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Foods That Can Worsen Hashimotos Thyroiditis

Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis is an autoimmune condition that affects the thyroid gland and can lead to hypothyroidism. Diet plays a crucial role in managing Hashimoto’s, as certain foods can worsen symptoms and interfere with thyroid function. In today’s article, we will explore the top foods to avoid if you have Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis to optimize your health and well-being. This is one of those articles, where I can already see I am going to lose some friends.

Foods That Can Worsen Hashimotos Thyroiditis

Foods To Avoid If You Have Hashimotos


Iodine’s role in Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis is a complex and debated topic in the medical community. But if you are someone who has Hashimoto’s then it’s better to err on side of caution when it comes to Iodine.

There are several mechanisms through which iodine can potentially exacerbate or trigger Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis in susceptible individuals.

Iodine can stimulate the production of thyroid peroxidase antibodies, which are will be elevated in autoimmune thyroid disorders like Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis (*)(*). These antibodies target thyroid peroxidase, an enzyme involved in thyroid hormone synthesis, leading to thyroid tissue damage and dysfunction.

High levels of iodine can induce thyroid inflammation and oxidative stress, aggravating existing thyroid inflammation in individuals with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. (*) This inflammatory response can exacerbate the destruction of thyroid cells and interfere with thyroid hormone production, leading to hypothyroidism.(*)

Iodine intake has also been associated with alterations in T helper cell profiles, particularly an increase in pro-inflammatory T helper 1 cells. This imbalance in T cell subsets can contribute to heightened inflammatory responses in the thyroid gland, promoting autoimmune reactions and exacerbating Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis symptoms. (*)

2.Gluten-Containing Foods

Gluten is another food that can worsen Hashimoto’s. Gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye, has been linked to autoimmune conditions like Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. Research suggests that gluten can trigger inflammation and disrupt the gut lining, leading to immune system imbalances in susceptible individuals and also cause leaky gut. (*) It is recommended for individuals with Hashimoto’s to consider a gluten-free diet to alleviate symptoms and support thyroid health.

3.Processed Sugars and Sugary Foods

Excessive consumption of processed sugars and sugary foods can contribute to inflammation and blood sugar imbalances in individuals with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. High glycemic index foods like candy, pastries, and sugary beverages can spike blood sugar levels and exacerbate fatigue, weight gain, and hormonal disruptions associated with hypothyroidism. (*) It’s best to opt for natural sweeteners like honey or maple syrup in moderation instead.

Foods That Can Worsen Hashimotos Thyroiditis

4.Dairy Products

Dairy products, particularly cow’s milk, contain proteins like casein that can trigger immune reactions and inflammation in individuals with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. Lactose intolerance and dairy allergies are common among individuals with autoimmune conditions, making dairy a potential trigger for worsening symptoms of Hashimoto’s. A sensitivity to Dairy can cause symptoms like bloating, gas, digestive issues, and skin problems.(*)

5.Processed and Fast Foods

It shouldn’t come as an surprise that processed and fast foods can worsen Hashimoto’s. Processed and fast foods are often high in inflammatory trans fats, refined sugars, and artificial additives that can worsen inflammation and oxidative stress in individuals with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. Trans fats, preservatives, low fiber content, and excess sugar found in processed and fast foods can disrupt hormone balance, gut health, and immune function, exacerbating underlying thyroid issues. Opt for anti-inflammatory diet. An anti-inflammatory diet focuses on consuming foods that help reduce inflammation in the body, which is associated with various chronic diseases and conditions.

Foods That Can Worsen Hashimotos Thyroiditis

6.Soy-Based Products

Soy products can worsen Hashimoto’s for several reasons. Soy is a shinning star when it comes to being genetically modified. If you and you family are avoiding GMOs like my family then Soy is one of those foods you want to avoid. If that’s not enough, The USDA GIPSA laboratory tested 300 soybean samples, and found 13 different pesticide residues (representing 12 pesticides) on the samples. Slightly over 90 percent of soybeans tested had the herbicide glyphosate (Roundup).(*)

Soy contains phytic acid and trypsin and Lectin inhibitors. Phytic acid found in soy can bind strongly to iron, zinc, calcium, magnesium, and potassium to a lesser degree forming insoluble complexes. These insoluble complexes can’t be absorbed by the intestine, making them less bioavailable. Phytates also reduces the bioavailability of vitamins A, B12, D, and E.

The phytoestrogens in soy has been shown to lower fertility in men; a small study shows that men who eat as little as a half serving of soy have an average of 34 million fewer sperm per milliliter than men who do not eat soy.

Phytoestrogens can interfere with hormone balance and thyroid function in individuals with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. (*) Soy isoflavones can disrupt thyroid hormone synthesis and absorption, potentially exacerbating hypothyroid symptoms and autoimmune responses. Limiting or avoiding soy-based products like tofu, soy milk, and edamame may help alleviate thyroid-and autoimmune Hashimoto’s related symptoms.

Foods That Can Worsen Hashimotos Thyroiditis

7.Caffeine and Coffee Consumption

While many articles you may come across on the internet are coffee advocates, there are a few reasons I believe coffee and caffeine can worsen Hashimoto’s symptoms. I’m going to be the party pooper here. Many patients who have Hashimoto’s, have adrenal problems, gut problems, blood sugar problems and suffer with mold or mycotoxin issues. What does this have to do with coffee?

