In the chronic Hashimoto thyroiditis, the right diet can relieve your immune system and bring you significant relief, because the origin of autoimmune diseases is mostly found in the intestine and results from a correspondingly inappropriate diet.
More and more people are suffering from autoimmune diseases such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. The body’s own defense system erroneously attacks the healthy thyroid tissue and destroys it slowly but steadily. This ultimately leads to the fact that the thyroid gland is disturbed in its function and permanently inflamed.
This means that this organ can no longer produce enough hormones to regulate the entire metabolism. The immune system is also severely disturbed and out of sync. In addition, this disease of the immune system also brings many unpleasant side effects with it.
As insignificant as the thyroid gland may be, it participates in just about every bodily function. From the digestive system to the already mentioned immune system to memory performance, weight, digestion and heart rate, it is all influenced by the thyroid gland. Due to the misguided defense system, however, which usually results from damage to the intestinal mucosa, the hormone-producing tissue of the thyroid gland is attacked by antibodies. Once damaged, many bodily functions can no longer work as intended by nature.
What does your diet have to do with the course of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis?
With a special diet you can influence the course of the disease positively and often greatly improve, because autoimmune diseases usually have their origin in the intestine, where the immune system sits. If the intestine is permanently irritated and stressed by a sugar-rich and allergene-rich diet, it often causes a permeable intestinal mucosa, the so-called leaky Gut, and nutritional components can get into the bloodstream unhindered.
This causes the immune system to overload and produce antibodies against the invading proteins and pollutants. Since different foods have a similar molecular structure as various organs in the body, the body’s immune system begins to falsely attack their own body and an autoimmune disease arises. Unfortunately, most Hashimoto patients ignore the aspect of nutrition much too often and therefore find no lasting improvement in their condition.
Even in ancient Greece, a clever mind many thousands of years ago stated:
“Your food is your cure.” And “Death is in the gut.”
Quote from Hippocrates, Greek physician, 400 BC. Chr.
Unfortunately, today we often have forgotten to apply this simple and logical wisdom consciously. Many of our contemporaries are often more likely to find their way back to this simple yet meaningful rule only in the case of a serious illness. In most cases, one’s own diet is discussed only when it is about losing weight through dieting and not because you want to do something good for your health.
It is important to understand that many of today’s diseases have their origins in the gut and it is absolutely essential for the healing process to examine and optimize your personal diet. Because when the body is supplied with healthy foods, some diseases can be avoided, others can be positively influenced and others can be kept under control. If you compare that to a car, you will not refuel any contaminated fuel, because you know that the vehicle does not get well with it, right?
In the diet of today’s society, this aspect usually is completely ignored and it is eaten everything that the industry sets in front of them and suggests in broad-based advertising campaigns. Over-sugared, industrially processed and manipulated food dominate our everyday life and provide a constant supply of patients in the medical practices.
But what does your diet have to do with the course of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis? Or what is actually a Hashimoto diet? Is it just about losing weight? Maybe even a quick weight loss without sports and a lot of effort? No! And it’s very simple: If you are changing your nutrition, eliminating harmful substances and various foods, it can only have a positive effect on your illness.
Because the intestine is thereby relieved, the intestinal mucosa can regenerate, intestinal permeability is repaired, the immune system relaxes and the body’s own antibodies, which are produced in an autoimmune disease such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, lower demonstrably and thus lead to significantly fewer symptoms. This applies not only for Hashimoto’s thyroiditis but for almost all modern civilization diseases.
With a bowel-gentle diet, you will certainly get better quickly, because:
- Omitting certain foods brings an almost immediate relief, because you may not tolerate them, but perhaps have not yet concretely recognised it
- Your inflammatory values in the blood minimize and this is relieving the entire system and especially the adrenal glands
- Your immune system will be better supported in its work and partially re-activated.
- The supply of important trace elements will boost your metabolism again and important detoxification processes will be triggered.
- Food cravings will be stopped, which in turn will benefit the intestine and thus again has a positive effect on your health
- Your blood sugar level remains in a healthy level and thus the adrenal glands are significantly relieved
Root cause analysis: Sick due to improper nutrition?
