Thyroid Happy Meals

No, this is not a top-secret, zero fat meal, but rather a description of foods that will make your thyroid happy.

This is good news, for those who have looked into a variety of reasons for their weight fluctuations, and still came up empty minded.

Mopani Pharmacy’s Responsible Pharmacist Ewaldt Janse van Rensburg, and Pharmacist Intern Sarené Brits from our Steiltes store, offered their expertise on all things thyroid.

“Your thyroid produces thyroxine. This hormone influences your heart, digestion, metabolism, brain, bones and muscles. It controls your growth, cell repair and the process of turning food into energy”, Ewaldt explains.

“Your metabolism affects your body temperature and at which rate you burn fat and kilojoules that you have consumed. For this reason, people with an underactive thyroid gland (hypothyroidism) often feel cold or fatigued and may gain weight easily”, said Sarené.

When your thyroid is overactive (hyperthyroidism), you will most likely lose a lot of weight – to the point of you starting to look and feel unhealthy, or experience an irregular heartbeat. Other symptoms include anxiety, mood swings, tremors in extremities and thinning hair.

None of it sounds very nice, but with a few adjustments, you could make your thyroid happy once more. Our experts recommend the following:


The very first step, is to remember that you should have all food groups in moderation. There are certain foods that will make it worse, but are still needed for your overall health. Compromise by taking limited amounts of these foods. Carbohydrates and fats would fall under this category.


It is an essential mineral that’s needed to make thyroid hormones. Thus, people with iodine deficiency might be at risk of hypothyroidism. Iodine supplements are unnecessary, as you can get plenty of iodine from your diet. Some studies have also shown that getting too much of this mineral may damage the thyroid gland.

Iodine is abundant in animal protein sources such as eggs, milk, fish and meats.

If you prefer a plant-based diet, you can eat potatoes with their skins or seaweed.


It helps “activate” thyroid hormones so they can be utilised by the body.

Selenium can be found in a variety of nuts, beans, seeds, veggies and animal protein sources.


Like selenium, zinc helps the body “activate” thyroid hormones.


This is where it starts getting tricky. If your thyroid is as lazy as uncle John after a Sunday lunch, you might want to limit the intake of foods that contain goitrogens. If your thyroid is overactive, this might not be such a bad addition to your diet.

Goitrogens theoretically interfere with the production / release of thyroid hormones, especially if you have an iodine deficiency.

Food that contains this specific compound include;

  • Soy-based foods: tofu, tempeh, edamame beans, soy milk etc.
  • Cruciferous vegetables: broccoli, kale, spinach, cabbage etc.
  • Certain fruits: peaches, pears and strawberries
  • Beverages: coffee, green tea and alcohol — these beverages may irritate your thyroid gland.
  • Nuts and seeds: millet, pine nuts, peanuts etc.


If you believe there is something wrong with your thyroid, speak to your doctor. A simple blood test can clarify whether your thyroid gland is overactive or under active. Visit your doctor annually in order to examine your thyroid and review your thyroid hormone levels.

Our experts have noted that eating a correct diet may make a difference. Some medication may be prescribed by your doctor to treat your troubling thyroid gland effectively. Do not self-medicate to treat it – this is crucial. You could really do a lot of harm if you apply the wrong treatment.

To pack your daily thyroid happy meal, you might need to speak to your dietician about what you should avoid or consume. Vegans with thyroid issues especially, appear to have a greater challenge here, as they are not able to substitute nuts and soy with meat.

The other do’s and don’ts

  • Drink a lot of water – more than 70% of our bodies consists of water
  • Exercise on a regular basis – this will improve your metabolism
  • Avoid smoking or drinking alcohol


We deal with health concerns involving thyroid problems quite often…We’ve been around! Don’t hesitate to ask if you have questions!

Click on the following link to continue to the next article: Dehydration – How to avoid, identify and treat it

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Elbi dippenaarEwaldt janse van rensburgSarené britsThyroid