Vegan diet and Hashimoto’s disease

28 September 2021

    Vegan diet and Hashimoto’s disease

    Joanna Marcinkiewicz

    Can a vegan diet help thyroid?

    Vegan diet and Hashimoto’s disease

     

    Hashimoto’s disease is one of the most common autoimmune diseases, where the immune system destroys its own cells leading to destruction of the thyroid gland. This gland is directly responsible for the rate of metabolism and indirectly for the functioning of practically the whole body. 

    Because of the developing inflammation and worse thyroid function, there are 2 ways to fight the disease in the form of treatment with thyroid hormones and changing eating habits by choosing whole foods and avoiding those that, when eaten in excessive amounts, may impede the absorption of thyroid hormones.

     

    Vegan Diet for Hypothyroidism

    1.1    Diet and thyroid – what to eat to keep it in better shape

    The key to proper thyroid function is protein, specifically the amino acid tyrosine, which enables the production of the hormone thyroxine (T4), which is then converted to its active form – triiodothyronine (T3).

    You already know that Hashimoto’s disease is an immune system disease, so strengthening your body with anti-inflammatory products is crucial for your health. Your diet should be rich in fatty fish such as herring, salmon, sprats or sardines, vegetable oils such as canola oil, olive oil or flaxseed oil, which are rich sources of omega 3 acids – important in calming inflammation.

    Carbohydrates quickly increase energy levels, but how much energy you have depends on their sources. Therefore, consume whole grain products rich in fibre, which will help you feel satiated for longer.

    Minerals that should accompany you during the disease are mainly iron, iodine, selenium, vitamin D and zinc. They affect thyroid function, hormone metabolism and indirectly, oxidative stress by calming down the immune system. The question is, can we find all these ingredients in a vegan diet?

     

    1.2 What is a vegan diet?

    Veganism, or very strict vegetarianism is a type of nutrition that involves the exclusion of animal products from the diet. It includes dairy products and eggs or honey. In the food pyramid there are legumes or nuts, sea algae, vegetable oils and a substitute for cow’s milk in the form of soy milk or tofu cheese. Are these foods able to provide all the previously mentioned ingredients important for thyroid function?

    1.3   Vegan diet and Hashimoto’s disease

    To sum it up, many studies have shown that it is possible to balance a vegan diet with Hashimoto’s disease. However, it is very difficult to do this without the help of a nutritionist. This is because it is difficult to correct deficiencies of iodine, selenium, zinc or vitamin B12. A vegan diet should exclude most processed foods and include  vegetable oils as the main source of fat. It can reduce inflammation in the body. Properly balancing a vegan diet could therefore contribute to better well-being due to the high nutritional value of the diet. So what are the benefits and what are the risks of using 

     

    Joanna Marcinkiewicz

    Clinical dietitian. Titles at the Medical University of Warsaw and the Warsaw University of Life Sciences (SGGW) in Warsaw. She is passionate about diet therapy for hormonal disorders such as insulin resistance, ovarian and thyroid policy syndrome. In Hashiona Asia enter marketing content on our social media.