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Updated: May 22

The thyroid is a little gland with big jobs. But, unfortunately, it’s also one of the most misunderstood and malnourished.

Stressed Thyroid

Properly nourishing your thyroid can have a profound impact on your health and your quality of life.

The thyroid sits on the base of the neck, just below the voice box. The two main hormones it produces, T-3 (triiodothyronine) and T-4 (thyroxine), have many critical bodily functions. They regulate metabolism and can affect how fast your heart beats, how deeply you breathe, weight loss or gain, body temperature, cholesterol levels, hormonal balance, and energy levels. Talk about a lot of jobs for a little gland.

There is a lot of confusion regarding what markers to look at for thyroid health. These are some of the most important.

T3 - The levels of triiodothyronine

T4 - The levels of thyroxine (levothyroxine is the synthetic version of this hormone)

TSH - Also known as thyrotropin. It is produced in the pituitary gland. It tells the thyroid gland to produce t3 and t4. So as you can see, the pituitary and thyroid glands have a close working relationship.

TGAB - Thyroglobulin Antibodies - This antibody can indicate thyroid damage caused by an autoimmune condition.

TPO/TPEX - Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies - Another antibody that can indicate thyroid damage caused by an autoimmune condition.

If you feel something is wrong with your thyroid, your doctor can write blood tests to help you understand what is happening.

Sometimes a primary care doctor may not write for all these (for various reasons), and you may need to see an endocrinologist to get the entire panel. The problem is that it can be very costly or may take a long time to see one.

If you need a full thyroid panel and cannot obtain one through your doctor (for whatever reason), you can order a kit online and do it at home. Then, once you get the results back, you can bring them to your doctor to review them.

There are many different thyroid conditions.

Goiter - Irregular growth of the thyroid gland.

  • Simple - The entire thyroid gland swells and feels smooth to the touch.

  • Nodular - When a lump called a nodule develops, it can make the thyroid feel lumpy.

  • Multinodular - When multiple nodules develop. Sometimes they are visible; others can only be discovered through examination or testing.

Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) - The thyroid gland does not produce enough hormones to meet the body's needs. This is one of the most common types of thyroid problems.

Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid) - When the thyroid gland produces too many hormones.

Graves Disease (also known as Basedow’s disease) - This autoimmune disease causes the thyroid gland to produce too many thyroid hormones.

Hashimotos Thyroiditis - This autoimmune disease causes the immune system to create antibodies that attack thyroid cells. Hashimotos usually result in the thyroid becoming underactive.

Postpartum Thyroiditis - Inflammation of the thyroid that occurs after giving birth. It can cause the thyroid to become overactive or underactive.

sick thyroid

Mr. Thyroid is not feeling so well with all those conditions.

So how do we go about taking care of the thyroid?

One of the first and most important steps to keeping the thyroid healthy is to reduce stress. Chronic stress has a powerful effect on the thyroid. When the body is under lots of stress, it releases cortisol. However, too much cortisol can reduce thyroid hormone production. It can also cause a reduction in the conversion of T4 to T3, leading to a higher level of reverse T3. In addition, it can lead to increased insulin resistance and blood sugar issues. Check out our article, Stress 101, to find ways to control your stress. Just one more reason it’s essential to reduce chronic stress.

Next up is sunshine. One of the most overlooked, but important ways to keep your thyroid healthy, is to get proper sun, especially for those with Hoshimotos. At sunrise and sunset, try to get outside and get at least fifteen minutes of sunlight (even when it’s cloudy, you still benefit greatly), and you get bonus points for walking barefoot in the grass. Get the morning sunshine before you look at your phone or a screen. The improved melatonin production and reset of your sleep cycle greatly impact thyroid function.

Getting proper sleep is vital for a healthy thyroid. Unfortunately, many thyroid issues negatively impact sleep, from the feeling of needing to sleep all the time to being unable to sleep. Your sleep quality will improve as you work on your thyroid problems and implement positive changes. Click the button below to download our free guide to healthy sleep, to help you get on the right track.

