Graves’ Disease Diet: Foods to Help Manage the Symptoms

Antioxidant Foods

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  • Changing your diet and choosing healthier foods can help you deal with the symptoms of Graves’ disease
  • Just as there are foods that you should add to your diet, there are also foods that you should avoid to keep your symptoms from worsening

Changing your diet and choosing healthier foods can help you deal with the symptoms of Graves’ disease. By avoiding foods that aggravate your symptoms, you can help ease this condition.

Due to the thyroid’s important role in metabolism, patients with this autoimmune disease have a higher tendency to lose weight, even if they’re eating sufficient amounts of food every day. Thus, it is important for people who are affected by this disease to eat foods that will help them maintain a healthy weight.

What Foods Should You Eat?

To help you improve your diet, here are a few recommendations that you can start with:1

Calcium-rich foods. Hyperthyroidism may lead to the deterioration of bones, eventually leading to osteoporosis. It is important that you add calcium-rich foods to your diet in order to counter this effect. Some calcium-rich foods that you can add to your diet include kale, collard greens, broccoli and bok choy.

Cruciferous vegetables. These vegetables are famous for their goitrogenic properties, meaning they affect the production of thyroid hormones by blocking the iodine usage of the thyroid gland. Some examples are Brussels sprouts, spinach, watercress and cauliflower.

Protein-Rich Foods. Graves’ disease and hyperthyroidism can cause sudden weight loss, which may contribute to muscle wasting and muscle deterioration. By consuming protein-rich foods, you will provide your muscles enough nutrients to keep their mass.

Some examples of protein-rich foods include red and white meat, eggs, tofu and cheese.2 However, make sure to keep your protein intake at a normal level because excessive protein consumption can trigger adverse effects.

Berries. These fruits contain high amounts of antioxidants, which can strengthen your body’s ability to fight off the negative effects of this autoimmune disease. Consider adding raspberries, strawberries, cranberries and blueberries into your diet in order to get an optimal amount of antioxidants.3 Just remember to consume them in moderation to avoid fructose overload.

While these foods don’t necessarily treat Graves’ disease, it is important that you keep your diet as healthy as possible in order to help your body cope with the symptoms and the effects of this illness.

Avoid These Foods If You Have Graves’ Disease

Just as there are foods that you should add to your diet, there are also foods that you should avoid to keep your symptoms from worsening. These include:

Caffeine. Caffeine is a stimulant that can increase heart rate, anxiety and nervousness, aggravating the already existing symptoms of this disorder.4 The first thing that you have to eliminate from your diet in order to limit your caffeine intake is coffee.

Coffee, despite its potential health benefits (if consumed organic and black), may not be advisable for those with Graves’ disease because it increases heart rate and blood pressure, and has led to higher anxiety levels in some individuals.5 Other food products that contain high amounts of caffeine include tea, soda, sports drinks and foods containing chocolate.6

Non-Fermented Soy. Non-fermented soy foods like tofu are often touted to be healthy, but if you’re affected by a thyroid condition, eating these foods may be a bad idea. Soy contains phytoestrogens that can damage the thyroid and cause cognitive decline, especially in women.

Processed Foods. Bromine, an ingredient often found in processed foods, is an endocrine-disrupting food additive. Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that interfere with how hormones are produced, thus affecting the immunological, neurological and developmental processes of the body.7

To avoid accidentally ingesting foods that contain bromine, steer clear from baked goods that are not bromine-free. Baked goods in the market today contain brominated flour and potassium bromate. Carbonated soft drinks also contain high amounts of bromine through the use of brominated vegetable oils (BVOs), so they must be avoided at all costs.

MORE ABOUT GRAVES' DISEASE

Graves' Disease: Introduction

What Is Graves' Disease?

Graves' Disease Symptoms

Graves' Disease Causes

Graves' Disease Treatment

Graves' Disease Diet

Graves' Disease FAQ

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