If you are wondering what your nutrition has to do with the disease, you first have to follow up with causal research a bit.
The causes of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis are not yet fully understood. However, it has already been found that this chronic inflammation of the thyroid can be of genetic origin. But not only the genetic predisposition is ultimately the cause of the disease. It always needs triggering causes in addition, such as environmental toxins, heavy metals, parasites, intestinal fungus, leaky Gut (permeable intestine) or harmful foods. Especially the gut health plays a crucial role.
Conversely, this means: If you feed yourself wrong, it leads to a stressed gut. This, in turn, accelerates certain autoimmune reactions that negatively affect the course of autoimmune diseases. In addition, an attacked intestine leads to a strong stress reaction in the body, which affects on the adrenals through detours. Often, this leads to adrenal fatigue, which comes along with many other problems and symptoms.
Your gut health is far more important than you might think
Our digestive system has been very complexly designed by Mother Nature. It should be noted that the human intestine plays a very central role. After the brain, it is the largest control center and not least fundamentally responsible for whether we are well or bad. The connection between the intestine and the brain has also been confirmed long time ago and is being intensively researched.
If the intestinal flora is disturbed, for example, by the regular intake of medication, by frequent stress or by permanently unhealthy diet, there are often massive problems in the gastrointestinal tract and also the entire body. Often, the consequence here is that the mucous membranes of the intestine are damaged and permeable. Thus, the intestinal mucosa no longer provides the functional protection against pollutants or toxins that we consume via the food. As a rule, pathogens have an easy time and get unfiltered into our bloodstream.
It is called a Leaky-gut syndrome (permeable intestine), when proteins and components of food are no longer properly broken up and can easily get through the disturbed intestinal barrier in our body. Basically, you can imagine it like a porous garden hose, where the water comes out everywhere through tiny holes. But the permeability of your gut has far more serious consequences for you and your health. Because toxic metabolic products that enter the bloodstream unfiltered, not only damage your body but also severely affect the brain and its activity.
Gluten, iodine and sugar are bad ingredients in Hashimoto’s thyroiditis
Gluten can be found in many of our industrially manufactured foods. However, as these nutritional parts are only too happy to settle on the small intestine wall and interfere with the natural barrier, gluten should be deleted from your meal plan. Because especially in the small intestine sits most of your immune system, which in Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is often out of balance. So why unnecessarily further irritate it?
Iodine is also one of the bad components of your nutrition when it comes to inflammation of the thyroid gland. While a healthy thyroid automatically produces the required hormones fT3 and fT4 by ingesting iodine through the food, an inflamed thyroid gland can no longer absorb the iodine. Instead, the inflammation from the iodine intake would only worsen and flare up.
In particular, the so-called industrial sugar, in the disease Hashimoto thyroiditis, is a food part from which you should keep your hands off, as far as possible. Because sugar increases the blood sugar enormously, ensures the spread of Candida in the intestine and thus can quickly lead to a permeable intestine. The frequent consumption of sugary foods or soft drinks leads to a short-term increase in blood sugar levels, but drops sharply after a short time.
The result is a hypoglycemia, which you must counteract again. These strong fluctuations, however, are even more stressful for your thyroid and adrenals. The result may be that these organs tire too quickly and certainly can no longer fulfill their actual function. So better avoid this pre-programmed roller coaster ride.
What special diets or forms of nutrition are there?
Basically you should make sure in your change of nutrition that you avoid those foods and food parts that are considered beneficial in nutritional science for inflammation. Unfavorable and inflammatory foods are due to gluten cereal products such as:
But also nightshade plants such as tomatoes often cause problems and inflammation in the intestine. As well as dairy products and foods that contain a lot of sugar. Better use foods and food parts as well as spices, which are said to have a certain anti-inflammatory effect, such as:
- linseed oil, coconut oil, walnut oil, canola oil
- turmeric, ginger, pepper, garlic
- spinach, broccoli
- low-sugar fruit
In addition, you generally should avoid those things that drive up your blood sugar levels. Instead, strengthen your immune system and your gut flora by eating more fermented foods such as sauerkraut and drinking bread drink (Brot Trunk). Important in all your dietary changes is always the adequate supply of fluid such as water, vegetable juice or herbal tea. 2.5 liters of liquid should be your daily goal.
