Wednesday, December 06, 2023

Nourishing Your Body: 7 Tips for Healthy Eating with Hashimoto's

Living with an autoimmune disease like Hashimoto's can be a daily struggle, with symptoms ranging from fatigue and brain fog to sleeplessness and joint pain. While there is no one-size-fits-all solution for managing this condition, one aspect that can greatly impact your overall health and well-being is your diet. What you eat can either fuel or exacerbate your symptoms, making it crucial to nourish your body with the right foods. 

plate with salad with mango, avocado, and strawberries

Understanding Hashimoto's: An Overview of the Autoimmune Disease
Hashimoto's is an autoimmune disease that primarily affects the thyroid gland, which is responsible for producing hormones that regulate various bodily functions. This condition occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks the thyroid tissue, causing inflammation and damage. Over time, this can lead to a decrease in thyroid hormone production. The exact cause of Hashimoto's is not fully understood, but it is believed to be a combination of genetic factors and environmental triggers. Women are more commonly affected by Hashimoto's, and the condition often develops gradually over many years. In more recent years, the spotlight has pointed to gut health as the most likely trigger for Hashimoto's Disease and other autoimmune diseases. 

The Link Between Diet and Hashimoto’s
When it comes to managing Hashimoto's, the link between diet and this autoimmune disease is undeniable. What you eat can have a significant impact on your symptoms and overall well-being. While diet alone cannot cure Hashimoto's, it can play a crucial role in supporting your body's healing process and minimizing flare-ups. One important factor to consider is inflammation. Hashimoto's is characterized by chronic inflammation in the body, and certain foods can either exacerbate or reduce this inflammation. Research suggests that an anti-inflammatory diet that is nutrient dense and rich in whole, unprocessed foods, can help alleviate symptoms and improve thyroid function. By nourishing your body with the right foods and avoiding potential triggers, the hope is that you can take control of your health and improve your quality of life with Hashimoto's.

wooden plate with salmon, asparagus, greens, and mango salsa

Our 7 Tips for Healthy Eating with Hashimoto's 
The Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) diet is an anti-inflammatory diet that focuses on whole, nutrient dense foods that help to heal your gut and immune system, which in turn, decreases Hashimoto's flares. Our tips are based on following AIP, but can be applied to other anti-inflammatory diets as well!

1) Make Your Plan
With the anti-inflammation diets, you have to be all in to see healing. If you choose to ease your way in, it can take much longer to see results and discourage you before you have even eliminated everything that can be causing inflammation. However, with AIP and other anti-inflammatory diets you just can't decide one day that you are going to do it and start the next. The major reason for this is that the AIP diet itself eliminates a large portion of the American diet. So much of what you would typically eat and buy from the grocery store is off limits for AIP. It takes some planning and strategy to make the changes. 
Coconut cream parfait with coconut and raspberries in stemmed glass

2) Familiarize Yourself with Foods to Eliminate that Cause Inflammation to Manage Hashimoto's
When managing Hashimoto's, there are certain foods that should be avoided to help minimize symptoms and maintain optimal thyroid function. These foods can worsen inflammation, disrupt hormonal balance, and potentially trigger autoimmune responses. 
  1. Gluten & Grains (including corn): The protein found in wheat, barley, rye, and other grains can trigger autoimmune responses and increase inflammation. Many people with Hashimoto's find relief by adopting a gluten-free diet.
  2. Dairy & Eggs: Some individuals with Hashimoto's have reported sensitivity to dairy products and eggs, which can worsen inflammation and contribute to digestive issues. 
  3. Legumes (including all soy)
  4. Seeds and nuts (including oils and flours)
  5. Nightshades (including red spices): Nightshades are tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and potatoes.
  6. Caffeine and Alcohol-Caffeine and alcohol exacerbate symptoms such as anxiety, irritability, and sleep disturbances. 
  7. Sugars, Food Additives, and Processed Foods: These foods are often high in unhealthy fats, refined sugars, and preservatives. They can contribute to weight gain, inflammation, and hormone imbalances. 
3) Learn what Foods are Good for your Overall Health and Hashimoto's
Ensuring that your diet is rich in essential nutrients is crucial for managing Hashimoto's and supporting your body's healing process. Here are some key nutrients that are commonly recommended to include in your Hashimoto's diet:
  1. Organic poultry, grass-fed, grass-finished beef, humanly raised pork, and wild caught seafood
  2. Organic Fruits, herbs, and Vegetables
  3. Oils and fats-avocado and coconut oils, beef tallow, chicken and bacon fat
  4. Flours derived from anti-inflammatory sources; such as, arrowroot, tiger nut, coconut, tapioca starch, and cassava flour.
  5. Natural, unprocessed sugars: maple syrup, honey, coconut to maple sugar, alcohol-free stevia

4) Source your Food
Take some time to find out what is available locally and what you will need to source online. All of my flours and most of my meat have to be sourced online because it isn't available at the stores in my area.

5) Initially Keep Changes Simple
Making dietary changes can be overwhelming. Since it is important to go all in with AIP in order to heal your body, beginning with simple whole foods is key.  Plan your meals and snacks ahead of time to ensure you have nourishing options readily available. This can help prevent impulsive food choices and ensure you're getting a well-balanced diet. Sheet pan meals using poultry, seafood, meat or pork and a variety of vegetables, simply seasoned with sea salt, garlic powder, onion powder, and parsley or meatballs with only ground meat or poultry and a few seasonings are good for dinners. Salads with canned tuna or salmon and lots of fruits and vegetables make a wonderful option for lunch. Smoothies with protein powder and collagen or squash porridges make excellent breakfasts. 

kale salad, peaches, and meatball salad

6) Experiment with Recipes
Instead of using recipes that merely incorporate whole, unprocessed food and essential nutrients, look for recipes that are specifically AIP or anti-inflammatory friendly. There are a few thousand AIP recipes floating around out there, not all of them taste wonderful. Finding delicious recipes can take some time. We recommend checking out a few of the websites that have AIP recipes, find a couple from each site that look promising and try them. If they are successes for you, continue looking to that site for good trustworthy recipes. If those flop, try other websites. We have a handful of recipes on our autoimmune page that you can test out. We have also had some success with the recipes from Heal me Delicious and Food Courage

7) Seek Support 
Reach out to friends, family, or online communities that have experience with Hashimoto's or other autoimmune disorders is key. Connecting with others who have experience managing autoimmune disorders can provide valuable insight and motivation on your journey. There are some excellent sources of information out there to help. And you can join our newsletter!

Remember, implementing dietary changes takes time and patience. Be kind to yourself and celebrate each small victory along the way. With dedication and perseverance, you can nourish your body and improve your quality of life with Hashimoto's. Remember, everyone's body is different, and what works for one person may not work for another. 

Do you have Hashimoto's and have some tips for us?

Disclaimer: The purpose of this post is not to offer medical advice. I am not in the medical field. My purpose is to share what decisions I’ve made in an attempt to improve my health and try to put my autoimmune disease into remission. Remember everyone’s body reacts differently to foods and supplements and you have to make the decisions that are best for you. Consult a trusted practitioner for medical advice. Our resource page details the books, articles, journals, and websites we've researched to put together our autoimmune articles. You can access our Autoimmune Research Resources by clicking.   

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