You are tired. You are losing hair and gaining weight. You may feel sleepy, depressed. In short, there is hardly any energy left to concentrate on anything. Does it sound relatable? If yes, then you need to fix your diet and lifestyle to win over hypothyroidism as well as weight loss. There is no particular food that can make the difference that you are probably looking for. However, re-planning the entire diet can definitely make a huge change. This blog is going to be all about planning your regular Indian diet suitable for hypothyroidism and weight loss.
Indian diet for hypothyroidism and weight loss – A step by step guide for you
Whatever you eat in a day is generally falls into any of these 10 categories. They are –
- Cereals or grains
- Legumes and pulses
- Milk and mik products
- Egg/ fish/ chicken/ meat
- Nuts and seeds
- Suga ,jaggery
We will guide you to pick the best foods from each category and to avoid the worst ones. Complete clarity on dos and will not definitely help you to manage and reshape yourself. So let’s try to follow a sustainable diet that is doable and suitable for your condition.
Quality, quantity, and frequency are the 3 magic words for a sustainable diet. Always remember –
- Choose quality food over quantity
- Eat as per your hunger level
- Fix the frequency of food as per your convenience
Indian diet for hypothyroidism & weight loss – Chose the right grain –
If you take a close look at our Indian diet, you will see the predominance of grains. We eat more rice, roti, bread, poha, upma, idli, dosa, etc compared to any other category of food.
This is the reason the buzzword “you need protein” is so popular these days. Our diet is traditionally cereal-based for the hot, humid climate.
Experts suggest 50-60% of your daily calorie should come from carbohydrate-rich foods. Cereals or grains and their products are mainly rich in carbohydrates. Therefore your diet should contain a substantial amount of grain every single day.
I have gained too much weight, shouldn’t I avoid carbs?
Most of the time we think that the fastest way to weight loss is through deleting the grains or carbs in the diet. Often we forget the importance of a sustainable diet. Following a diet without carbohydrates is extremely challenging. Rather, reducing carbohydrate intake is much more doable and more effective for the long term.
How to pick the right grain in hypothyroidism for weight loss?
Choose the grain which is healthy and also gives you comfort after eating. Don’t run only after fiber. Dietary fiber does not get digested in our bodies. If you regularly suffer from acidity, flatulence, constipation, increasing the fiber load in the diet may backfire. You may end up experiencing more gas, stomach ache, etc.
Try to pick grains that contain a moderate amount of fiber. Semi polished rice, rolled oats, whole wheat flour, buckwheat, poha, corn, etc are safe for regular consumption.
Should I avoid gluten?
Don’t just avoid gluten because everyone is telling you to do so. If you are gluten sensitive then you must avoid gluten, otherwise not. Remember wheat, barley, rye are the three kinds of cereal that contain gluten.
If you have experienced stomach aches, constipation, headache, indigestion, diarrhea, skin rashes, acne, etc after consuming gluten, you must be careful. Stop consuming any product which contains wheat flour, rye, or barley that includes biscuits, cookies, cake, roti, dalia, suji, health drink, noodles, pasta, etc.
People often confuse between hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid gland) and Hashimoto thyroiditis disease (Inflammation of thyroid gland- an autoimmune disorder). If you have been diagnosed with Hashimoto disease, avoiding gluten makes sense.
Can I consume millet in hypothyroidism for weight loss?
If you are planning to switch to millet from rice, then the answer would be “no”. The study suggests that millet suppresses thyroid function. So consuming millets – jowar, bajra, ragi, etc – on a regular basis may not be safe.(1)
Table 1: Choose your grain wisely in hypothyroidism for weight loss
|Safe for regular intake||May eat sometime||Avoid as much as possible|
|Parboiled rice, semi-polished rice, poha, murmura, khoi/ kheel, rolled oats, corn, sabudana, makhana, quinoa, buckwheat (kuttu)||Millets – jowar, bajra, ragi, etc,||Refined flour(maida), Instant noodles, instant oats, instant breakfast cereal, biscuits, cookies, commercially baked products – cake, pastry, donut, puff, etc|
|If not gluten-sensitive – Whole wheat flour(atta), dalia, suji , pasta, noodles, barley,|
|If having strong digestion capacity – Brown rice, red rice|
How much grain to consume daily?
Consume grain based on your hunger level. Try not to get distracted while eating by television, phone, etc. Focus on eating and try to assess your hunger. Think thrice before taking the second serving.
Make sure you eat enough pulse/ vegetables etc along with the grain. If you are eating rice, only 1/4th of your plate should have rice, the rest should be filled with dal/ sabzi, etc.
Indian diet for hypothyroidism & weight loss – Pick your pulse/ legumes/ dal regularly
If you are a vegetarian, then pulse/ legumes are one of the major protein sources for your body. So you definitely can’t miss this.
