5 Habits That Could Be Messing With Your Thyroid Function (I Quit Sugar – Guest Post)

Your thyroid – a little butterfly shaped gland in your neck – is pretty important.

It’s responsible for your metabolism and the “energy” of every single cell in your body. So we need to make sure we’re taking care of it!

There are some eating habits that can muck with your thyroid function without you even realising it. Luckily, most of them are pretty easily taken care of.

1. You’re eating too much sugar

Sugar messes with your blood glucose regulation and causes inflammation in the body. Inflammation suppresses the production of T3 (the “active” thyroid hormone that your body can actually use).

It also messes with your gut bacteria. Did you know roughly 20% of your thyriod production (or activation) happens in your gut!? Yep. True story.

2. You’re not eating enough iodine

Iodine is essential for the conversion of “inactive” T4 thyroid hormone to “active” T3.

The mineral isn’t super abundant in whole foods (ironically, processed foods often contain higher levels). So if you’re JERFing, you might be missing out on your daily requirement (unless you’re eating sea vegetables or iodised salt).

My personal favourite way to get iodine in is to use nori sushi sheets as wraps!

CAUTION: If you have Hashimoto’s or Graves disease AND your antibodies are still elevated, please be cautious and speak to a health practitioner before increasing iodine intake.

3. You’re not eating enough carbs

While too much insulin (a hormone secreted in response to the intake of carbohydrates) can be damaging to your health, a bit of it is critical for the conversion of inactive T4 to active T3 hormone.

This is NOT a license to go gung-ho on the white bread! The best approach is to make sure you’re getting a couple of serves of whole carbohydrates a day.

My favourites are pumpkin, potato, sweet potato, carrots and plantains (yep, veggies contain carbs!). The amount you need will vary from individual to individual, but use that as a starting point.

4. You’re eating too much raw kale

Holy smokes, did she just say I can eat too much kale!? Yep, I did.

Veggies known as goitrogenic vegetables – like broccoli, cauliflower, kale, sweet potato, cassava – can inhibit the uptake of iodine in your thyroid gland, which consequently inhibits the production of T3.

Does that mean give up the broc forever? Absolutely not! It’s worth noting that cooking these veggies significantly reduces their goitrogenic properties.

But I would caution against having multiple serves of them raw every day, especially if you have low iodine levels.

5. You’re not getting enough selenium

Selenium is a trace mineral that helps support healthy thyroid function.

The easiest way to get enough is through brazil nuts – just two contain your entire recommended daily intake! If you’re not particularly fond of brazil nuts, or have a nut allergy, other nutrient dense sources include seafood and grass fed meat.

Please note that in some cases supplementing with selenium is a better choice than relying on food alone- particularly with Hashimoto’s or Grave’s disease as selenium at the right dose can decrease thyroid antibodies. 

Want to know more about Thyroid Function?

You can listen to FREE episodes of The Holistic Nutritionists Podcast where we discuss treatment strategies for Hashimoto’s and an Underactive Thyroid.

As always, please get in touch via email or leave a comment with any questions you may have!