What is the right diet to heal Hashimoto’s?
I hear this question a lot. Unfortunately, the answer isn’t always straightforward, as nutrition is the only science where multiple answers can be both correct and wrong. One (wo)man’s medicine can be another (wo)man’s poison.
It took time, experimentation, and further testing, to finally land on the diet that worked based on my own body’s needs.
We are all different, and although we may have the same condition, different interventions may be required for each of us to heal. I have worked with, and surveyed, thousands of other people with Hashimoto’s, and many of them have experienced great improvements in their health via dietary changes.
In this article, I’d like to share some of what I’ve learned, including:
- My personal diet journey
- How to balance blood sugar by limiting carbs
- The top six dietary changes I recommend
- Nutrient-dense healing foods to incorporate into your diet
- Three Root Cause diet templates to consider
My Personal Diet Journey
I have tried a variety of diets on my Hashimoto’s healing journey. I started by removing gluten and dairy after having food sensitivity tests that showed I reacted to both.
After that change, my stomach was extremely grateful — and my acid reflux disappeared in just three days! I no longer had a chronic cough, diarrhea, or bloating. Having learned about the connection between food and autoimmune disease, I excitedly re-tested my TPO antibodies.
Unfortunately, they had increased. I also became more tired, and my anxiety worsened.
At first, I was surprised, but came to learn that I made the same rookie mistake that people who go on a gluten-free diet usually do: I had replaced my previous junk food with “GFJF” (gluten-free junk food), like soy and rice-based gluten-free bread, pretzels, dairy-free milk, and cookies.
Soy has been linked with autoimmune thyroid disorders, and gluten-free junk foods, bread, cereals, and soy milk can have an incredibly high glycemic index. (1, 2) The blood sugar imbalances from such foods may promote adrenal dysfunction, which can in turn affect thyroid function (most of my clients with Hashimoto’s also present with adrenal fatigue).
Eventually, I made a point to remove soy from my diet, and I balanced my blood sugar by eating lower glycemic index foods. I felt better, and my thyroid antibodies decreased. But soon, healing plateaued, and I started becoming bloated again.
So I went back to the drawing board and began researching alternative diets. I resonated with the theory behind the GAPS (“gut and psychology syndrome”) diet, which consists of nutrient-dense foods like meats, vegetables, fruit, eggs, and nuts — so I took the plunge.
I felt better at first. Almost immediately, I noticed increased muscle tone and energy levels.
But even after several months, I continued to have digestive issues. I had been trying so hard to find the right diet!
Instead of giving up, I decided to follow another diet that removes gluten and dairy, and limits fruit. I started to experience positive results right away. I felt happier. My skin cleared up, my hair became bouncy and shiny again, and I was glowing! Three months later, my TPO antibodies had dropped to the 200 IU/mL range.
So what wasn’t working for me?
Some of the fruits were causing blood sugar imbalances. I also did additional testing and figured out that I was not digesting protein correctly (especially eggs). I cut them out, added green smoothies to the mix, and started eating raw (but puréed) veggies.
The test showed that I was reactive to some “healthy” foods I occasionally ate: chard, apples, garlic, and strawberries. I decided to “test” the validity of the test and ate a whole bunch of these foods all at once. I noticed more joint pain when I consumed the foods I had tested as sensitive toward.
My takeaway is that it’s important to listen to your own body, instead of relying solely on any one dietary theory. Dietary theories are meant to be a starting point.
If you listen carefully to your body, and are willing to experiment with different diets, your body will show you the way!
So Which Diet Should You Follow?
Although each person with Hashimoto’s has their own unique root causes, I’ve found that following a nutrient-dense diet always helps a person with thyroid disease.
If you’ve been eating a Standard American Diet (S.A.D.), consisting of a large quantity of grains, sugar, dairy, soy, and processed foods, you may find that following a healing diet can make the transition to a nutrient-dense diet easier.
Multiple diets have been reported to reverse Hashimoto’s and other autoimmune conditions, including the Specific Carbohydrate diet, Paleo diet, Autoimmune Paleo diet, Low FODMAPs diet, and Body Ecology diet, as well as gluten-, soy-, dairy-, and iodine-free diets.
The connecting thread behind these diverse diets is that they all remove various reactive foods as discussed in this article. Most of the diets also include animal proteins, are more nutrient-dense than the S.A.D., and remove processed foods.
