List of 7 iodine-containing foods useful for the thyroid gland

The thyroid gland is an important organ that regulates metabolism and proper functioning of almost all systems in the body through the synthesis of a number of hormones. Unfortunately, the thyroid gland is susceptible to a wide range of pathologies that lead to secretory insufficiency.

According to WHO, over 700 thousand cases of organ damage are registered annually, and 1.5 billion a person is at risk.

At the same time, the most common deviation is hypothyroidism – a lack of thyroid hormones.

According to the US National Institutes of Health , almost 5 out of 100 people aged 12 years and older suffer from hypothyroidism. At the same time, women are more likely to be affected by this condition than men.

Along with medication for hypothyroidism, it is important to make changes in diet and lifestyle. This will help to compensate for hormonal imbalance and improve the clinical course of the disease. Such methods also provide reliable prevention of violations in the future.

Causes of hypothyroidism

The thyroid gland produces hormones that can affect almost all cells of the human body. The organ is controlled by the anterior lobe of the pituitary gland, which, by secreting thyroid-stimulating hormone, corrects the production of thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3).

The pituitary gland itself is in the zone of influence of the hypothalamus, interaction is carried out through releasing factors.

Failure at any level can lead to serious disorders and the appearance of signs of hypothyroidism (due to a decrease in the synthesis of T3 and T4). In 80% of cases, the pathology lies in the thyroid gland itself. The main causes of the failure are:

  1. Insufficient intake of iodine into the body;
  2. Genetic defects;
  3. Surgical interventions;
  4. The use of medications that have a thyrostatic effect;
  5. Hashimoto's thyroiditis (severe autoimmune disease).

With thyroid insufficiency, the metabolism in the body is disrupted, the intensity of growth decreases and the condition of the skin and hair, as well as subcutaneous fat, deteriorates. Body temperature gradually decreases, obesity develops, constant fatigue, and a decrease in tolerance to physical and stressful loads.

Which elements are important

To prevent a lack of thyroid hormones and for the smooth operation of the pituitary gland-thyroid gland-body system, a sufficient amount of vital trace elements and other substances should be present in the daily menu.

Below is a list of the most important components.

1. Iodine

Iodine is a substrate for the synthesis of thyroxine and triiodothyronine. Therefore , with low intake of trace elements from food, hypothyroidism develops.

At home, a person can get enough iodine by eating regular food. Pathology develops only in violation of the qualitative and quantitative composition of food.

2. Selenium

According to scientific data, selenium is necessary for the adequate course of metabolic processes in thyroid tissues, protection of organ cells from the effects of damaging factors (toxic substances, free radicals, own antibodies, etc.).

Maintenance of selenium in the blood at a certain level, according to scientists , is a key factor in preventing any thyroid disease.

3. Zinc

Proven that the addition of zinc-containing products or specialized additives increases the release of T3 and T4 into the blood. The effect is realized by activating hormone synthesis processes at the level of ribosome enzymes.

Without selenium, the thyroid gland will not work adequately, even with a significant increase in the level of thyroid-stimulating hormone.

In the presence of thyroid diseases, in no case should you take supplements with selenium, zinc and, especially, iodine on your own. Such an approach to treatment can lead to negative consequences and only worsen the general condition. It is necessary to consult a doctor! Only a specialist can assess the state of health and prescribe adequate therapy appropriate to the severity of the clinical condition.

Top 7 Healthy Foods

To maintain the correct functioning of the thyroid gland and prevent hypothyroidism, it is necessary to include in the diet foods containing iodine, selenium, zinc and other useful vitamins and trace elements.

Below is a list of the most effective and useful products.

1. Iodized salt

Iodized salt is ordinary table salt with the addition of iodine. In such a compound, the trace element does not oxidize under the influence of oxygen. The product gained wide popularity in the USA in the mid-60s.

Scientists recommend use iodized salt instead of regular salt, adding it to various dishes and drinks. The maximum daily dose is about 5-6 g.

Iodized salt is necessary for the thyroid gland to replenish iodine deficiency and ensure hormone synthesis.

2. Green tea

One of the studies conducted in 2016 , revealed a positive relationship between regular consumption of green tea (at least 2 cups per day) and the level of thyroid hormones (thyroxine, triiodothyronine).

With the normalization of the hormonal background, all the disorders caused by hypothyroidism were quickly compensated.

It is recommended to take green tea on a regular basis to restore the secretion of thyroid hormones.

3. Sea fish

Many seafood products contain huge amounts of iodine. The most valuable in this regard are sturgeon and cod (especially cod liver), 100 g of which contains about 5-7 daily norms of iodine .

