Hashimoto’s disease is a common autoimmune condition. Symptoms include fatigue, weight gain, and constipation. Many diets claim to help with Hashimoto’s disease, but most experts agree that eating a healthy diet is the best way to treat this condition.
What is Hashimoto’s disease?
Hashimoto’s disease is an autoimmune disease that can lead to hypothyroidism. The immune system strikes the thyroid gland, which causes damage and slows down how well your body uses energy. Hashimoto’s disease is more common in women than men, and it’s also more likely to occur with other autoimmune disorders such as celiac disease (intolerance of gluten) or type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM).
Hashimoto’s disease affects about one in every 100 people in the United States; however, this number may be higher due to undiagnosed cases.
Is a gluten-free diet a good way to treat Hashimoto’s disease?
Gluten is a protein found in grains such as wheat, rye, barley, and oats that some people have trouble digesting. It’s been linked with many health problems, including digestive disorders like celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS). Some research indicates that Hashimoto’s disease and a gluten-free diet are correlated. But Still, no such evidence exists that a gluten-free diet benefits patients with Hashimoto’s disease. The exclusion of gluten from one’s diet is typically recommended for individuals diagnosed with celiac disease or those with gluten sensitivity, which may occur in conjunction with Hashimoto’s disease. Eliminating gluten from one’s diet does not impact thyroid hormone levels, as the inflammatory response within the body persists.
Can gluten make Hashimoto’s symptoms worse?
Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is a condition where antibodies attack the thyroid. When individuals with this condition consume gluten, their antibodies may react due to the similar protein structure of gluten and the thyroid. High levels of these antibodies correlate with symptoms, so reducing them may help alleviate some of the symptoms associated with Hashimoto’s.
However, research on the effectiveness of a gluten-free diet in treating Hashimoto’s symptoms without celiac disease is inconclusive. Although one study showed that a gluten-free diet reduced antibody levels in women with Hashimoto’s, further research is needed to confirm this.
Nevertheless, there is some evidence that eliminating gluten from one’s diet may help reduce inflammation, which may be a primary contributor to symptoms experienced by individuals with autoimmune conditions. Since celiac disease is more common in people with autoimmune conditions, it is recommended to test for it and consider eliminating gluten if necessary. If anyone has an autoimmune disease, it is advisable to discuss celiac disease with your doctor and consider trying a gluten-free diet to see if it improves your symptoms.
Food To eat on a gluten-free diet
If you have Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and are following a gluten-free diet, here are some gluten-free foods you can consider including in your diet:
1. Fruits and vegetables:
Fruits and vegetables are innately gluten-free and provide a wide range of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants essential for maintaining a healthy thyroid gland.
2. Lean proteins:
Lean proteins like chicken, fish, and turkey are naturally gluten-free and provide important nutrients such as zinc, selenium, and iodine, which are important for thyroid function.
3. Gluten-free whole grains:
Gluten-free whole grains such as quinoa, brown rice, and gluten-free oats are great fiber, vitamins, and minerals sources. These grains are also low in glycemic index, which stables the blood sugar level and controls inflammation.
4. Nuts and seeds:
Almonds, walnuts, and chia seeds are healthy fats, protein, and fiber sources. They also contain important minerals such as selenium, zinc, and magnesium, essential for thyroid function.
Legumes such as lentils, chickpeas, and black beans are a significant source of plant-based protein, fiber, and iron. They also contain important nutrients such as folate, which is important for thyroid health.
Food To Avoid
If you are pursuing a gluten-free diet, there are several foods that you should avoid to prevent consuming gluten. These include:
Wheat is the most common source of gluten and can be seen in different forms, such as wheat flour, wheat bran, and wheat germ.
Barley is another common grain that contains gluten. It is often found in beer, soups, and stews.
Rye is a kind of grain that is commonly used in bread and other baked goods. It is also used to make whiskey and other alcoholic beverages.
Triticale is a mixture of wheat and rye and contains gluten. It is often used in bread, cereals, and other baked goods.
Spelt is an old grain closely related to wheat and contains gluten. It is often used in bread, pasta, and other baked goods.
Semolina is a flour often used in pasta, couscous, and other grain-based dishes. It is produced from durum wheat, which contains gluten.
7. Processed foods:
Many processed foods, such as crackers, cookies, and other snack foods, may contain hidden sources of gluten. Read labels carefully to confirm that they are gluten-free.
8. Soy sauce:
Soy sauce is often made with wheat and contains gluten. However, there are gluten-free soy sauce alternatives available.
9. Some types of oats:
While oats do not contain gluten, they are frequently processed in facilities that also process wheat and other grains that contain gluten. It is important to look for certified gluten-free oats on a gluten-free diet.
It is important to strictly avoid all sources of gluten to prevent symptoms and potential long-term health complications if you have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.
While adhering to a gluten-free diet is not a substitute for medication and cannot cure Hashimoto’s disease, it may alleviate and assist in managing its symptoms. Gluten proteins have been discovered to interact with thyroid antigens, and their inclusion in your diet may exacerbate your Hashimoto’s symptoms or, at the very least, impede their improvement. However, consulting your physician about your diet and any proposed modifications is important. Since each individual is unique, your doctor will be best equipped to advise you on which diet and foods will provide you with the most benefits.