I consider myself to be diet-agnostic. I try not to form too many attachments to any dogmas, be it diets, herbs, medications, or other treatment modalities. My goal is to simply try to find the most successful protocols, and to show my readers what works.
In analyzing the diets that have worked for my clients and readers, I’ve found the following three diets to be especially helpful:
- The gluten-, dairy-, and soy-free diet
- The Paleo diet
- The Autoimmune Paleo diet
I’ve further refined these diets to Hashimoto’s, by making some adjustments based on clinical experience of what works for most people with Hashimoto’s, including:
- Balancing blood sugar and limiting the intake of carbohydrates
- Limiting fish high in mercury levels
- Limiting foods high in iodine
- Increasing your intake of protein and good fats
- Adding nutrient-dense foods that can benefit the thyroid
- Removing personally reactive foods
Let’s explore each of these in more detail.
Balancing Blood Sugar By Limiting the Intake of Carbohydrates
You might be surprised to learn that, while protein, fat, and micronutrients are all required by the human body, carbohydrates are not a required nutrient. While (good) fat is required for normal cell function, we can actually survive on little to no carbohydrates in our diets.
Not only are carbs not required, they’re also the greatest contributor to blood sugar imbalances — which some 50 percent of those with Hashimoto’s may have! These imbalances can contribute to anxiety, weight gain, hair loss, irritability, weakened adrenals, fatigue, and increased thyroid antibodies. Limiting one’s carbohydrate intake and consuming plenty of good fats and proteins instead, can help balance blood sugar. (3-5)
I recommend staying away from processed carbohydrates, as those will cause the greatest blood sugar swings. Stick to natural carbohydrates, such as sweet potatoes and berries, but not too many at first. For best results, you may want to limit yourself to one to two servings of carbohydrates a day if you’re still in the early stages of your healing journey and are struggling with blood sugar swings.
For some of my clients, even too much fruit can throw them off. You will be able to improve your tolerance to carbohydrates as you heal.
Limiting the Intake of Fish High in Mercury Levels
Seafood is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which can help restore immune balance and reduce inflammation. However, frequently eating fish that is high in mercury can lead to elevated levels of mercury in the body, which can disrupt thyroid function and contribute to our toxicity load. (6, 7)
Some fish, like swordfish and tuna, are higher in mercury than others — so I recommend looking for lower-mercury species like salmon and trout. (Check out the Environmental Working Group’s complete seafood guide for more information.)
You can also get omega-3s from supplements, and you can read more about the supplements that I recommend in my article on fish oil for Hashimoto’s.
Limiting Foods High in Iodine
While iodine is essential for thyroid function, excessive amounts can exacerbate Hashimoto’s.
Today, with iodized salt being prevalent in most countries, iodine excess is recognized as a risk factor for developing Hashimoto’s. (Read more about the iodine and Hashimoto’s controversy and foods high in iodine.)
Some research has shown that a low-iodine diet has been helpful in reducing the autoimmune attack on the thyroid gland and in normalizing thyroid function, in people with iodine-induced Hashimoto’s. (8, 9)
In my experience, iodine needs to be dosed appropriately to provide benefit and prevent harm. I’ve found that for most people with Hashimoto’s, a small intake of iodine (150-220 mcg daily) is usually safe and potentially helpful, although doses above that can be inflammatory.
Increasing Your Intake of Good Fats and Protein
Although we’re finally coming out of the decades we spent fearing fat, there’s still a lingering mindset that keeps us from eating enough of this energy-rich macronutrient. I encourage you not to fear fat, as it’s essential for brain function, healthy skin, shiny hair, and cell membrane formation.
The key is to eat good fats found in fish, olive and coconut oil, and avocados; avoid bad (trans) fats, found in baked or fried goods, packaged cookies, certain cereals, and hydrogenated oils. When you eliminate processed foods from your diet, you will essentially have eliminated almost all forms of trans fats. As a bonus, you’ll naturally be getting a more balanced omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acid ratio. (You can read more about omega-3 fatty acids here.)
When you increase your intake of good fats with foods like fish, you will likely also boost your protein intake. People with certain chronic illnesses may need more (high-quality) protein in the diet to help support greater cell and tissue repair demands. (10)
Protein also acts as the raw fuel to create thyroid hormones, and may even help to reverse intestinal permeability. (11, 12)
I have come to learn the importance of including high-quality protein, particularly red meat, into a healing diet. Many of my clients who were former vegans have reported improved symptoms of Hashimoto’s following a transition to a Paleo diet. Based on this, I believe that animal proteins must play an important role in building back the health of people with Hashimoto’s.