In addition, 1 serving of almost any other fish (100 g) replenishes 70% of the daily zinc requirement in the body.

As a result of the complex effect on the thyroid gland, there is an improvement in the clinical condition. Positive dynamics is recorded even in autoimmune diseases (Hashimoto's thyroiditis).

Fish must be included in the diet of all persons suffering from hypofunction of the thyroid gland.

4. Dairy products

Proven that dairy products can compensate for conditions accompanied even by clinically pronounced symptoms of iodine deficiency.

For example, 200 ml cow's milk contains up to 5% of the daily value of iodine, and also provides the body with calcium and vitamin D, which are extremely necessary for balanced bone growth and maintenance strength .

It is important to note that the iodine concentration in skimmed milk is 10-15% lower. As an alternative to cow's milk, sheep's or goat's milk can be used, the iodine content of which can reach 400% and 900% of the daily value.

Milk not only makes up for iodine deficiency, but also helps to normalize metabolism.

5. Meat

Livestock products are widely appreciated due to their high zinc content. For example , 100 g of beef gives the body 33% of the daily value of the trace element, bear meat – 80-95%.

Meat products are also the main source of selenium. The percentage of the component in the finished product directly depends on the quality of animal husbandry on farms.

In order to avoid a lack of zinc and selenium, you should eat more meat products.

6. Oysters

American scientists have established that bivalve mollusks (100 g) are able to make up for the lack of zinc (3 daily norms) and iodine (300% of the daily norm) in the diet.

Oysters are recommended to be consumed on a regular basis (1-2 times a week), even for healthy individuals.

The systematic use of oysters provides reliable prevention of autoimmune disorders of the thyroid gland, improves the functioning of the adrenal glands, reduces the severity of disorders of the central nervous system nervous system , which are extremely common in the presence of hypothyroidism.

Oysters are recommended for regular intake for people with signs of thyroid insufficiency due to the extremely high content of zinc and iodine.

7. Eggs

Research papers show that eggs are rich in selenium, but its bioavailability is low (about 20%). The content of the trace element strongly depends on the growing conditions of the grain that the birds were fed.

You should eat at least 3-5 eggs per week (in the form of omelets or crumpled eggs) to replenish selenium in the human body.

At the same time, for the treatment of mild and moderate hypothyroidism, you need to eat 1-2 eggs per day.

Eggs should be an integral component of food due to the presence of selenium in large volumes.

What to avoid

The diet of people with reduced production of T3 and T4 should be subject to mandatory correction.

There are prohibited foods that cannot be eaten with a sick thyroid gland.

A number of substances act depressingly on thyroid function and reduce hormone production.

Scientists identify the following elements that are harmful to people with a hypothyroid background:

  1. Goitrogens. Are special chemical compounds capable of slowing down the transformation of triiodothyronine into thyroxine in thyroid cells. As a result, a compensatory increase in the endocrine organ develops. The most abundant in this substance are soy products, vegetables (cabbage, spinach), fruits and berries (peaches, strawberries), nuts (peanuts).
  2. Gluten. is a protein found in cereals (wheat, rye). Increased gluten intake with a burdened history (presence of autoimmune diseases) increases the likelihood of clinical manifestation of Hashimoto's thyroiditis several times.

You should also avoid foods with a high degree of processing (fast food, cakes, pastries), alcoholic beverages.

Lifestyle correction

In order to maximize the effect on the thyroid gland, you should give up bad habits.

Recent research shows that there is a relationship between the number of cigarettes smoked during life and the severity of the clinical course of hypothyroidism, as well as the frequency of thyroid malignancy against the background of autoimmune diseases.

Alcohol consumption is a controversial issue. Traditionally in the scientific world it is considered that the consumption of drinks containing ethanol has a direct toxic effect on thyrocytes and suppresses the production of thyrotropin-releasing factor in the hypothalamus, which leads to a decrease in the secretion of thyroid-stimulating hormone and, as a result, T3 and T4.

However recent research papers demonstrate inverse dependence – alcohol protects the thyroid gland from damage, significantly reduces the incidence of pathologies.

In addition, for the overall improvement of metabolic processes in the body, it is necessary to prevent metabolic syndrome (correction of high blood pressure and high cholesterol in the blood, reduction of excess body weight, effects on the hyperglycemic background).


Correction of diet (including some foods and excluding others) and lifestyle can have a positive effect on the course of diseases accompanied by a decrease in thyroid hormone production. It is necessary to approach the treatment correctly, and any innovations should be coordinated with the attending physician in advance.