Rooted Nutrition Sleeping Guide
Download PDF • 2.59MB

Most people don’t know that the gut’s health significantly impacts your thyroid (and many other body systems). So keeping your gut healthy is vital to a healthy thyroid. Check out our Gut Health Center to learn ways to keep your gut working at its best.

Drinking plenty of water is vital for a healthy thyroid. Being dehydrated is a great way to make your thyroid unhappy. In addition, being dehydrated can increase your risk of being fatigued. Mineral water is excellent because many people do not get enough minerals, such as magnesium, in their diet. An electrolyte drink, free of sweeteners and flavorings, can be helpful to add to your water if you are not getting enough in your diet.

flavored water recipes

As you can guess, food has a powerful effect on thyroid health.

The following foods negatively affect thyroid health; do your best to avoid them as much as possible.

Avoid all artificial, fake, and zero-calorie sweeteners, including xylitol, allulose, erythritol, stevia, and monk fruit. These negatively affect gut health, which in turn negatively affects your thyroid. Instead, use small amounts of maple syrup, date sugar, raw honey, and molasses.

Vegetable and seed oils cause massive inflammation and wreak havoc on your thyroid (and every other part of your body). Cutting them out is key to getting a healthy thyroid. Check out our blog article to learn more about them and what to replace them with. I know I sound like a broken record with these; however, they are the most significant dietary contributor to many diseases and health issues. If you can only make one change in your diet, do this.

Goitrogenic foods can reduce the uptake of iodine. Therefore, reducing them is a good step in improving thyroid function.

High goitrogenic foods include cruciferous vegetables such as bok choy, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, Chinese cabbage, collard greens, kale, kohlrabi, mizuna, mustard greens, radishes, spinach, rutabagas, turnips. Other foods that can negatively affect thyroid function, in some people, include soy, spinach, millet, tapioca, yucca, corn, and lima beans.

Thankfully, properly cooking them can greatly reduce the goitrogenic content of those foods. Steaming them until fully cooked can reduce levels by seventy-five percent, and boiling them for thirty minutes can reduce them by almost ninety percent. So if you do consume them, make sure to cook them properly and not eat them raw.

Many people have read about the possible adverse effects of gluten on thyroid function, especially in those with autoimmune diseases like Hashimoto's. While it has not been proven, there is no harm in eliminating gluten from the diet for a few months to see if it helps. The key here is not to replace gluten-containing foods with heavily processed gluten-free alternatives but instead switch to naturally gluten-free whole foods. Many people on gluten-free diets develop significant nutrient deficiencies because of all the terrible, ultra processed gluten-free products they eat that are marketed as healthy. Stick to whole foods, and you will have no issues.

The question of whether or not fluoride affects thyroid hormone levels comes up a lot. Several studies have been done (here, here, and here). Some have shown negative effects, and some have shown no effect. One thing that came up in a Canadian study was that people with low iodine levels were more affected by fluoride in drinking water, so make sure you are getting lots of iodine-rich foods (unless you have hyperthyroidism). Since the results are mixed, we recommend a good water filter to remove fluoride from your tap water if you have low thyroid function until conclusive evidence shows it is not a problem. We also recommend not consuming coffee or green and black teas if you have low thyroid function, as they contain lots of fluoride.

Caffeine puts stress on your thyroid. If you have hyperthyroid, it can make your symptoms worse. If you must have some caffeine, have it with a nourishing breakfast. Never have caffeine before breakfast because then your body runs on stress hormones all day. A quick and easy breakfast would be scrambled eggs with a bowl of fruit (whatever fruit makes you happy). If you can, try and avoid caffeine after noon as well. Try swapping out your morning coffee for a cup of low-heavy metal cacao. It’s rich in minerals and helps to promote a calm and relaxed outlook. A far better choice than stimulants, and it helps to support a healthy response to stress. Plus, what's better than cacao for breakfast?

