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What diet helps thyroid eye disease and what foods should be avoided?

Your diet is of utmost importance in managing Graves’ Disease. There is a connection between people having an intolerance to gluten, such as in Celiac disease, and those having autoimmune thyroid diseases such as Graves’ Disease and Thyroid Eye Disease. Gluten tends to exacerbate symptoms and disrupt the immune system. Many foods and drinks contain gluten, including wheat and wheat products, rye, barley, malt, triticale, brewer’s yeast, and grains such as spelt, kamut, farro, and durum. Although avoiding gluten is not a cure for Thyroid Eye Disease, Graves’ Disease or Celiac disease, it may prevent some of the serious manifestations from occurring. 

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Ingesting too much dietary iodine may trigger hyperthyroidism in the elderly or in people who have an existing thyroid disease. Iodine is a micronutrient that is necessary for good health; however, taking it in the right amount is important. Foods containing dietary iodine include most table salt, bread, dairy products such as milk, cheese, and yogurt. Foods which are naturally high in iodine include seafood, especially haddock and cod, seaweed and sea vegetables such as kelp. You should discuss how much iodine you need with your doctor.

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Also, it has been shown that vegetarians fare better with thyroid disorders than people that eat animal products, including beef, chicken, pork and fish. 

Some foods provide the antioxidants and nutrients that may help alleviate symptoms and reduce the intensity of flares. Because hyperthyroidism makes it difficult for your body to absorb calcium, patients are in danger of developing brittle bones and osteoporosis. A diet high in calcium may help. Foods that contain calcium include some dairy products, but caution needs to be taken as to which of those do not contain iodine as well. Other foods high in calcium include broccoli, almonds, kale, sardines, and okra. Foods high in vitamin D, magnesium and selenium are also beneficial.

Vitamin D

Your body needs Vitamin D for building and maintaining healthy bones by increasing the body’s absorption of calcium and phosphorous. It also supports immune health, muscle function and regulates many other cellular functions in your body. Some foods that have high amounts of Vitamin D are cod liver oil, salmon, herring & sardines, canned tuna, egg yolks, and mushrooms. Sometimes foods are fortified with vitamin D such cow’s milk, soymilk, orange juice, cereals, and oatmeal.

Vitamin D


Magnesium is needed by our muscles, the blood vessels and cardiac system, as well as the brain and the bone tissue. Foods that are rich in magnesium include rice bran, legumes, nuts, seeds, green leafy vegetables such as spinach, swiss chard, edamame, and kale, white beans, black beans, okra, potato, lentils, broccoli, pumpkin and squash, almonds, cashews, peanuts, seeds, plantains, dried figs, avocados, prunes, banana, dark chocolate, brown and wild rice, mackerel, tuna, tofu, scallops, salmon, pollock, oysters, rockfish, halibut.



Selenium supports reproduction, thyroid gland function, DNA production and helps protect you from inflammation. Foods high in selenium are Brazil nuts, oysters, tilapia, salmon, chicken breast, ground turkey, shrimp, Shiitake and Portobello mushrooms, sunflower seeds, navy beans, peanut butter, oatmeal, brown rice, flaxseed, and asparagus.


This list of beneficial foods is not comprehensive. You should work with your doctor or a nutritionist to develop a diet that is right for you. To learn more about TED read this article about thyroid eye disease.

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