In addition to iron, which is commonly deficient in people with Hashimoto’s and harder to absorb from veggies, carnitine is an amino acid that has been found to often be deficient in people with thyroid disease. The richest source of carnitine comes from red meat, and supplementing with carnitine has been reported to resolve fatigue, muscle weakness, blood sugar imbalances, constipation, leaky gut, fertility issues, developmental delays, and more. (13, 14)
I recommend eating about 1-1.2 grams of protein, per kilogram of body weight, per day (roughly 0.5 grams per pound of body weight).
In addition to getting protein from foods, it may also be helpful to obtain protein from protein powder, such as Rootcology AI Paleo Protein, as people with Hashimoto’s may have trouble extracting protein from the foods they eat. Since it has already been broken down into fine form and separated from other ingredients, protein from powder is generally easier to digest than protein from foods. You can learn more about the safest proteins for those with Hashimoto’s, here.
Adding Nutrient-Dense Foods that can Benefit the Thyroid
Similar to the tiny substances that are found in medications, tiny substances in foods can also exert massive effects on the body, and their chemical properties can interact with our internal systems. My training as a pharmacist, and my many years spent working with people with Hashimoto’s, have convinced me of the power that food has to heal… and I have become a huge proponent of “food pharmacology,” or using food as medicine.
For this reason, besides removing potentially reactive foods, I believe (and have seen the evidence :-)) that adding in nutrient-dense foods is key to healing your gut and healing Hashimoto’s.
Here are some of the foods I have found to be especially beneficial for the thyroid:
- Green smoothies – These are a really great way to increase our intake of nutritious food without the digestive stress. As they’re chopped up, the food becomes easier to digest, and the nutrients are more readily absorbed. Additionally, they’re a wonderful source of chlorophyll, which may help support the process of detoxification in the liver, reduce inflammation and oxidative stress, raise iron levels, and even work as a natural deodorant by neutralizing odors. (15, 16)
- Fermented foods – Fermentation is a process of food preservation that produces probiotics, or “good bacteria,” that can balance intestinal flora. I recommend that you buy fermented foods, like sauerkraut, that require refrigeration, as probiotic bacteria can only survive a couple of weeks at room temperature.
- Bone broth – Bone broth provides healing collagen and nutrients to support the gut lining and skin. (17, 18) Seventy percent of readers in my 2015 survey found that bone broth helped them feel better.
- Hot lemon water – Lemon juice can help support the liver’s detoxification pathways and, thanks to its acidity, it can also increase the absorption of thyroid hormone medications. My clients who start drinking hot lemon water on an empty stomach in the morning (in place of caffeinated beverages), are surprised by not just how much energy they have, but also how much better they feel overall.
- Beets – Beets are a good source of phytonutrients, which perform anti-inflammatory and antioxidant duties in the body. Beets are especially good for those with MTHFR gene mutations and elevated homocysteine levels, as their betaine content can help break down homocysteine. (19) I recommend eating one to two servings of beets a week. However, because they are naturally high in sugar, you’ll want to combine them with a healthy fat or protein source.
- Cruciferous veggies – While many myths about crucifers being bad for the thyroid exist, crucifers are indeed healthy for most people with Hashimoto’s, and their glucosinolates help increase detoxification in the liver. (20)
- Cilantro – Fresh cilantro is a natural chelator, which means it will bind to certain toxins and help excrete them from the body. (21) You can add cilantro to salads, avocados and green juices, and use it as a fresh condiment topper on soups.
- Fiber – Fiber acts like a sponge as it moves through the digestive process and helps absorb toxins and excess hormones, ultimately supporting their path to excretion. It’s best to get fiber from fruits and vegetables versus supplemental forms, as many fiber supplements can aggravate intestinal permeability and SIBO. (22) I suggest gradually adding fibrous foods into your diet if you don’t normally eat a lot of them.
- Turmeric – The curcumin content in turmeric helps support the gut, liver, and inflammatory pathways, and can be especially helpful if you are experiencing pain. (23)
- Berries – Berries are an incredible source of phytonutrients that act as antioxidants in the body. Because they are high in fiber, they don’t cause a spike in your blood sugar, as some types of fruit do. Blueberries are a rich source of myo-inositol, a nutrient that has been shown to improve thyroid function and blood sugar. (24, 25) Aim for one to two servings of berries daily. It’s best to spread these servings out throughout the day, as I’ve found that too much fruit at one time can cause a spike in blood sugar, which may lead to tiredness.
