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What advice do you have for someone with Hashimoto's in terms of dietary changes?
If people do not know what Hashimoto's Disease is, it is a condition where the immune system attacks the thyroid gland, resulting in thyroid gland enlargement/inflammation and hypothyroidism. Because the thyroid is a “conductor,” of sorts, regarding metabolism, energy, body temperature, fertility, muscle strength, and energy - it is important to do what you can medically and nutritionally to get things under control.
Without getting too deep into the medical side of Hasimoto's, I would say it is important that someone with this condition take a thyroid replacement if they haven't done so already. Without this, nutritional interventions are stunted dramatically and the person ends up not actually reaping the full benefits of optimal/adequate nutrition. Thus, it is integral to maintain medical and nutrition therapy as part of treatment.
Moving on to nutrition. The name of the game here is preservation of lean body mass, suppressing inflammation, and reducing the risk of another inflammatory response. Here are a few key points to focus on:
- Protein: Anemia from iron and B12 deficiencies can be common, so adequate protein (such as meat) can help fulfill this. As well, protein helps preserve lean body mass and maintain energy throughout the day.
- Healthy Fats: As I mention before in my article on Heart Health and Nutrition (http://the-sage.org/post/63434127219/re-heart-health-nutrition), Omega 3 fatty acids help reduce inflammation and the response to inflammation. Therefore, this helps take care of the inflammation you may have and the inflammation you could get. Foods containing Omega 3 fatty acids include salmon, halibut, tuna, flax seed, and chia seed.
- Antioxidants: The best (and most delicious) form of antioxidants come in fruits and vegetables! So, keep them colorful, varied, and fresh. Focus on orange, red, and green fruits and vegetables to get the most “bang for your buck.”
- Others: There is some research for promoting GI health through nutrition in order to reduce the implications that decrease gut motility. This means reducing carbohydrate intake to an adequate level (as mentioned in The Slice Plan), incorporating fiber into your diet, drinking plenty of water, and avoiding foods that may irritate your gut (this varies from person to person, but include greasy or spicy foods and even dairy for some folks).
Nutritionally, the main take away is to eat a healthy diet rich in protein, healthy fats, water, and fruits + vegetables. The best bet for the person who has Hashimoto's Disease is to consult with a physician, endocrinologist, and dietitian on a semi-regular basis to monitor medical, thyroid, and nutritional status. Working with this multidisciplinary team will ensure that a person with this condition continues to focus on the important aspects of helping alleviate the symptoms associated with this disease.
I hope this helps. Good Luck and Happy Eating!