All the pulses become safe for you once you consume them once or twice a week. We have hundreds of variety pulse/ dal in our country. Make sure you bring a variety of dal in your daily diet. You can pick masoor dal (gota/ split), moong dal (yellow/ green/ whole moong/ green split), tur dal, kulthi, rajma, chole, chana dal, lobia, green peas, etc as per your choice.
When you eat dal with rice/ roti, it helps to complement the amino acid profile to each other and become as good as first-class protein. Therefore never underestimate the power of dal- chawal/roti.
Tips to consume pulse in hypothyroidism –
- Consume 3-4 types of dal every week.
- Soak dal for 3-4 hrs before cooking.
- If you often face gas problem, instead of using pressure cooker, cook dal in a open pot and remove the white scum coming at the top while boiling.
- Have a handful of sprouts every morning.
- Consider taking sattu porridge/ sattu water/ sattu milk as snack
- If you are a vegetarian, take 2 bowls of dal everyday
- Avoid consuming soybean, lima beans or soy proteins
Indian diet for hypothyroidism & weight loss – Vegetables, fruits are a vital part of your diet
Vegetables and fruits are your best friend. It adds vitamins, minerals, and soluble and insoluble fiber to your diet.
Most Indian fruits and vegetables are absolutely safe from hypothyroidism.
Don’t miss taking 2 types of fruits a day. Try to consume some form of vegetables at least with the 3 major meals of the day – breakfast, lunch, and dinner -for eg- add plenty of chopped vegetables in your breakfast poha/ upma/samber, have 2 bowls of sabzi with lunch, and dinner.
There are 3categories of vegetables in our daily diet –
- Green leafy vegetables – Include all types of saag, cabbage etc
- Roots and tubers – potato, sweet potato, tapioca, yam, carrot, beetroot, radish etc
- Other vegetables – variety of gourds, parwal, drumstick, ladies finger, papaya, tomato etc
You got to add all these 3 types of vegetables in daily diet. More variety means more nutrition without causing any side effects.
Is cauliflower, cabbage, radish bad for the thyroid?
Any food in excess is bad. It is the same with goitrogens foods. You may feel scared to eat cauliflower, cabbage, radish, broccoli, etc in hypothyroidism for the presence of goitrigenous substances. Remember, few grains, pulses also contain these substances. It is evident that goitrogens are very sensitive to heat. So cook these vegetables well and try to discard the water after boiling. These are completely safe for regular consumption. (1, 2)
Tips to add vegetables and fruits to the diet –
- Wash vegetables well and cook before consumption
- Add salad, vegetable smoothie 3-4 times a week
- Vegetable broth, stew, soup are wonderful ways to increase regular vegetable consumption
- Choose fruits and vegetables as per the season and local availability.
- Eat 2 fruits a day – one citrus fruit and one any other sweet fruit
- Consume whole fruit and avoid fruit juice not to miss the fibre
- Avoid having packaged fruit juice, instant soup etc
Indian diet for hypothyroidism & weight loss – Nuts and seeds
This is one of the most ignored food categories in our daily diet. However nuts and seeds play a huge role to provide good fat – omega3 fatty acid, omega 6 fatty acid, and a substantial amount of protein.
Will daily consumption of nuts increase weight?
It is true that nuts and seeds are high in calories and fat. Nuts will not make you gain weight until you are having it in moderation. A fistful of nuts and seeds are enough to get the health benefits without causing any side effect.
How to eat nuts in hypothyroidism?
Nuts and seeds are nutritious and at the same time, it contains anti-nutritional factors. Phytate, oxalate, etc present in raw nuts and seeds prevent nutrient absorption in the body. Therefore you must not forget to treat the nuts and seeds before consumption.
Soaking and roasting are the two best ways to minimize antinutritional factors from nuts and seeds. You can soak it overnight and the next morning takes the nuts and seeds discarding the water. If you like to have it crunchy, consider roasting it in medium flame for good 20-30 minutes. You may do the roasting once and then store it in a glass jar for later use.
Which nuts and seeds are best for hypothyroidism?
Consider taking walnut, almond, cashew, pistachio, peanut, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seed, flaxseed, chia seed, sesame seed, etc for regular consumption. You may buy them in equal amounts and keep them mixed in a jar.
Indian diet for hypothyroidism & weight loss – Milk and milk products
Milk and milk products are an integral part of the Indian diet. If you are a vegetarian, then milk is one of the most important animal protein sources for you. Milk contains all the essential amino acids which make it a first-class protein. Consider having milk, home set curd, chena, paneer, buttermilk in your daily diet.
Is milk safe in hypothyroidism?
The calcium in milk products interferes with thyroid medicine and reduces its effectiveness. Therefore try to leave a gap of an hour between having milk and the medicine.
If you are not lactose intolerant or have not experienced any milk allergy before, there is no reason to avoid milk and milk products.
