iodine intake to combat the hyperparathyroidism:

  • Fish
  • Prawns
  • Seaweed
  • Crabs
  • Sushi
  • Lobster
  • Agar-agar
  • Carrageen
  • Algae
  • Alginate
  • Kelp
  • Nori etc.

Few other iodine-rich foods which should also be minimized in the diet are:

  • Milk and dairy products including cheese
  • Iodized water and salt
  • Egg yolks
  • Few edible food coloring agents etc.

Besides, these some medications must also be carefully consumed especially health and vitamin supplements because they also contain iodine.

Nitrates:

Few chemicals or its compounds like nitrates might trigger the thyroid to absorb more iodine3. This can eventually lead to an enlarged or engorged thyroid gland causing deterioration of the hyperparathyroidism.

Some foods contain nitrates naturally and some processed foods also possess it. Foods which contain nitrates are:

  • Processed meats like sausages, salami, bacon, and pepperoni, etc.
  • Beetroot
  • Lettuce
  • Celery
  • Spinach
  • Parsley
  • Endive
  • Cabbage
  • Carrot
  • Fennel
  • Turnip
  • Cucumber
  • Pumpkin, etc.

Soy and its Products to Avoid When You Have Hyperparathyroidism:

Soy does not contain any iodine; still it can counteract or interfere with hyperparathyroidism treatment options4. Soy and its products are rich in calcium; too high an intake of these can further increase the calcium levels. However, it is not essential to reduce to intake to below the daily recommended dosage5. So avoiding or limiting soy foods listed below can be of great help:

  • Soy milk
  • Soy sauce
  • Tofu
  • Any soy-based creamers or products.

Gluten:

Many people are allergic to gluten and its products. It can also harm thyroid by causing inflammation. Even in the absence of any gluten allergy, it is advisable to limit its intake for good health. For good health, checking food labels for gluten-free products is a must while buying the following:

  • Wheat
  • Barley
  • Rye
  • Brewer’s yeast
  • Triticale, etc.

Tips to Maintain Healthy Parathyroid Functions

Hyperthyroidism might not be preventable at times but it is treatable at any time. A doctor must be consulted if any of the symptoms are observed. Following a strict, parathyroid healthy diet, along with the prescribed medications helps in combating the situation. The following tips can be followed to maintain the parathyroid functions and avoid the effects of hyperparathyroidism:

  • A doctor or dietician can also be referred for any type of diet plan changes. This actually helps a lot in balancing the thyroid functioning and even reduce hyperparathyroidism symptoms and its adverse effects.
  • Relishing over home-cooked healthy low salt or iodine diet and whole grain foods is best.
  • Avoiding or minimizing processed foods and spicy restaurant dishes prevents further thyroid deterioration.
  • A low-iodine diet makes it difficult to obtain sufficient amounts of vitamin D and calcium. Some additional supplements can be taken upon consultation with a doctor for the same.
  • Most of the dietary restrictions are temporary during thyroid treatment. However, making dietary changes a part of healthy eating habits is benefitted for life-long in preventing further relapses of this disease in the future.

References:  

  1. Zingraff J, Drüeke T, Marie P, Man NK, Jungers P, Bordier P. Anemia and secondary hyperparathyroidism. Arch Intern Med. 1978;138:1650–2.
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3721130/
  3. Bahn AK, Mills JL, Synder PJ, Gann PH, Houten L, Bialik O, et al. Hypothyroidism in workers exposed to polybrominated biphenyls. NEngl J Med. 1980;302:31–33.
  4. Van Wyk JJ, Arnold Mary B, Wynn J, Pepper F. The effects of a soybean product on thyroid function in humans. Pediatrics. 1959;24(5):752–60.
  5. https://www.npjournal.org/article/S1555-4155(15)01225-8/fulltext

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