Published: October 19, 2010 Last Updated: March 21, 2016
When it comes to addressing hypothyroidism and Hashimoto's, certain nutritional and herbal compounds are invaluable. All the supplements in the world, however, will fall short if you fail to make the necessary dietary changes to support your condition.
If you want to feel better and you have autoimmune Hashimoto's , you'll need to say a permanent goodbye to gluten; you need to commit to a 100% gluten-free diet, which by the way is getting easier to access today.
You'll need to repair a leaky gut and remove the foods to which you are intolerant. For some patients, they are going to find that they will also require a diet free of starchy vegetables, and sweets.
To support all these efforts you might also find you have to balance your blood sugar by including the unfounded fear of consuming more healthy fats.
Research shows that healing of the small intestine, the seat of digestion and absorption, including food intolerances, requires a lengthy abstinence from various foods.
Sounds all TOO HARD, But understanding why you need to correct these imbalances will give you the support and motivation you need to take the appropriate and necessary action.
Gluten-free is a vital first step if you have Hashimoto's.
As gluten enters your bloodstream through your leaky gut, it stimulates your immune antibodies to tag gluten for its removal from the bloodstream; and it will also tag your thyroid because the molecular structure of gluten so closely resembles that of the thyroid gland - the problem can be one of mistaken identity.
In other words, every time you eat gluten, your immune system launches an attack not only against gluten but also against the thyroid gland. This immune response to gluten can last up to six months each time it's ingested!
It's just not worth it!
When gluten-free isn't enough.
Some people with Hashimoto's after having given up gluten foods, feel only marginally better. In these cases, a diet free of grains, starchy vegetables, legumes, and most sweeteners may be necessary. This type of diet, called a monosaccharide (single sugar) diet, is more commonly known today as the "Gut and Psychology Syndrome" (GAPS) diet, or the "Specific Carbohydrate Diet" (SCD). It is based on consuming a diet free of foods that contain disaccharides or polysaccharides, more complex sugars and carbohydrates, such as those found in all grains, most beans, and most sweeteners. These complex sugars feed harmful bacteria in the small intestine that prevent its repair or proper function.
People have become so accustomed to eating certain foods that they don't realize that those foods are harming to them. Instead, they think that a foggy brain, skin rashes or rosacea, chronic respiratory issues, joint pain, water retention, a distended belly, chronic digestive issues, and more are a normal part of life.
Foods that most commonly trigger these reactions are gluten, dairy, eggs, corn, soy, yeast and sometimes nuts are a problem. A person can develop intolerance to any food, especially one that is eaten repeatedly- when a leaky gut is present.
Gut health is dependent on balanced blood sugar - blood sugar intolerances create stress, which in turn causes inflammation in the digestive tract. The nice thing about the monosaccharide diet (GAPS, SCD) is that it's a low-carbohydrate diet, which automatically makes it conducive to both balancing blood sugar and repairing the digestive tract.
Eating a specific amount of carbohydrates will be different for everyone, so monitor whether you feel sleepy or crave sugar after a meal. If so, you just ate too many carbs for your system. Other signs can include insomnia or waking up at 3 - 4 am, an energy crash in the late afternoon, feeling spacey, irritable or light headed if you go too long without eating, constant hunger, constant craving for sweets, and difficulty losing weight. If you have any of these symptoms you may have hypoglycemia, insulin resistance, or a combination of the two. You need to find out.
Hashimoto's and Dietetics
Many people become very disheartened at the idea of giving up gluten because they cannot imagine life without breads and cereals. However, once they take the plunge, they find it's not too difficult, especially when they start feeling better. Limiting (reducing undesirables) type diets, such as the monosaccharide diet can mean even more significant changes, so if compliance is an issue, find methods and tools, whatever it takes to motivate you to stick to your diet and better your health.
You're worth it!