What foods protect the thyroid gland?

The thyroid is the conductor of our well-being, in charge, among other things, of our weight, our humor, our transit and ours vitality. The activity of the thyroid gland it depends in part on certain nutrients, here’s what you need to give it to keep it running smoothly.

What are the essential nutrients to regulate the thyroid gland?


This trace element is an essential substrate for the secretion of thyroid hormones. However, the deficits are very present (almost 8.5% of men and 20% of women), and often located where the soils are 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 μg / day. With an upper limit set at 600 μg.

Where to find it? In fish products: algae (5,000 to 250,000 μg / 100 g), quills (500 μg), shrimp (260 μg), fish, cod liver … Also in egg yolk (192 μg) and dairy products ( 70 μg / 100 g of brie, 15 μg / 100 ml of milk, etc.). “Fruits and vegetables also contain it,” says Dr. Hansel. An enriched salt has been authorized since 1952. “Contains 15 to 20 mg of iodine per kilo, says Isabelle Gambier, dietician. 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 level? “You have to vary your diet, with fish and seafood 2 or 3 times a week, advises Isabelle Gambier. Ditto for eggs and 2 to 3 dairy products per day. »The iodized salt is interesting, staying at less than 5 g (WHO recommendation) per day. “The good reflex is to incorporate algae (kombu, fucus, agar …) in 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 pound of body weight, which is 1 to 2g depending on body size.

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

What should you eat to regulate the tyrosine level? You can easily cover your needs with one serving (130g) of meat or fish and 2 to 3 servings of dairy products per day and 2 to 3 legumes per week.


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 it? In greater quantities in: fish and seafood (22.5 mg / 100 g of oyster, 11.9 mg / 100 g of crab, etc.), meat (8 mg / 100 g of beef) and offal, eggs, legumes (4 mg / 100 g of lentils …), oil seeds (5.6 mg / 100 g of pine nuts …).

What should you eat to regulate your zinc level? With a varied diet, there is no zinc deficiency. “Beware of deficiencies in the context of a vegan diet, warns the dietician. Plant-based foods such as whole grains can also be rich in phytic acids which can reduce their absorption! ”


The thyroid is the organ in the body that contains the most. Therefore, this trace element is essential for the transformation of the hormone T4 into T3.

What needs? 55 to 70 μg per day.

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

What should you eat to regulate your selenium level? A varied and balanced diet covers the needs in principle.

The iron

An iron deficiency could decrease the efficiency of the enzymes involved in the production and conversion of thyroid hormones.

What needs? 10 to 15 mg per day.

Where to find it? In products of animal origin (meat, offal, fish, etc.) and in some plants (dried vegetables). However, iron of animal origin has a higher assimilation than that of vegetable origin (20-25% against 1-8%).

What should you eat to regulate your iron level? “You can strengthen your assimilation by consuming a food rich in vitamin C in 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 endocrinologist Dr. Pierre Nys. They can limit or mimic the action of natural hormones or prevent them from binding to their receptors. »They are found everywhere (food, packaging, cosmetics, furniture, etc.), but exposure can be reduced by favoring organicavoiding plastic and non-stick coatings, aerating, preferring small oily fish to large species and limiting oneself to one soy food per day.

General population: to protect the thyroid gland it is advisable to follow a varied and balanced diet with meals consisting of fruit and vegetables, meat and fish or seafood (2-3 times / week), 2-3 dairy products a day and legumes several times a week. Salt moderately with iodized salt and add the seaweed from time to time.

Pregnant women : The need for iodine (200 μg) and iron (16 mg) increased. It is important to place pride of place on seafood (except potentially polluted large fish) to strengthen thyroid needs. “It is quite common to offer an iodine supplement,” says Dr. Hansel.

Vegetarians and Vegans: “A meatless diet can cause an iron deficiency and, without fish, an iodine deficiency, warns Isabelle Gambier. The vegan diet multiplies the risks of deficiencies harmful to the thyroid gland such as iron, tyrosine, iodine, zinc. ”

Postmenopausal women: “Since menopause increases cardiovascular and bone risks, it is all the more important to ensure an adequate diet because an imbalance of the thyroid gland can potentiate these risks,” specifies Isabelle Gambier.

What to eat to protect the thyroid gland and avoid weight gain in case of hypothyroidism?

The more frequent attack of the thyroid gland leads to a slowing of the metabolism with various consequences (constipation, fatigue, weight gain, etc.) and can increase cardiovascular risk, especially after menopause. Well balanced by medications, it may sometimes require some dietary adjustments.

Increase the frequency of fish consumption: “It is essential to increase the intake of iodine, but not to exceed it because this can also strengthen hypothyroidism”, stresses Isabelle Gambier. The right balance: from two to three portions of sea fish, crustaceans or crustaceans and as many eggs per week, and from 2 to 3 dairy products per day, of which only 1 portion of cheese. “It is also time to discover algae. And we opt for iodized salt, without exaggerating (max 5 g / day).

Eat fruit 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 calorie density of the meal. Being the sweetest fruits, we limit ourselves to two servings a day.

Measure and select the added fats: 1 C. tablespoons of oil per meal, preferring olive, rapeseed, walnut, camelina and flax oils, among other things beneficial for the cardiovascular system.

Choose lean meats: “Rich in protein, tyrosine and iron, they should be preferred over fatty meats whose saturated fats can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease,” says Isabelle Gambier.

Keep the starches: they are blocked avoiding dips in the day that could lead to gnawing. “Choosing those with low to moderate glycemic indexes (whole grains and legumes) is crucial, advises Dr. Nys. They limit storage, guarantee lasting satiety and also improve transit. »From 100 to 150 g of cooked weight per meal and 50 g of bread in the morning.

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

After consultation with your doctor, it may be recommended to increase iodine intake through source foods or dietary supplements to compensate for the deficiency that the goiter. It is also advisable to reduce some “goitrogenic” foods: cabbage, turnip, radish, millet, sweet potato, cassava. “Their consumption shouldn’t be completely eliminated because they are great health foods,” says Isabelle Gambier. They can be integrated twice a week, favoring the less goitogenic cooked forms “.

What to eat to take care of the thyroid gland in case of hyperthyroidism?

This hyperfunction of the thyroid causes nervousness, loss of weight and muscle and bone mass, an acceleration of transit … While waiting for rebalancing through treatment, the diet can reduce these effects.

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

Consume 3 to 4 dairy products per day (2 for men): they too are rich in proteins, in particular in tryptophan with soothing properties, and, above all, in calcium essential for bones. “At the same time, we guarantee a good vitamin D status,” continues the dietician.

Avoid whole grains: their insoluble fibers accelerate the transit. “On the other hand, it is interesting to privilege the soluble fibers provided by cooked vegetables and some fruits rich in pectin, gums and mucilages contained for example in quince, apple, banana …”, advises the dietician.

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

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

To learn more about the diet that protects the thyroid, read My Hashimoto in 15 Days Programs, Dr Pierre Nys, ed. Leduc.S, € 18.

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