What About Vegan and Vegetarian Diets?
Vegan, or plant-based, diets have become more popular in recent years, as more of us are becoming aware of the problems with factory farming and animal mistreatment, the negative effects of large-scale farming on the environment, and the proven health benefits of adding more whole fruits and vegetables to one’s diet.
Those following a strict vegan diet will eliminate any foods that come from animals, including meat, eggs, dairy, and even honey. Vegetarians, on the other hand, eliminate meat, but will often still consume dairy and other products that are derived from animals.
Reported health benefits of a vegan diet include weight loss, improved kidney function, possible protection against cancer, and a reduced risk of heart disease. (26) It’s important to note, however, that the data surrounding the health benefits of vegan diets is inconclusive, and many of the benefits will be dependent on whether a person is eating a whole foods diet versus one that is full of processed foods.
While vegan and vegetarian diets have been reported to be extremely helpful with autoimmune disease and other chronic conditions, I have not been able to find reports of people recovering from Hashimoto’s by following a vegan diet. Even devout vegans who are nutritionally conscious, still struggle with low body temperatures, hypothyroidism, and Hashimoto’s.
Some of the reasons that such diets may be problematic in Hashimoto’s are that they can:
- Exacerbate blood sugar issues: Those with Hashimoto’s often experience blood sugar issues, which can be exacerbated by carbohydrate-heavy vegan and vegetarian diets. (27)
- Prevent the gut from healing: Non-meat protein sources such as legumes (beans), dairy, grains, soy, nuts, and sometimes seeds, may prevent the healing of a leaky gut. My experience is that these foods are often found to be reactive in Hashimoto’s and can perpetuate intestinal permeability.
- Contribute to nutrient deficiencies that may exacerbate Hashimoto’s: Those with Hashimoto’s are prone to nutrient deficiencies, and vegan diets can put us even more at risk. Examples of nutrient deficiencies that may be caused or exacerbated with a vegan diet include: vitamin A, vitamin B3, vitamin B9, vitamin B12, vitamin D, calcium, chromium, copper, iodine, iron, magnesium, carnitine, manganese, zinc, and omega-3s. (28)
While incorporating a large amount of plant food into a person’s diet will certainly provide a multitude of health benefits for the majority of people, including increased micronutrient and fiber intake, my experience has shown me that an exclusively vegan diet is usually not the most helpful for people who are trying to heal their Hashimoto’s.
The 3 Most Helpful Diet Templates for Hashimoto’s
All the things that make you unique — your genes, ethnicity, blood type, gender, digestive capability, intestinal environment, food sensitivities, stress levels, and so much more — will make the optimal diet for you unique.
However, my many years of research and working with people with Hashimoto’s have taught me that, no matter your personal history or present state, there are reliable diet “templates” that can help nourish and strengthen your body to bring it back to a healthy state. These are the Root Cause Intro Diet, Root Cause Paleo Diet, and the Root Cause Autoimmune Diet.
I recommend making use of these diets with either a “step up” or “step down” approach, in which you choose one level and then adjust to another level based on your needs.
For example, if you start with the Root Cause Intro Diet but continue to have symptoms after one to three months, you may want to step up to the Root Cause Paleo Diet. If you start with the Root Cause Autoimmune Diet and find that after one to three months you have reached your health goals, you may want to step down to the Root Cause Paleo Diet and introduce more foods.
Each strategy has its pros and cons, and you’ll have to decide what’s best for you at this time in your journey.
I hope that these diet templates will be a helpful place for you to start. That said, no matter what, it’s important to remember that these dietary protocols don’t need to control your life. They are approaches to healing your body from the effects of Hashimoto’s, but they should be seen as fluid, and not fixed. You can try them as they are designed, and then you can let them morph into what works best for your unique body.
The Root Cause Intro Diet
For those wishing to overcome Hashimoto’s symptoms, I always suggest that removing gluten, dairy, and soy from one’s diet is the best place to start. Those three foods tend to be the most problematic for people with thyroid conditions, and removing them can often lead to a significant reduction in symptoms.
