Before I discuss some Graves’ Disease diet tips that can help restore your health back to normal, let me first tell you that not only am I a licensed healthcare professional, but I was personally diagnosed with Graves’ Disease. And nutrition definitely played a huge role in restoring my health back to normal. I will warn you that being a holistic doctor I am biased towards natural treatment methods, so while most endocrinologists label 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 their health.
So if you are looking for Graves’ Disease diet tips that will help restore your health back to normal, then you are going to enjoy reading the following information. As I just mentioned, diet can play a big role in treating Graves” Disease naturally. However, I will tell you that while eating healthy and incorporating nutritional supplements can be beneficial, there are other factors that will also play a role in your recovery, which I will briefly mention in this article.
I also will warn you that different doctors will have varying opinions as to what is considered to be “healthy” with regards to one’s diet. And let’s be honest for a moment…nobody eats the “perfect” diet, as in my opinion it’s okay to be “bad” every now and then. For example, I consulted with a patient once who loved milkshakes, which as you might guess isn’t too healthy. And while it would be ideal for this person to completely eliminate milkshakes from her diet, having one every so often usually isn’t a big deal. And the same goes with other foods.
Of course there are exceptions. For example, someone with celiac disease probably won’t be able to eat a gluten-based food “every now and then” without having a bad reaction. Another example involves someone who can’t “settle” for a milkshake every now and then, or an occasional slice of pizza, etc. In other words, some are better off staying away completely from the “bad” foods, or else they begin consuming too much of it.
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 might not be the best option, as usually they will test for only IgE antibodies. You might want to visit a holistic doctor and receive an ELISA/EIA panel, which also measures the IgG antibodies, and is usually more accurate (although this does depend on the lab that performs the test).
Another alternative is to consider a GI Health Panel. The company Diagnos-Techs offers this type of test, which measures the health of the gastrointestinal tract and includes over one dozen tests that utilize saliva and stool specimens. They also offer a FIP-Food Intolerance Panel, that will determine whether you are allergic to four of the most common foods (gluten, soy, milk, and egg proteins).
A less costly method is to conduct an elimination diet, where you eliminate all of the common food allergens (wheat, soy, dairy, etc.), and then slowly introduce a potential allergen, one at a time. There are different ways of doing this, but here is an example. You can go on a purification program (described shortly), and then once the purification program is completed, introduce wheat for 3 days, and see how your body reacts. Just make sure you don’t add more than one potential allergen, as if you were to add both wheat and dairy for example, and had a bad reaction, you wouldn’t know which allergen was responsible.
A Purification Program Can Be Beneficial
As I just mentioned, many people can benefit from a purification program. There are different types of these programs, and when doing one it is wise to be under the guidance of a competent healthcare professional. When I put one of my patients on a purification program, I prefer having them avoid gluten, dairy, soy, and other common allergens for at least twenty one days. Once again, the reason for this is because they are common allergens.
On the other hand, I encourage them to eat plenty of vegetables, some fruits, as well as chicken, turkey, and certain types of fish. I do recommend that they purchase organic food, at least with regards to the meats. While it would be great if they can buy everything organic, I realize some people can’t afford this, and so if you must pick and choose, I’d recommend to eat organic meat, and try 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 consume a small quantity of raw nuts (sunflower seeds, almonds, etc.), as well as some other foods.
An Actual Example Of A Graves” Disease Diet:
Here is an example of a daily protocol when I first went on my Graves’ Disease diet. Keep in mind that this is just an example, and is not a diet that I stayed on permanently (although it did train me to eat better, and I still eat healthy to this day):
• Protein drink which contained 2 cups of purified water, I cup of mixed berries (raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries), a healthy form of protein powder, and 1 teaspoon of flax seed oil (after one month I added one raw organic egg to this).