The right foods help to nourish and support your thyroid. Eat lots of the following foods for a happier thyroid. Remember to eat plenty of these foods every day, not just once in a while.

  • Eat plenty of healthy fats; these provide valuable fat-soluble nutrients and beneficial compounds. In addition, eating plenty of good fats can help with the dry skin that often comes with thyroid problems. Good sources of fat are:

    • Grass-Fed Tallow made from suet

      • A lot of tallow is made from less nutritious fat parts and has lower levels of beneficial nutrients. In addition, tallow should be hard at room temperature. It is not made from suet if it is soft and runny at room temperature.

    • Grass-Fed Ghee

    • Grass-Fed Butter

    • Pastured Eggs

    • Low Heavy Metal Cacao Butter

    • Low-Pufa Lard

    • Avocados

    • Olives

    • Real Olive Oil (be careful with this as most olive oil (even the stuff at the health food store, is adulterated with vegetable and seed oils)

  • Your thyroid needs plenty of high-quality protein to function correctly. So eating plenty of it; we recommend one gram per pound of body weight, can help with the hair problems that often come with thyroid problems. Good sources of protein are:

    • Grass-Fed red meat (beef, buffalo, bison, lamb, goat, mutton, elk, venison, etc.)

    • Pastured Eggs

    • Low-Pufa Pork and Chicken (this can be hard to find, you won’t find it at a regular grocery store)

    • Wild Alaskan Seafood

    • Grass-Fed Dairy Products

    • Real Bone Broth

  • Tyrosine is an amino acid that combines with iodine to make the T3 and T4 hormones. Good food sources include:

    • Grass-Fed Dairy Products

    • Wild Alaskan Seafood

    • Grass-Fed Red Meat

    • Low-Pufa Chicken and Pork

    • Avocados

    • Bananas

  • Zinc, selenium, and manganese are needed to synthesize thyroid hormones, convert T4 to T3, and release T3 from the thyroid gland. Zinc and selenium also function as antioxidants and may help to protect the thyroid from inflammation and immune stressors. Good food sources include:

    • Zinc

      • Grass-Fed Red Meat (beef, buffalo, bison, lamb, goat, mutton, elk, venison, etc.)

      • Oysters

      • Low-Pufa Chicken and Pork

    • Selenium

      • Grass-Fed Kidney

      • Wild Alaskan Seafood

      • Grass-fed Red Meat

      • Low-Pufa Chicken and Pork

      • Pastured Eggs

      • Grass-Fed Cottage Cheese

    • Manganese

      • Shellfish (especially mussels)

      • Grass-Fed Beef Liver

      • Pineapple

      • Blueberries

  • Leucine is an amino acid needed to produce thyroglobulin (a protein the thyroid gland makes) to produce T3 and T4. Good sources of leucine include:

    • Wild Alaskan Salmon

    • Pastured Eggs

    • Grass-Fed Red Meat

    • Cottage Cheese

    • Grass-Fed Greek Yogurt

    • Low-Pufa Chicken and Pork

  • Vitamin A is very important for thyroid function. Unfortunately, many people with thyroid problems have trouble converting beta carotene to vitamin A, so it is best to get pre-formed vitamin A. Good sources of vitamin A include:

    • Tinned Cod Livers

    • Grass-Fed Liver

    • Pastured Eggs

    • Grass-Fed Dairy Products

    • Wild Mackeral

    • Wild Alaskan Salmon and Roe

  • Omega-3 fatty acids and a proper omega-6 to omega-3 ratio are essential to healthy thyroid function. Good sources of omega-3 include:

    • Wild Alaskan Seafood and Roe

    • Grass-Fed Dairy Products

    • Pastured Eggs

    • Tinned Cod Livers

  • Probiotic foods support a healthy gut, which in turn supports a healthy thyroid. Good food sources of probiotics include:

  • Iodine is the most well-known nutrient for thyroid health, but it is also the most misunderstood. The thyroid needs iodine for a variety of functions. Unfortunately, most people, especially pregnant women, are not getting enough iodine. Here is how much iodine is needed daily:






Birth to six months

110 mcg

110 mcg

​7-12 months

130 mcg

130 mcg

​1-3 years

​90 mcg

90 mcg

​4-8 years

90 mcg

90 mcg

9-13 years

120 mcg

120 mcg

14-18 years

150 mcg

150 mcg

220 mcg*

290 mcg

​19+ years

150 mcg

150 mcg

220 mcg*

290 mcg

The World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and the International Council for the Control of Iodine Deficiency Disorders (ICCIDD) recommend a slightly higher iodine intake for pregnant women of 250 mcg per day.*

If you notice, those amounts are micrograms, not milligrams. One thousand micrograms equals one milligram. All too often, people are being told to take unsafe quantities of iodine. You can get too much iodine, and it can cause a lot of problems. One of the most significant issues resulting from excess iodine is that your Wolff-Chaikoff mechanism may become compromised, and you can develop iodine-induced hypothyroidism. Avoid all supplements providing high-dose iodine; taking dosages such as five to fifteen milligrams (5000 - 15000 micrograms) is not a good idea. The risks far outweigh any claimed benefits.

Consume whole foods rich in this vital mineral to ensure you get enough iodine. Good food sources include:

  • Irish Seaweed (it is lower in heavy metals than seaweed from other places)

  • Pastured Eggs

  • Grass-Fed Dairy Products

  • Wild Alaskan Seafood and Roe

If you have hyperthyroidism or Graves disease, it’s not a good idea to consume lots of iodine, and your doctor may put you on a low-iodine diet.

Wild salmon roe

Wild salmon roe is one of the most amazing foods for your thyroid.

Nourishing whole-food supplements are a great way to support your thyroid (real ones, not all the fake whole-food ones out there). However, taking them daily at the correct dosage is essential for them to work. It can take several months to start to feel the full benefits. Taking too low a dose, taking them inconsistently, or taking them for too short a period will not get you the results you are looking for.

Irish seaweed capsules (kelp, bladderwrack, or combinations) are a natural, whole-food source of iodine. They are lower in contaminants and heavy metals than seaweed harvested from other areas. They are hand-harvested and sun-dried, the old-fashioned way, before being encapsulated just a short distance from the ocean. If you are hyperthyroid, you should not take seaweed capsules. If you have Hashimoto's disease, you should speak with your doctor before using any seaweed or iodine supplements, as there may be contraindications.

Grass-Fed kidney is a rich source of bioavailable selenium, with all its needed cofactors. Selenium is so crucial for thyroid function. Synthetic selenium supplements do not compare.

Grass-fed liver is a rich source of vitamin A (as retinol), tyrosine, and manganese, three essential nutrients for thyroid function.

Oyster capsules are a whole-food source of zinc. Unlike most zinc supplements, this zinc is easily absorbed and gentle on the stomach.

Whole food fish oil and salmon roe capsules are the best supplemental sources of omega-three. They provide valuable nutrients, such as vitamin A (as retinol) and omega fatty acids in their natural state, to support healthy thyroid function. However, whole food omega fatty acid supplements differ significantly from traditional, heavily refined omega-three products. You can read more about this difference here.

Ashwagandha is an herb that helps to support a healthy thyroid. If you are hyperthyroid, you should not take ashwagandha.

Activated yellow maca (raw maca will actually worsen thyroid function) is another wonderful food for thyroid health. It helps to support a healthy pituitary gland (where TSH is produced) and helps to support a healthy response to stress. In addition, it can help support healthy energy levels.

It’s never too late to start working on your thyroid health. The best time is now! You don’t have to be perfect; going slow and gradually implementing changes is okay. The most important thing is to get started and be consistent.

happy thyroid

Look how happy Mr. Thyroid is after you started nourishing him properly!


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