To those starting their health journey, I recommend the Root Cause Intro Diet, which focuses on removing the six most commonly reactive substances in those with Hashimoto’s:
These dietary irritants, when combined with the environmental toxins we are exposed to on an everyday basis, can overburden the body. For people with Hashimoto’s who may already have impaired detox abilities due to liver backlogs and toxic overload, this buildup of toxins can impede healing. (29)
By following this diet, you will create an internal environment focused on healing, and help calm the immune system.
The Root Cause Paleo Diet
To dive a little further, I have found a Paleo-style diet to be the most effective for the majority of people with Hashimoto’s. In fact, 81 percent of my 2015 survey respondents reported that a Paleo-style diet made them feel better!
The historical theory behind the health benefits of a Paleo diet is that the digestive systems of humans have not had sufficient time to adapt to today’s farming practices, or to the ingredients and chemicals in modern processed foods. The theory blames the rise in chronic diseases, obesity, and allergies, on the agricultural revolution, which added grains and processed foods — as well as toxins — into our diet.
It is estimated that contemporary Western populations get as much as 70 percent of their daily energy intake from foods that were never or rarely consumed by our hunter-gatherer Paleolithic ancestors. These non-Paleo foods include grains, refined sugars, dairy, and highly processed fats. (30)
After eliminating grains and processed foods, a Paleo diet replaces these with nutrient-dense foods: nuts and seeds, vegetables, fruit, and eggs. Meat and fish are also allowed.
I have put my own twist on the Paleo diet, with what I call the Root Cause Paleo Diet. It specifically eliminates the foods that tend to cause the most problems for those with Hashimoto’s (like high-iodine foods), while adding in the nutrients that help the body heal.
The Root Cause Paleo Diet eliminates:
- Legumes (except green beans and pea protein)
- High-iodine foods
- Capsaicin-containing peppers (chili pepper, red chili flakes, cayenne pepper)
Foods allowed on the diet include:
- All meats
- All vegetables
- All fruits
- Nightshades (except cayenne and chili peppers)
- Black pepper (Piper nigrum)
- Bell peppers
- Smoothies made with hydrolyzed beef protein, such as Rootcology Paleo Protein and Rootcology AI Paleo Protein
- Smoothies with added pea protein, like Rootcology Pea Protein Powder
The Root Cause Autoimmune Diet
If you are still experiencing symptoms, especially gut-related symptoms, after following the two diets above, my recommendation is to step up to an advanced diet, like the Root Cause Autoimmune diet, or the Autoimmune Paleo (AIP) diet.
While the Paleo diet has helped some people with Hashimoto’s feel much better, I have found that the AIP diet can be even more helpful, based on 75 percent of my readers and clients reporting significant symptom reduction — and almost 40 percent seeing a reduction in thyroid antibodies!
Research on AIP and Hashimoto’s
Newer research has highlighted the impact an AIP diet can have on those with Hashimoto’s. In a 2019 study, 17 women between the ages of 20 and 45 with a prior diagnosis of Hashimoto’s, participated in a 10-week online health coaching program, focused on the implementation of an AIP diet. They each filled out a questionnaire that was used to measure the participant’s health-related quality of life (HRQL) and clinical symptom burden, in addition to undergoing thyroid function tests and white blood cell counts, before and after the 10-week program.
The study revealed some exciting results, including a statistically significant improvement in HRQL, particularly in the areas of physical role functioning, emotional role functioning, vitality, and general health. Clinical symptoms decreased from an average of 92 symptoms, to an average of 29 at the end of the program. Symptoms that saw significant improvement included joint pain, muscle aches, headaches, poor sleep quality, low energy, abnormal body weight, poor mood, and poor cognitive function, among many others. Inflammation was noted to significantly decrease by 29 percent, and weight and body mass index (BMI) saw statistically significant decreases, with an average of six pounds lost, and a one point drop on the BMI scale.
Surprisingly, there were no statistically significant changes noted in any measure of thyroid function, including TSH, free and total T4, free and total T3, or thyroid antibodies. However, the study suggested that the AIP diet may decrease systemic inflammation and modulate the immune system, as evidenced by changes in white blood cell counts.
Additionally, six out of the 13 women beginning the study on thyroid replacement medication, decreased their dose of hormone replacement medication after the 10-week intervention, while all three of the women who began the study without the use of hormone replacement medication, continued without the use of medication. (31)
Given the improvements seen in the participants’ HRQL, symptom burden, and markers of immune activity and inflammation, this is exciting news, indicating that an AIP diet can have a profound impact on healing Hashimoto’s!
