Underactive Thyroid? How Nutrients & Foods can help

Do you have any of the following symptoms: Fatigue? Constipation? Dry skin? Intolerance to cold?

If so, your thyroid may be underactive and not be functioning optimally.

The Thyroid Foundation of Canada estimates that 1 in 10 Canadians have a Thyroid condition. That is a large number of Canadians!

The thyroid, also known as the “Master Gland”, is a very important organ in our body that is responsible for metabolism, energy, cell growth and tissue differentiation.

It is important to see your Naturopathic Doctor, and/or Family Physician if you have any concerns about the health of your thyroid. In addition to seeing your health care provider the following are some nutrients and foods to include in your diet:


Iodine – iodine is essential for healthy thyroid function. Iodine can be found in seafood (haddock, mackerel, cod), iodized salt, seaweed (kelp, nori, dulse), egg yolk, and certain vegetables (garlic, spinach, and artichokes).

Tyrosine – is the amino acid needed for thyroid hormone production. Low protein intake, malnutrition, infections and stress can lead to low levels.  Tyrosine can be found in spirulina, chicken, fish, turkey, and eggs.

Selenium – is involved in the synthesis of our thyroid hormones. Selenium is abundant in Brazil Nuts. Just two a day is adequate for optimal intake.

Zinc – some case reports suggest Zinc may increase the number of thyroid hormone levels. Zinc is found in beef, oysters, cashews, dark meat chicken, pumpkin seeds, and many other sources.

Iron – is needed for thyroid hormone production.  Foods rich in Iron include red meat, pork, poultry, seafood, beans, and dark leafy greens among others.

Reduce intake of these foods:

Goitrogen foods – these are foods which, in very high amounts, can suppress thyroid function. They include – raw foods from the Brassica family (kale, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, spinach). To breakdown goitrogenic constituents, steam or cook the vegetables and keep portions on the moderate side. Excess soy in your diet can also inhibit thyroid function.

Lifestyle tips:

Try to reduce or manage stress in your life. Stress can inhibit proper production of thyroid hormones. To read more about stress reduction click here.

Exercise is important for thyroid health because it stimulates thyroid gland secretion and increases tissue sensitivity to thyroid hormones. Not only does exercise make you feel great, it benefits your thyroid gland as well.

You can get most of these nutrients through food. However, you can also speak with a Naturopathic Doctor to develop a supplement plan to ensure the recommended daily or therapeutic values are met. Book in for a free 15 minute consult with me at Naturmend clinic to discuss your plan.


Dr. Kendra Flock, ND

Dr. Kendra Flock is a former professional soccer player and a former member of the Canadian Women’s National Soccer Team. These experiences have led to a passion for working with sports medicine, regenerative medicine, and pain management. She recognizes first hand how pain and limitations can influence one’s quality of life and her goal is to get you back to your best self.



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