Caffeine found in coffee and energy drinks, can impact adrenal function and exacerbate stress responses in individuals with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.

Caffeine consumption can disrupt sleep patterns, increase cortisol levels, and contribute to fatigue and anxiety, further complicating thyroid health.

The oil compounds found in coffee are known irritants to the gutThis can lead to digestive symptoms such as cramping, gas, or bloating and even set the stage for SIBO. Chronic bloating keeps the ileocecal valve open. If the ileocecal valve remains open due to chronic bloating, bacteria in the large intestines can migrate up and into the small intestines leading to bacterial overgrowth in small intestines.

The caffeine in Coffee is also known to affect blood sugar levels due to its stimulatory effects on stress hormones produced by the adrenal glands.

Once the adrenal glands are stimulated, thanks to the caffeine, they will release stored glucose into the bloodstream causing that spike in blood sugar followed by a spike in insulin. This can cause a blood sugar roller coaster often seen in patients with Hashimoto’s.

If that’s not enough for you to reconsider your coffee addiction. Consider the fact that 45% of commercially available coffee beans contained Ochratoxin A.(*) and up to 55% of green coffee beans showed the presence of Aflatoxins.(*)

Ochratoxin A (OTA) is a foodborne mycotoxin found in a wide variety of agricultural commodities worldwide, ranging from cereal grains to dried fruits to wine and coffee. It is produced by several different fungi including Aspergillus ochraceus, A. carbonarius, A. niger and Penicillium verrucosum.

Coffee roasting does help reduce some of these mold toxins but even then, nearly a third (27%) of roasted coffees contained Ochratoxin A.(*)

Ochratoxin A and Aflatoxins, have similar symptoms to other mold toxins: fatigue, chronic pain, brain fog, various GI symptoms, immune imbalances like autoimmune or immune suppression, insomnia and many other issues. Mycotoxins that are released from molds are toxic to the entire body including the Thyroid. Mold affects your thyroid by encouraging thyroiditis which is inflammation within the thyroid gland. This inflammation is typically caused by cytokines-which are immune chemical messengers that drive and push all this inflammation. Several studies have shown that Aspergillus mold triggers thyroiditis. So, we know that mold can trigger inflammation.

Foods That Can Worsen Hashimotos Thyroiditis

8.Alcohol and Excessive Drinking

Well…. Not a food but its on the list of “foods” that can worse Hashimotos. Let’s just come right out with it, no beating around the bush. Alcohol has zero health benefits for people with Hashimoto’s.

Alcohol consumption can strain liver function, disrupt nutrient absorption, exacerbate inflammation in individuals with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and even cause SIBO.(*),(*)

At the 76th Annual Scientific meeting in Washington, DC, The American College of Gastroenterology’s (ACG) published a study that Just one drink per day for women, two for men — could lead to small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) and subsequently cause gastrointestinal symptoms like bloating, gas, abdominal pain, constipation and diarrhea

Excessive drinking can impair thyroid hormone metabolism and detoxification processes, leading to hormonal imbalances and thyroid dysfunction. Eliminating alcohol consumption and staying hydrated with water can support thyroid health and overall well-being.

9.Artificial Sweeteners and Additives

Artificial sweeteners and additives commonly found in diet sodas, sugar-free products, and processed foods can disrupt gut health and trigger inflammatory responses in individuals with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.(*)  Chemical compounds like aspartame and saccharin can interfere with hormone balance, immune function, Brain fog and gut microbiome integrity, potentially worsening autoimmune symptoms. (*) Choose natural sweeteners and whole foods to support thyroid health and reduce inflammation.

Foods That Can Worsen Hashimotos Thyroiditis


Lectins are another food source that are now being studied as triggers and a food that can worsen Hashimoto’s. Lectins are the sticky glycoprotein found in seeds, nuts, and nightshades.

Lectins have been shown to cross-react with TPO (Thyroid peroxidase) in thyroid tissue. (*)

Thyroid peroxidase (TPO) is an enzyme primarily found in the thyroid gland, where it plays a crucial role in the production of thyroid hormones. TPO is essential for the synthesis of thyroid hormones thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3) by catalyzing the iodination of tyrosine residues on thyroglobulin, a protein precursor of thyroid hormones.

Since TPO and lectins share identical or very similar protein sequences, the immune system of someone with a reaction to lectins will also attack thyroid tissue. (*)

Things to Remember About Todays Article

In navigating the complexities of Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, dietary choices play a vital role in managing symptoms and optimizing thyroid function. By avoiding foods that can worsen Hashimoto’s, individuals can support their immune system, reduce inflammation, and promote overall well-being. Consult with a Functional Medicine Practitioner.  With mindful food choices and a focus on nutrient-dense, whole foods, and anti-inflammatory diet, individuals with Hashimoto’s can take proactive steps towards achieving optimal thyroid health and a balanced lifestyle.


Given the common occurrence of multiple autoimmune diseases in individuals with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, comprehensive evaluation, monitoring, and management are essential to address the complexities of autoimmune conditions. Schedule a Free 15 minute Disovery Call here

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