What Does an Autoimmune Paleo (AIP) Diet Look Like?
In addition to the foods eliminated on the Paleo diet, the AIP diet also eliminates eggs, nightshades, nuts, and seeds.
I’ve also developed a Root Cause Autoimmune Diet, which builds on the AIP diet and eliminates a few more foods that can be problematic for the thyroid (see full list below).
Eggs can be a reactive food for some people with Hashimoto’s, including 48 percent of readers that I surveyed in 2015. Eggs contain the enzyme lysozyme, which has the ability to bond with bacteria and proteins as it moves through the digestive process, collectively forming what’s referred to as a “lysozyme complex,” which can irritate those with leaky gut. (32)
Nightshades contain alkaloids, which are chemical compounds that can be reactive substances in some people. Forty-seven percent of readers found removing nightshades relieved their joint aches, pain, swelling, tingling, and numbness.
While nuts are a highly nutritious source of protein and healthy fats, they can be tough to digest.
Additionally, they contain oxalates and phytates, both “anti-nutrients” that can interfere with mineral absorption. (33) In the Root Cause Autoimmune Diet, nuts are excluded, but even if you don’t react to them now and you add them back in later, I recommend rotating them with other foods, eating them every three to four days.
Finally, seeds have the potential to aggravate an already irritated gut, as they tend to resist digestion, and might contribute to symptoms if you have trouble digesting proteins.
To recap, the Root Cause Autoimmune Diet excludes:
- Dairy (including butter and ghee, which are allowed on traditional Paleo diets)
- Hot peppers
Foods allowed on this diet include:
- Fish and shellfish
- Fruits (all, especially coconut)
- Meats (all)
- Oils: avocado, coconut, and olive
- Vegetables (except nightshades)
The list of included foods may seem short, but in practice, it translates to countless options for delicious eating, and you’ll find some of my favorite recipes in my new cookbook!
Remove Personally Reactive Foods
Regardless of the diet template that you choose to follow, it is important to tailor it to your needs by eliminating any personal food sensitivities.
Food sensitivities are governed by the IgA, IgM, and IgG branches of the immune system. Reactive foods trigger an inflammatory response in the GI tract, leading to malabsorption of nutrients, and can also lead to intestinal permeability whenever they are eaten. Eating foods that we have become sensitive to can trigger the immune system and perpetuate the immune system’s attack on the thyroid in autoimmune thyroiditis. (34-36)
Reactions after consuming these foods may take as long as hours or even a few days to manifest, and may include acid reflux, bloating, irritable bowel syndrome, palpitations, joint pain, anxiety, nerve tingling, and/or headaches.
One person may have a food sensitivity to gluten with nutrient deficiencies of selenium and vitamin D, and may get themselves into remission by going gluten free and taking some supplements — all on their own. Another person may have all six root causes with numerous food sensitivities, infections, toxins, nutrient depletions, stress hormone depletions, and digestive deficiencies. This person will have to keep peeling back the layers to reach symptom resolution and remission.
Most of us fall somewhere in the middle with a combination of root causes. However, I’ve found that just about every person with Hashimoto’s has food sensitivities, and most people experience a dramatic reduction in symptoms, after identifying and eliminating reactive foods from their diet. Some will also see a significant reduction in thyroid antibodies. An additional subset of people will be able to get their Hashimoto’s into complete remission, just by getting off the foods they react to!
Check out my article to learn more about food sensitivity testing.
Beyond Food: Where Do I Go From Here?
If, after removing problematic foods, you still experience symptoms, this may be a sign to start digging for potential other root causes behind your thyroid condition.
You may consider:
- Removing toxins
- Reversing nutrient depletions
- Addressing gut-related issues with digestive enzymes
- Treating infections like Candida, Blasto, and H. pylori
- Testing for SIBO
- Balancing the adrenals
I go into further detail about the possible root causes of Hashimoto’s in my cookbook.
Limiting your intake of carbohydrates, fish high in mercury levels, and foods high in iodine — while increasing your intake of protein and good fats, and adding nutrient-dense foods found to benefit Hashimoto’s — can make an enormous impact on your health!
