Graves’ Disease Diet Tips You Probably Don’t Know About
Before I discuss some Graves’ disease nutrition tips that can help you get your health back to normal, let me first tell you that not only am I a licensed healthcare professional, but I have been personally diagnosed with Graves’ disease . And diet definitely played a big part in restoring my normal health. I would like to warn you that as a holistic practitioner, I am biased towards natural treatments. While most endocrinologists describe Graves’ disease as “incurable,” based on my own personal experience, I believe that Graves’ disease can be cured, and one’s diet is important in restoring its health.
So, if you are looking for Graves’ disease diet tips to help you get your health back to normal, then you will enjoy reading the information below. As I just mentioned, diet can play a big part in treating Graves’ disease naturally. However, I will tell you that while a healthy diet and taking supplements can be beneficial, there are other factors that also play a role in your recovery that I will briefly mention in this article.
I also want to warn you that different doctors have different opinions about what is considered “healthy” in relation to one’s diet. And let’s be honest…no one eats “perfect” food because I think it’s okay to be “bad” sometimes. For example, I once consulted with a patient who loved milkshakes, which, as you might have guessed, isn’t all that healthy. And while it would be ideal for this person to eliminate milkshakes from their diet entirely, having one every now and then isn’t usually a big deal. And the same goes for other foods.
Of course there are exceptions. For example, someone with celiac disease probably won’t be able to eat a gluten-based food “once in a while” without having a bad reaction. Another example involves someone who can’t “settle” with a milkshake every now and then or an occasional slice of pizza. In other words, some people might be better off staying away from the “bad” foods altogether, or they’ll start consuming too much of them.
Testing for food allergies is a good idea
Anyway, one of the first things I will recommend before anyone changes their eating habits is to get tested for food allergies. Going to a regular allergy doctor may not be the best option as they usually only test for IgE antibodies. You might want to see a holistic doctor and get an ELISA/EIA panel, which also measures IgG antibodies and is usually more accurate (although this depends on the lab running the test).
Another alternative is a GI health panel. The company Diagnos-Techs offers this type of test, which measures gastrointestinal health and includes over a dozen tests that use saliva and stool samples. They also offer a FIP-Food Intolerance Panel that determines if you are allergic to four of the most common foods (gluten, soy, milk, and egg proteins).
A less expensive method is to follow an elimination diet, where you eliminate all common food allergens (wheat, soy, dairy, etc.) and then slowly introduce one potential allergen at a time. There are different ways to do this, but here is an example. You can do a cleanse program (described briefly) and then when the cleanse program is complete introduce wheat for 3 days and see how your body responds. Just make sure you don’t add more than one potential allergen because if you add wheat and dairy, for example, and you had a bad reaction, you wouldn’t know which allergen was responsible.
A cleaning program can be beneficial
As I just mentioned, many people can benefit from a cleansing regimen. There are different types of these programs and when undertaking any it is advisable to be under the guidance of a competent physician. When I put one of my patients on a detox program, I prefer that they avoid gluten, dairy, soy, and other common allergens for at least 21 days. Again, this is because they are common allergens.
On the other hand, I encourage them to eat lots of vegetables, some fruit, and chicken, turkey, and certain types of fish. I recommend them to buy organic food, at least as far as the meat is concerned. While it would be great if they could buy everything organic, I realize some people can’t afford that. So if you have to pick and choose, I would recommend eating organic meat and trying to stay away from non-organic vegetables and fruits that are high in pesticides. These aren’t necessarily the only foods I recommend, as most people can eat a small amount of raw nuts (sunflower seeds, almonds, etc.) as well as a few other foods.
A specific example of a Graves disease diet:
Here is an example of a daily log when I first started my Graves’ disease diet. Keep in mind that this is just an example and not a diet that I’ve followed consistently (although it has trained me to eat better and I eat healthily to this day):
• Protein drink that contained 2 cups of purified water, 1 cup of mixed berries (raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries), a healthy form of protein powder, and 1 teaspoon of flaxseed oil (after a month I added a raw organic egg to this).