If you have been diagnosed with Hashimoto thyroiditis, not hypothyroidism, then only you should skip milk and milk products from your daily diet. (3)
Tips to have milk in hypothyroidism –
- Try to include a bowl of curd/ buttermilk with lunch
- Making paneer/chena at home is the best option
- Consider having a glass of milk or milk products in regular diet
- Use double toned or skimmed milk as per your taste
Indian diet for hypothyroidism & weight loss – Egg/ Fish/ Chicken/Meat
You are already aware that egg, fish, chicken, meat, etc are first-class proteins. If you consume any of these items, continue to keep them as a part of your diet.
However, don’t fall into the trap of “you need extra protein for weight loss”. Moderate consumption of quality products is enough to fulfill your regular requirement. As mentioned earlier, let it be just a part of your daily diet. Don’t replace rice/ roti with these “proteins”.
Tips to add Egg/ Fish/ Chicken/Meat in a diet for a hypothyroid patient
- An egg a day is absolutely safe, even if you have high blood pressure or and heart disease.
- Pick either fish or chicken or meat in a day
- Try to reduce the frequency of having red meat
- Avoid processed meat – sausage, salami, ready to cook packaged products
Indian diet for hypothyroidism & weight loss – Sugar, jaggery, honey
Let’s face it. Most of us have a sugar craving. Therefore reducing sugar content in the diet is going to be the most challenging part. But you have no other option. Try to keep the sugar limit within 1-2 teaspoons a day. No matter whether you are having sugar or jaggery or honey or brown sugar – sugar is sugar- and whatever be the form will give you 20 kcal per teaspoon.
Avoid all kinds of processed food. Even if the package claim it’s sugar-free, avoid it. Remember the product may be sugar-free but not calorie-free. So stay away. Learn to read the back of every packaged food to know the reality. You will be fooled if you believe what it says in the flashy advertisement.
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Indian diet for hypothyroidism & weight loss – Salt
You must be wondering what the problem with salt is. Most of the patient having hypothyroidism tends to develop diabetes or high blood pressure after few years. Therefore you have no option but to restrict your salt consumption as well.
The WHO suggests limiting salt intake to 5 g in a day. That means you got to keep yourself within 1 teaspoon of salt. That’s hard. But you can reduce the unnecessary salt intake by cutting down all the processed food. Instant foods, ready-to-cook or ready-to-eat foods are generally loaded with sodium. Once you start restricting these foods, you can win half the battle.
Try to Practice reducing the salt used in regular food. It may take time but you may get there.
Indian diet for hypothyroidism & weight loss – Oil/ ghee/ butter
Don’t be scared of using fat in daily cooking. As mentioned earlier, try to focus on quality rather than quantity. Avoid using white, colorless, odorless refined oil. Try to make a shift in cold-pressed/ kachhi ghani/filtered oil for regular cooking. Pick your oil as per your tradition. If you are from the south part of India, feel free to use unrefined coconut oil. If you are from the east- use kachhi ghani mustard oil. You may use filtered sesame oil or groundnut oil as well.
Stop using olive oil for Indian cooking. It’s good once used in salad. However, don’t use it for frying foods.
Feel free to use a teaspoon of ghee in lunch. It will help you to absorb the fat-soluble vitamins and also to relieve constipation in any.
Always remember moderation is the key. You can use oil/ ghee /butter wisely.
Indian diet for hypothyroidism & weight loss – Water
It’s basic but we always forget it. Sometimes it looks like a struggle to remind ourselves to drink enough water. It’s needless to say why water is very important and you must keep yourself hydrated throughout the day.
Tips to drink water
- Carry a stainless steel or glass bottle with you. Fill the bottle as soon as it gets empty.
- Keep the water bottle always near to your workstation.
- Keep sipping water in between.
- We get confused with hunger and thirst these days. So if you are feeling hungry try drinking some water
- Avoid carbonated drink, cola drink, packaged fruit/ vegetable juice
- Drink lemon water, coconut water as snack
- Don’t complicate it with hot water, cold water etc , just drink plain water
Other factors essential for the lifestyle change for hypothyroidism –
Remember sitting is the new smoking. Stay active throughout the day. Whenever possible just start walking into the room. Do some form of exercise every day as per your choice. It could be running, jogging, walking, yoga, gym, weight training, dancing, zumba, etc.
Sleep is not a luxury. Your body needs rest to repair and cleaning. There is no sleep bank in our bodies. So if you miss one night of sleep, there is no way you can compensate for it the next day. Good sleep is essential for hormonal balance. So don’t take it lightly.
Stress is inevitable. There is hardly anyone who has no stress. Let’s try to manage stress well. Practice yoga, meditation or try to develop any hobby which gives you happiness. If you need you may seek professional help. Stress interferes with your hormonal balance just like sleep. You got to manage it better.
Try to follow a sustainable diet. Plan your menu ahead so that you are clear about what to eat next. Try to adopt the step-by-step Indian diet guide for hypothyroidism and weight loss. It’s not rocket science. All you need is to practice it regularly. You will get there soon. Keep trying. All the best.
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