Choosing a helpful diet template to follow can be a great way to start your Hashimoto’s healing journey. The Root Cause Intro (eliminating gluten/dairy/soy), Paleo, Autoimmune Paleo, and Root Cause Autoimmune diets have all been successful for my clients with Hashimoto’s — but no diet is one-size-fits-all.
I always recommend tailoring your diet to your own needs by removing any personally reactive foods. This may take a little bit of experimentation, but these diet templates should give you a good jumping-off point and help you simplify the process.
While I hope these suggestions help you on your journey to find the right diet for you, know that your journey is YOURS and you need to keep digging until you find what works for you.
If you’re looking for strategies and recipes to help you get started on thyroid-friendly dietary interventions, consider getting a copy of my cookbook, Hashimoto’s Food Pharmacology: Nutrition Protocols and Healing Recipes to Take Charge of Your Thyroid Health. This is a cookbook and nutrition guide that reveals how food can be used as medicine in the same manner that pharmaceuticals are used to impact our biology, and it’s designed with healing recipes and protocols specifically for people with Hashimoto’s or autoimmune conditions.
The first few chapters will teach you how to support yourself through optimal diet, digestive enzymes, and proper nutrients. You’ll also find tools and strategies for success and 125 delicious recipes that will help your body heal.
If you’re looking for some convenient online sources for thyroid-friendly foods, a few of my favorite food and meal delivery sources include:
- US Wellness Meats – US Wellness Meats specializes in the finest grass-fed and organic meats with no antibiotics or growth hormones, that are rich in nutrients and higher in essential vitamins and minerals. You can buy a variety of organic meats and poultry, including beef, bison, lamb, pork, rabbit, chicken, and duck. They also have a selection of wild-caught seafood.
- Vital Choice Seafood and Organics – This is a trusted source for fast home delivery of the world’s finest wild seafood and organic fare, harvested from healthy, well-managed wild fisheries and farms. They are a leading source of pure, healthful, sustainable foods, and omega-3 supplements.
- Butcher Box – Get 100% grass-fed beef, free-range organic chicken, and heritage breed pork delivered to your door for less than $6.00 per meal! (Use my code THYROID to get $10 off your order!)
- Thrive Market – This is a membership community that uses the power of direct buying to deliver the world’s best healthy food and natural products at wholesale prices. Thrive stocks a wide variety of products, including those that are vegan, dairy free, vegetarian, organic, Paleo, gluten free, etc.
- Paleo on the Go – This meal delivery service is a great option If you really don’t have time to cook, or just don’t like spending a lot of time in the kitchen. They offer regular Paleo, ketogenic, and Autoimmune Paleo options.
- Trifecta – You can also try this meal delivery service that offers customizable Paleo and vegan options.
- Methodology (for west coast U.S. only) – Methodology has made eating healthy so fast and easy. They deliver nourishing, ready-to-eat food, curated to my preferences, twice a week. Plus, they have a massive menu with over 80 items each week, and it rotates each week, so there’s always something new to satisfy my cravings. I also like that they try to put as much food into reusable glass jars as possible. If you want a 20% discount on your first order, be sure to use my discount code, IZABELLACCBF.
I hope you find this wealth of information helpful on your health journey!
P.S. You can also download a free Thyroid Diet Guide, 10 thyroid-friendly recipes, and the Nutrient Depletions and Digestion chapter of my Root Cause book for free by signing up for my weekly newsletter. You will also receive occasional updates about new research, resources, giveaways, and helpful information.
- Zhao JH, Sun SJ, Horiguchi H, et al. A soy diet accelerates renal damage in autoimmune MRL/Mp-lpr/lpr mice. Int Immunopharmacol. 2005;5(11):1601-1610. doi:10.1016/j.intimp.2005.04.011
- Romão B, Falcomer AL, Palos G, et al. Glycemic Index of Gluten-Free Bread and Their Main Ingredients: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Foods. 2021;10(3):506. Published 2021 Feb 27. doi:10.3390/foods10030506
- Blood Sugar Major Player in Hashimoto’s Hypothyroidism. Functional Health News Website. http://functionalhealthnews.com/2014/08/blood-sugar-chronic-health/. Accessed February 5, 2019.
- Russell WR, Baka A, Björck I, et al. Impact of Diet Composition on Blood Glucose Regulation. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2016;56(4):541-590. doi:10.1080/10408398.2013.792772
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Note: Originally published in February 2015, this article has been revised and updated for accuracy and thoroughness.