SCD (Specific Carbohydrate Diet)
Since your digestive tract, especially your intestinal flora, is immensely important for strengthening your immune system, the SCD diet is the first way to restore a healthy balance in the intestine. Thus you very effectively support the body’s own regeneration process and actively reduce inflammatory processes in the digestive tract.
The abbreviation SCD stands for a special carbohydrate diet. First and foremost, lactose, sugar, gluten and industrially produced foods are not used here. And for a good reason, because all of these additives and ingredients irritate your intestines and force inflammation. Instead, you should eat lots of vegetables, fruits, honey, meat, fish, eggs, seeds, nuts and homemade yogurt. This will help your bowel to fully regenerate, ultimately benefiting your immune system and ultimately your well-being.
SCD is particularly recommended for: autoimmune diseases such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, leaky gut, celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome, and miscolonisation of the small intestine (SIBO).
You can find interesting information about the SCD at: www.scd-blog.de
GAPS (Good and Psychology / Physiology Syndrome)
Another diet that is directly targeted to the gastrointestinal tract is the GAPS diet. It requires a lot of conversion, because it dispenses with any carbohydrates. It might sound pretty simple at first, but you’ll soon find out when shopping that far too many foods contain carbohydrates.
The GAPS diet focuses on the health of your intestines. Based on the fact that the intestinal tract can affect all bodily functions, this form of nutrition dispenses with the intake of carbohydrates, which only feed fungi and parasites in the intestine. Instead, mainly fermented foods, meat broths, vegetables, eggs, fruits, fish and meat are served here.
At the beginning of the GAPS diet you do without many foods and it’s hard to get started. Over time, however, more and more foods are added and the body’s response carefully observed. But since this diet is based on healthy fats, you never starve and always has enough energy reserves.
Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride researched the relationship between mental and physical health and developed the GAPS diet from her findings. This nutritional form specifically promotes the intestinal rehabilitation and very successfully eliminates inflammation in the intestine.
Detailed information on the GAPS diet can be found at: www.netzwerk-frauengesundheit.com
FODMAP (Fermentable oligo-, di- and monosaccharides and polyols)
The FODMAP diet makes it a bit more experimental. Because with the FODMAP diet, you test piece by piece, which is good for you, what you tolerate only conditionally well and what you should ultimately renounce permanently. This diet requires a lot of self-critical review and close monitoring of body reactions.
This diet is superficially about your digestive system. Due to your illness and the irritated intestine, the FODMAPs trigger certain sensitivities. If it is spoken of FODMAPs, it generally means carbohydrates, fructose, lactose, fructans, galactans, polyols and sugar alcohols. The diet consists of two parts.
In the first, all foods that are rich in FODMAPs are completely banned. This phase lasts between six and eight weeks. In the second phase, the previously deposited food will gradually be put back on your menu. The goal is to determine your own individual tolerance limit. So you can set up a diet plan that is very specific to you.
Some interesting information about the FODMAP diet can be found at: www.got-big.de
Paleo – The Stone Age diet
The most widespread and perhaps best known diet is the Paleo diet, which many people like to use to lose weight in a healthy way. In your case, however, this diet can make a lot of sense, as it helps you to disciplined eliminate everything on your meal plan, that has been industrially manufactured. Instead, this diet relies on a healthy lifestyle that has always been good for humans.
Basically, the Paleo diet is about feeding yourself as nature intended for humans. This means that food intake should take place again in its very own form. So you should eat a lot of vegetables, fruits, animal products and do without cereal products and legumes completely. Important is always the quality, never the quantity.
Many recipes and more detailed information on the Paleo diet can be found at: www.paleo360.de
The Candida diet
Finally, there is the so-called Candida diet. Here is specifically targeted against the fungal infestation in the intestine, which can succeed in most cases by the supply or omission of certain foods.
