Thyroid Health Recipes

bahai-stewMore and more women are afflicted with an out-of-balance thyroid. A huge part of maintaining thyroid health is incorporating foods that will help optimize a healthy balance. Here are a few recipes for various thyroid functions.


This recipe will help increase thyroid function.

Bahia Seafood Stew

2 tablespoons coconut oil
2 shallots, minced (1/2 cup)
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
12-18 littleneck clams, scrubbed well
12-18 mussels
1 small onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 stalk of lemongrass, tough outer leaves discarded and stalk smashed
3 tomatoes—halved, seeded and cut in 1/4-inch dice
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 pounds large shrimp, shelled and deveined
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
2 sheets of Nori seaweed
12 cilantro leaves, plus 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
1/2 pound, skinless white fish fillets (such as grouper, red snapper, sea bass, or halibut)
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

Heat the oil in a medium enameled cast-iron casserole. Add the shallots, garlic, onion, bell pepper, ginger and lemongrass and cook over moderate heat until the vegetables are softened, about seven minutes. Add the tomatoes, season with salt and pepper and cook for three minutes. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper and add them to the casserole along with the coconut milk and cilantro leaves. Add Mussels, clams and Nori. Cover and cook for five minutes. Season the grouper with salt and pepper; add to the casserole, cover and cook for three minutes. Discard the lemongrass. Add the lime juice and season the stew with salt and pepper. Garnish with the chopped cilantro and serve. Serve with steamed white rice and thin lime wedges.

Sea Weed: Naturally rich in iodine as well as trace minerals, sea weed has long been considered a food that supports thyroid function.  Indeed, native peoples subsisting on their traditional diets often went to very great lengths to obtain sea vegetables in effort to avoid goiter. Iodine is critical to thyroid health and function. Without adequate dietary iodine, your body is unable to manufacture the thyroid hormones. Of course, excess intake of iodine-rich foods is also implicated in thyroid disease

Coconut Oil: Coconut oil also supports proper thyroid function as it slightly stimulates thyroid hormone production and the metabolism.  In this way, wise incorporation of coconut oil into the diet is thought to support thyroid health and help sufferers of hypothyroidism to lose weight.  Coconut oil may also help to reduce cholesterol in hypothyroid patients as thyroid suppression in and of itself raises blood cholesterol levels.  Coconut oil is largely comprised of saturated fat, which promotes thyroid function.

Shellfish: Shellfish, like sea vegetables, are naturally rich in iodine – the nutrient that is critically important to thyroid function.


These recipes will help slow thyroid function down

Tempeh-Millet Mushroom Patties with Spicy Aoli and Cruciferous Slaw

1⁄2 cup uncooked millet, rinsed
1⁄2 medium sweet potato, unpeeled, chopped (about 11⁄2 cups)
1-1⁄2 cups vegetable broth
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1⁄2 cup sliced shiitake mushrooms
4 ounces gluten-free organic tempeh, crumbled into small pieces
1 small bunch green onions, thinly sliced (white and some green parts)
2 cloves garlic, minced1 tablespoon low-sodium, wheat-free tamari
2 tablespoons mirin
Safflower or Sunflower oil, for frying

  • Combine millet, sweet potato, and broth in a medium pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and cook over medium heat until millet is tender and broth is absorbed, about 25 minutes. Turn off heat and let stand five minutes, covered.
  • Meanwhile, heat sesame oil in a large skillet; sauté mushrooms, tempeh, green onions, and garlic for 6–7 minutes, or until tempeh is browned. Stir in tamari and mirin; cook for two minutes, scraping up browned bits. Transfer to a dish and set aside. Wipe out skillet.
  • When millet mixture is done, mash with a potato masher. Stir in tempeh mixture until creamy and thick. Season with salt and pepper. When cool enough to handle but still very warm, quickly form into six patties.
  • Heat vegetable oil in skillet over medium heat and cook patties until lightly browned, about three minutes per side.

Spicy Aoli

½ cup of Mayonnaise (or veganaise)
2 tbsp of lemon juice
1 clove of garlic (chopped)
3 tbsp Siracha

Mix all ingredients together. Serve with a pinch of smoked sea salt and pepper to taste

Cruciferous Slaw

½ bunch of kale, thinly sliced
1 cup Brussels sprouts, shredded
½ cup broccoli stems, cut into thin matchsticks
½ cup green cabbage, shredded
½ cup red cabbage, shredded
½ cup of golden raisins
½ cup of silvered almonds, toasted
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste


2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
2 teaspoons rice vinegar
1 teaspoon honey
¼ teaspoon sea salt
Pinch or two of cumin
1 tbsp of sriracha
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

In a small bowl, mix together lime juice, rice vinegar, honey, salt, cumin, and sriracha until combined. Slowly whisk in the olive oil until fully emulsified. Set aside.

In large bowl, combine veggies and raisins. Drizzle with some of the dressing and toss (or just massage the dressing into the veggies with your hands—really the best way to do it!). Let stand for 5 minutes to allow the dressing to slightly soften the veggies. Add the almonds, freshly ground black pepper, and the rest of the dressing and toss again. Makes about 4-6 servings,

Fermented Soy Foods: Soy is very goitrogenic. A strong suppressor of thyroid hormones, some research indicates that soy may even be more effective in thyroid suppression than anti-thyroid drugs. Don’t forget that soy is a potent food, and that while sufferers of hyperthyroidism might welcome soy’s thyroid-suppressing effects, take care to eat soy in its fermented state in foods like tempeh and miso as soy also contains anti-nutrients like phytic acid, which impairs the body’s overall ability to absorb many nutrients.

Raw Cruciferous Vegetables: Raw cruciferous vegetables also suppress thyroid function.  Cruciferous vegetables like kohlrabi, cabbage, cauliflower, rapini, turnips and Brussels sprouts contain goitrogens that interfere with iodine uptake and, in that way, also interfere with production of thyroid hormones

Millet: Millet, like cruciferous vegetables, contains goitrogens and interferes with iodine uptake. Cooking millet, as well as goitrogen-rich cruciferous vegetables, may mitigate its anti-thyroid effects to some degree.

Foods that Aren’t Doing Anyone’s Thyroid a Favor

Gluten-containing Grains: Recent research into autoimmune diseases and autoimmune thyroid disease in particular indicates that there’s a strong connection between celiac disease and thyroid disease. Indeed, a study published in Digestive Diseases & Science indicates that sufferers of autoimmune thyroid disease have roughly a 400 percent greater chance of also suffering from celiac disease than control groups. Moreover, some research indicates that after 3-6 months on a gluten-free diet, those pesky anti-thyroid antibodies virtually disappear. That’s a powerful case for removing wheat, barley, and other gluten-containing grains from your diet if you suffer from any form of autoimmune thyroid disease.

Unfermented Soy: Unfermented soy foods – particularly those rich in concentrated isoflavones and genistien – contribute to autoimmune thyroid disease. Research into soy formula and its effects on babies indicates that babies fed soy formula are more likely to develop autoimmune thyroid disease and large concentrations of unfermented soy may adversely thyroid function in adults. If you eat soy, keep to small amounts and always choose fermented forms.

Coffee: Coffee is simultaneously stimulating and goitrogenic which spell trouble for both hypo- and hyperthyroid sufferers. As a strong stimulant, it can wreak havoc on those suffering from hyperthyroidism as that added stimulation is the very last thing they need. Moreover, for those suffering from hypothyroidism, coffee also interferes with iodine uptake and thus may inhibit the formation of thyroid hormones. Bad news for everyone.

Written by Noe Ferullo, NCNM Naturopathic Medicine Program