No matter what your medical condition may be, there are always foods that can make it better and foods that can make it worse. Diet plays an important role in optimal thyroid health. Here are a few of the foods that you should try to avoid if you want to protect your thyroid function:

•Aspartame—You can find this in the store under the brand name “Nutrasweet.” There is a concern that it may trigger Graves’ disease and other autoimmune disorders in certain people. This chemical can cause thyroid inflammation and thyroid autoantibody production by triggering an immune reaction.

•Soy—It is high in isoflavones which are goitrogens. These foods interfere with thyroid function. This includes soy products such as: soybean oil, soy milk, soy burgers, tofu, and other processed soy foods and may lead to thyroid function decrease in those suffering from thyroid disorders. If the soy product is fermented, such as miso, natto, tempeh, and traditionally brewed soy sauce, then they are safe to eat. The fermentation process helps to reduce goitrogenic activity.

•Gluten—Many hypothyroid sufferers choose to go on a gluten-free diet. Gluten is a potential goitrogen. It can also trigger autoimmune responses, such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, in people who are sensitive. Gluten can be found in wheat, rye, barley, and most processed foods. Many food companies are making “gluten-free” versions of their favorite varieties of foods.

• Other goitrogens—Vegetables such as cruciferous vegetables which include: broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and Brussel sprouts can have a negative effect on your thyroid function. These vegetables do have a great deal of health benefits, and often people find that risk outweighs the bad. I recommend moderate intake of only 2-3 serve per week. If you feel you should or if you want to eat these vegetables, eating them raw isn’t a good choice. Steaming them will help negate the goitrogenic effect and can help make them a healthy addition to your regular diet.

It’s always good to have your thyroid checked even if you don’t suspect a problem. It can be a part of your regular checkup. Your diet can help you maintain healthy thyroid function. It can also hinder your thyroid function. That’s why you should avoid the above foods if you even suspect a thyroid problem.

Hypothyroidism is something that can be managed like any other medical disorder. With regular checkups, blood tests, and medication, you can manage your thyroid disorder effectively. These things are important, but when combined with the proper diet, they can do more to see to it that you reach optimal thyroid health.