Doctors may ask people with Graves’ disease to avoid certain foods because of the following reasons:
- These people may have issues with foods that contain iodine.
- Caffeine and foods with a high caffeine content may aggravate the symptoms of hyperthyroidism.
- Food allergens (if any) may also cause symptoms similar to those of Graves’ disease (weight loss and diarrhea).
- Seafood and seafood additives (iodide-rich foods) including:
- Sea fish
- Foods and additives high in iodine such as:
- Iodized salt
- Iodized water
- Egg yolks, whole eggs, and foods containing whole eggs
- FD&C Red dye #3 (this appears in maraschino cherries and occasionally as a pink/red artificial color in beverages)
- Milk chocolate (due to dairy content)
- Milk or other dairy products including:
- Ice cream
- Medications that contain iodine:
- Gluten-containing ingredients (potential food allergens):
- Brewer’s yeast
- Commercially prepared bakery products made with iodate dough conditioners
- Blackstrap molasses (you can eat unsulfured molasses)
- Soy products (soy sauce, soy milk, and tofu) (Note: Soy does not contain iodine. However, high soy ingestion has been shown to interfere with radioactive iodine uptake in animal studies.)
- Iodine supplements
- Caffeine-containing substances such as coffee, soda, tea, and chocolate (these can aggravate anxiety, nervousness, rapid heart rate, tremors, and weight loss that is common in Grave’s disease)
What is Graves’ disease?
Graves’ disease is an autoimmune disease that causes hyperthyroidism or leads to an overactive thyroid gland. In this disease, your white blood cells attack the thyroid and cause it to produce excessive thyroid hormones.
What can you eat with Graves’ disease?
People with Graves’ disease can definitely have these foods:
- Non-iodized salt or non-iodized sea salt
- Egg whites
- Homemade bread made without salt, dairy, or eggs; use non-iodized salt and oil (except soy oil) to prepare bread
- Fresh fruits and vegetables
- Frozen vegetables
- Grain, cereal products, and pasta without high-iodine ingredients
- Canned fruit
- Natural unsalted nuts and nut butter (peanut, almond, etc.)
- Sodas, beer, wine, lemonade, and fruit juices
- Popcorn popped in vegetable oil or air-popped with non-iodized salt
- Black pepper, fresh or dried herbs and spices, and all vegetable oils
- Sugar, jam, jelly, and honey maple syrup
- Matzoh crackers
Cruciferous vegetables interfere with your thyroid using iodine properly, which would be effective in hyperthyroidism. Some of the cruciferous vegetables include:
- Bamboo shoots
- Bok choy
- Brussels sprouts
- Collard greens
Some vitamins and minerals are needed to maintain the strong bones and hair that are thin because of excess thyroid. Do consult your doctor before starting or stopping any supplements.
- Selenium (heals the thyroid gland)
- Zinc (prevents overall body cell damage due to hyperactive thyroid)
- Calcium and vitamin D (bone thinning)
- Iron (combats menstrual blood loss common on hyperthyroidism)
Unprocessed fats from whole foods help protect thyroid health and balance the thyroid hormones. These include:
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