• Organic apples and raw sunflower seeds
• Grilled chicken salad: organic mixed greens and spinach, organic grilled chicken
• Another protein drink (very filling, and actually tastes pretty good)
• Organic roasted turkey
• Some type of vegetable (i.e. squash)
• 1 cup of raw nuts (almonds, Brazil nuts, walnuts, cashews)
Although this diet is relatively healthy, you’ll notice that it isn’t perfect. I probably should have incorporated more vegetables, but overall it was a healthy diet. Today I still eat healthy, but I do incorporate some whole grains occasionally (for example, I will have a turkey wrap or sandwich with whole wheat bread), and every now and then I’ll even go out and get some pizza, eat some chocolate, etc.
If you currently eat a lot of junk food and/or have strong sweet and carbohydrate cravings, I wouldn’t expect you to change overnight. Under such circumstances it is best to take it slow, and when I first consult with a patient that has strong sweet and carb cravings, I put them on a protocol to help them get rid of these cravings, and thus make the transition to a healthier diet much easier. I personally was brought up eating foods like Fruit Loops, Burger King Whoppers and fries, and drank plenty of Hawaiian Punch. And while I was already eating much healthier when I was diagnosed with Graves” Disease, when I first began trying to eat healthy it did take some time.
Drink Plenty Of Purified Water
You also want to drink plenty of purified water during this time, and avoid any soft drinks, and even most juices, which can be high in sugar. As for what type of water you should drink, different doctors have different opinions, but I recommend either water that has gone through a reverse osmosis process or distillation, and then is enhanced with minerals. Some will disagree with me, preferring water without minerals added. Either way, stay away from the tap water, and I’d also be cautious about drinking spring water unless if you know the source is a good quality.
What Are Goitrogens?
There are also certain goitrogens you should try your best to avoid. Goitrogens interfere with the function of the thyroid gland, which admittedly isn’t as big of a factor in someone with a hyperthyroid condition like Graves” Disease as it would be with someone with a hypothyroid condition. But still, you want to at least minimize the following foods, and some of them you will want to avoid completely. I personally ate some of the following goitrogens in moderation (i.e. spinach and broccoli), while completely avoiding others (i.e. soy). Anyway, here are some of the goitrogens to be aware of:
• Brussel sprouts
Where Should You Shop?
As for where should you shop, although you can shop at your local health food store, I personally like Trader Joes, which is a national chain that has plenty of natural and organic food at affordable prices. Some “regular” grocery stores, and even places like Wal-Mart sell some natural and organic food as well. While my wife and I love shopping at Trader Joes for most of our items, we do buy some of our foods at a local health food store, and a few items in a “regular” supermarket.
Other Factors Besides Diet Can Impact Your Health
Besides eating healthy, there are some other factors that can affect your health. Since it’s difficult to get all of the vitamins and minerals you need through your diet, taking some quality nutritional supplements can be beneficial (i.e. B vitamins, Vitamin D, iodine, essential fatty acids, a multi-mineral supplement, etc.). As I’m sure you know, it’s also beneficial to be on a regular exercise program. Another big factor for people with Graves” Disease is to manage the stress in their lives, as while just about everyone has to deal with stress, we all have different coping mechanisms. And those people that don’t do a good job of managing the stress in their lives are more likely to have stressed out adrenal glands, which can both lead to and exacerbate an autoimmune condition.
Should You Consult With A Natural Endocrine Doctor?
While many endocrinologists label Graves” Disease as being incurable, the truth is that many people like myself are turning to natural treatment methods to help restore the function of the thyroid gland, and thus avoid anti-thyroid drugs and radioactive iodine. A competent natural doctor that focuses on endocrine disorders can help you with your diet, recommend quality supplements, and put you on a complete program that can potentially restore your health back to normal. While not everyone is a candidate for natural treatment methods, most people can benefit from following a natural treatment protocol.
So for those looking for an ideal Graves’ Disease diet, hopefully you have a better idea as to what foods you should eat when diagnosed with this condition. Truth to be told, most people should eat a healthy diet consisting of whole foods, regardless of whether or not they have an autoimmune thyroid disorder or not. Doing so can actually help prevent the development of such conditions, along with incorporating other lifestyle factors, such as exercising regularly, obtaining quality sleep, and doing a good job of managing stress. But for someone with Graves” Disease, eating healthy can definitely help to improve their health, and is thus extremely important.