Hyperthyroidism in Women: Symptoms and Beneficial Foods

Hyperthyroidism in Women: Symptoms and Beneficial Foods

Last update: 12 March, 2015

Hyperthyroidism is – sadly – a fairly common disease. It affects the metabolic system and is characterised by an abnormal production of thyroid hormones. What this means is that these hormones produce a series of processes in the body that can be extremely serious depending upon how much the endocrine gland is affected.

Even more worrying is the impact it has on women, which is greater due to constant hormonal fluctuations throughout their lives. This is an important aspect that we should bear in mind. This article will give you some basic information about this disease so that you can recognise the symptoms. If you already suffer from it, we’ll give you some simple diet tips that can help ease some of its detrimental effects.

Symptoms of hyperthyroidism in women

  • Swelling in the neck is certainly the most familiar symptom
  • Increased appetite
  • Alopecia or hair loss
  • Small but noticeable mood swings
  • Changes in the menstrual cycle (less frequent periods, longer lasting periods)
  • Weakness or muscle deterioration
  • Insomnia or sleeping problems
  • Diarrhoea
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Feelings of restlessness or hyperactivity
  • Exaggerated sensitivity to heat
  • Suspected infertility
  • Unsteady or shaky hands
  • Frequent urge to urinate
  • Excessive sweating
  • Tachycardia (heart abnormality, quickened heartbeat)

It’s important to mention that it’s not necessary to experience all of these symptoms in order to get diagnosed as hyperthyroid. We are all different. You know your body best, so act if you think that something abnormal is going on. Just be aware and err on the side of caution.

Treating female hyperthyroidism

After the right checks have been made, your GP is the person who will determine whether or not you have hyperthyroidism. The most common test is a simple blood test to gauge your TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone). The results of this will tell you if it’s in the first stages or more advanced. Today’s medicine is very advanced. Apart from taking the prescribed drugs, there may be the possibility of surgery to solve your thyroid problems.

The ideal diet

Many studies have examined the causal link between diet and thyroid disease. In fact, clinical and nutritional studies show that there are various foods and plants that are extremely effective in treating this condition. A partial – but by no means exhaustive – list follows.

Cruciferous vegetables

These vegetables contain high amounts of chlorogenic and caffeic acid which inhibit the absorption of iodine. Iodine absorption is the triggering factor for this disease. Where are these acids plentiful? Look no further than cabbage, radish, Brussels sprouts, cauliflowers and broccoli. You can give free rein to your imagination and make plenty of exciting salads with these vegetables.  Don’t forget to often include radish, as many studies show that it regulates excessive production of the hormones that produce hyperthyroidism.


Nutritionists recommend consuming healthy amounts of the following legumes: lentils, garbanzo beans and soya beans – and that’s just to start!

You’ll benefit greatly if you include peanuts, millet, flax and pine nuts with your meals. Why? Well, they inhibit the production of thyroxine, which is the main hormone secreted into the bloodstream by the thyroid gland.

Fruit and raw food

Traditional Chinese medicine has found that raw food is more refreshing for the body and possesses more nutrients, and can therefore calm the thyroid. This is why we recommend experimenting with raw peppers, carrots, spinach, beets and different types of cabbage when you make salads.

Beneficial Plants

Lycopus europaeus – commonly known as gypsywort – is ideal for limiting iodine’s action on the thyroid. You can use it in infusions (like tea); but if that doesn’t appeal, you’ll find it in liquid tinctures at health food shops. The recommended dose is 30 drops a day.

Lemon balm is lovely and mellow on its own, but is much more effective when combined with mint. You can enjoy drinking up to 3 cups per day.

Prohibited foods for hyperthyroidism

  • Seaweed and shellfish (because of their high iodine content)
  • Iodised salt
  • Garlic, oats, cashews, almonds, pistachios
  • Coffee, cinnamon and all hot spices