Since Hashimoto’s thyroiditis repeatedly leads to numerous concomitant diseases as well as the infestation with Candida albicans in the intestine, the Candida diet is one of the selected diets. Here, a sugar-free diet is mainly aimed at starving the fungus in the intestine and eliminating it with antifungal foods such as garlic, onions, chili, coconut oil and oregano. This diet should fundamentally be the basis of a Hashimoto treatment and is also very effective on parasites, bacteria and pathogens in the gut.
More detailed information on Candida albicans can be found at: Candida – A bowel fungus that can lead to autoimmune diseases
Tips for a successful diet
If you want to successfully change your nutrition, so it is advisable to set up a nutrition plan. This should be individually tailored to you and optimally based on one or more of the aforementioned diets.
Important points of your personal diet plan should be:
- Analyze your own situation and recognize the triggers of your illness. This is different for everyone and can not be generalized. For me personally, because of my heavy metal pollution, thiol-containing foods cause the most severe problems. These include coffee, chocolate, garlic, onions, broccoli and much more with high sulfur content. Without Dr. Cutler it would never have occured to me.
- Avoid foods that you are intolerant to or suspect of food intolerance
- Use smoothies and juices to completely detoxify your body and especially your digestive system for around 3 to 7 days eliminating
- Begin the change by avoiding all foods for at least 21 days, that are inappropriate according to the autoimmune protocol, short AIP
- After that you can enrich your nutritional plan with those foods that are anti-inflammatory and detoxifying
If you notice any signs of nutritional deficiency during the change, you can use appropriate supplements to compensate.
How long will it take to make you get better with a change in your diet?
First of all, you certainly can not give a blanket answer to this question. As usual, everything takes time, especially if you consider that your body needs to be literally detoxified. This basic detoxification before the actual dietary change takes around 3 to 7 days. During this time, you will certainly notice one or another change.
Rather, the diet change itself roughly needs at least a month until it begins to show lasting effects. Surely it will be immediately noticeable when your digestive tract calms down again. ‘Immediately in this case means a few days. As far as comorbidities are concerned, it certainly determines how much you are affected and how many there are with you. But also here you can not generalize how long it takes to get better.
However, what you will notice soon after changing your diet is an improvement in your vitality, your life energy, and your ability to perform and concentrate. In addition, the digestion will improve significantly and stabilize.
To stick with my personal example with the intolerance of thiol-containing foods: If I strictly avoid these foods, I am usually feeling much better on the third day. If I have sinned in advance, it can take up to a maximum of one week, until I have completely recovered from it.
The goal, however, is to understand that the state of health has improved and that nutrition is one of the most important pillars of a healthy body and that a healthy diet is maintained permanently.
Those who suffer from Hashimoto’s thyroiditis have a good chance to live with the disease in such a way that the symptoms disappear, do not worsen or no additional concomitant diseases are added through a targeted change of nutrition.
However, it is always important to abstain from iodine, sugar and gluten as far as possible. Because a low-allergen and sugar-free diet dampens the autoimmune process. This means that fewer antigens can enter the intestine and cause damage to the intestinal wall. With such a balanced diet, sugar, iodine and gluten no longer can cause a Leaky-Gut syndrome.
Always keep an eye on gut health and digestion. Because as a second control center after the brain, basically our gut decides how our body functions act. Stress and an irritable colon are the worst conditions to get the inflammation of the thyroid gland under control.
Even if there are many ways to eat healthy and you may feel overwhelmed at the beginning: Do not lose heart. Explore yourself and your body once more, avoid harmful ingredients and help your body defend against autoimmunity.
As well as the human body in its structure and its coordinated processes may be tuned: Sometimes you have to give assistance in a natural and most gentle manner to bring everything back in balance.
It is all in your hands, because changing the nutrition may seem a bit expensive at first. But the achievements you can make will prove you right. After a while, when you’re shopping for your groceries, you’ll find it more and more easy to distinguish the healthy food from those which are not good with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
My tip: make a grocery list at home. This can be based on prescription recommendations or also on special suggestions for the respective nutritional forms. Otherwise, you quickly run the risk of falling back into old habits and arbitrarily grabbing into the shopping shelves.
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