• Organic apples and raw sunflower seeds
• Grilled Chicken Salad: Mixed organic vegetables and spinach, grilled organic chicken
• Another protein drink (very filling and actually tastes pretty good)
• Roasted organic turkey
• Some kind of vegetable (e.g. pumpkin)
• 1 cup raw nuts (almonds, brazil nuts, walnuts, cashews)
While this diet is relatively healthy, you’ll find that it’s not perfect. I probably should have included more veggies, but overall it was a healthy diet. Today, I still eat healthy, but I occasionally include some whole grains (e.g. a turkey wrap or a whole wheat sandwich), and I even go out for pizza once in a while, eat some chocolate, etc.
If you currently eat a lot of junk food and/or have strong sweet and carb cravings, I wouldn’t expect you to change overnight. In such circumstances, it is best to take it slow, and when I first consult a patient who has strong sweet and carbohydrate cravings, I set out a protocol for them to help them get rid of those cravings and so make the transition to follow a healthier diet much easier. Personally, I grew up eating fruits like Fruit Loops, Burger King Whoppers, and fries, and drank a lot of Hawaiian Punch. And while I was already eating much healthier when I was diagnosed with Graves’ disease, it took some time before I started eating healthily.
Drink plenty of purified water
You should also drink plenty of purified water during this time and avoid soft drinks and even most juices, which can be high in sugar. Different doctors have different opinions on what kind of water you should drink, but I recommend either water that has gone through a reverse osmosis process or distillation and then been fortified with minerals. Some will disagree and prefer water with no added minerals. In any case, stay away from the tap water and I would also be wary of drinking spring water unless you know the source is of good quality.
What are goitrogens?
There are also certain goitrogens that you should avoid if possible. Goitrogens interfere with thyroid function, which admittedly isn’t as much of a factor in someone with an overactive thyroid like Graves’ disease as it is in someone with an underactive thyroid. Still, you should at least minimize the following foods, and some of them you’ll want to avoid entirely. I personally ate some of the following goitrogens in moderation (e.g. spinach and broccoli) while avoiding others (e.g. soy) completely. Anyhow, here are some of the goitrogens to be aware of:
Where should you shop?
Where to shop Although you can shop at your local health food store, I personally like Trader Joes, a national chain that offers lots of natural and organic foods at affordable prices. Some “regular” grocery stores and even places like Wal-Mart also sell some natural and organic foods. While my wife and I like to shop for most of our items at Trader Joe’s, we buy some of our groceries at a local health food store and a few items at a “normal” grocery store.
Factors other than diet can affect your health
In addition to a healthy diet, there are a few other factors that can affect your health. Because it is difficult to get all the vitamins and minerals you need from your diet, taking quality supplements (e.g., B vitamins, vitamin D, iodine, essential fatty acids, a multi-mineral supplement, etc.) can be beneficial. As I’m sure you know, exercising regularly is also beneficial. Another important factor for people with Graves’ disease is managing the stress in their lives, because while almost everyone has to deal with stress, we all have different coping mechanisms. And the people who don’t deal well with the stress in their lives are more likely to have stressed adrenal glands, which can lead to and worsen an autoimmune condition.
Should you consult with a natural endocrine doctor?
While many endocrinologists describe Graves’ disease as incurable, the truth is that many people like me are turning to natural treatments to restore thyroid function, avoiding antithyroid drugs and radioactive iodine. A competent naturopath who focuses on endocrine disorders can help you with your diet, recommend quality supplements, and put you on a full program that can potentially return your health to normal. While not everyone is a candidate for natural treatment methods, most people can benefit from a natural treatment protocol.
So if you’re looking for an ideal diet for Graves’ disease, hopefully you’ll have a better idea of what foods to eat when diagnosed with this condition. Truth be told, most people should eat a healthy, wholesome diet, whether they have autoimmune thyroid disease or not. This can actually help prevent such conditions from developing, along with incorporating other lifestyle factors, such as: B. regular exercise, good sleep and good stress management. But for someone with Graves’ disease, a healthy diet can definitely help improve their health and is therefore extremely important.
Thanks to Dr. Eric Osansky