A decrease in thyroid function means a slowed metabolism. Less energy gets used up by the body and more of it becomes stored as fat. This is why an under-active thyroid often leads to weight gain, according to the Thyroid Foundation of Canada. However, with the right kinds of foods being incorporated into the diet, as well as some supplements and the avoidance of other counter-productive foods, weight loss is still quite possible for those with thyroid disease.
Following a healthy, well-balanced diet is a great starting point for thyroid patients who choose to lose weight. However, according to the Anne Collins Weight Management Program, there are certain foods that improve thyroid function and restore metabolism. Among these foods are carrots, spinach, olive oil, avocados, asparagus, whole-grain cereals, bananas and oily fish. When planning meals, be sure to regularly include these foods. Avoiding foods that interfere with iodine uptake--such as cabbage, broccoli, sweet potatoes, lima beans and soy products--will also help thyroid patients lose weight.
Selenium and Zinc
Certain nutritional supplements have shown positive results on people with thyroid disorders, according to Anne Collins. Deficiencies in selenium, which is found in foods such as tomatoes, Brazil nuts, tuna and onions, can promote hypothyroidism. Taking selenium supplements or eating selenium-rich foods can help keep the body burning calories and prevent weight gain. Zinc supplements are also recommended, as research has shown that this nutrient improves thyroid function, according to Anne Collins.
In addition to the high-calorie content of sodas, these drinks should be avoided because of high levels of caffeine. Caffeine and other stimulants are not recommended for thyroid patients because stimulants may affect thyroid function. Nicotine, which is found in cigarettes, is also on the list of things to avoid for the same reason. According to Thyroid-info.com, stimulants may actually worsen symptoms of thyroid disease and can make patients with normal or under-active thyroids appear to have hyperthyroidism, which could lead to improper treatment.
Exercise and Stress Reduction
A daily half hour to 45-minute workout will help burn calories and speed up metabolism in people with no health problems, and it works the same for those with thyroid disease. For those currently taking part in an exercise regimen, increase your workout by 10 minutes. Regular exercise also dramatically reduces stress. Stress is thought to be a contributing factor for people who develop hypothyroidism, according to Anne Collins.