If you suffer from a thyroid problem, you may find that your blood pressure suffers as well. Both an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) and overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) have been shown to cause a spike in blood pressure as the imbalance of hormones in your body causes your heart to work harder to compensate. Even undiagnosed, subclinical thyroid imbalances have been linked to hypertension.
It can be tough enough to have to deal with the effects of a thyroid disorder without adding hypertension on top of it. The good news is that a few changes to how you eat can benefit your high blood pressure and help balance your thyroid as well. Let's look at three diet changes that will help improve your blood pressure if you have a thyroid problem.
Cut These Foods Out
If you have a thyroid imbalance, you may want to cut out goitrogen-containing vegetables from your diet. These include broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, soy and Brussels sprouts. Goitrogens are compounds that can further impair thyroid function.
Conventional dairy products such as cow’s milk and cheese can also worsen certain types of thyroid disorders. Dairy can lead to a heightened inflammatory response, disrupting hormone production.
Refined flour products and those made with enriched wheat flour can lead to hormone imbalances as well, contributing to higher blood pressure levels. It’s best to eliminate processed grains completely from your diet, replacing them with whole, ancient grains like quinoa or buckwheat instead.
Gut Health May Be Important
A growing body of research is starting to show a link between the microflora in the gut and our blood pressure. A healthy and varied gut environment is strongly associated with normal blood pressure levels. If you’re suffering from a thyroid disorder, focusing on your gut health can help regulate your thyroid hormones as well as reduce your hypertension.
If you haven't started yet, eat a probiotic like yogurt or a prebiotic like sunchokes. Probiotics contain millions of healthy gut bacteria that can help to repopulate your intestines with beneficial microflora, displacing unhealthy bacterial growth.
Stop After One Drink
Too much alcohol can raise your blood pressure to unhealthy levels. While too many drinks at once can temporarily increase your blood pressure, long term drinking can cause changes to your circulatory system that will lead to long-term hypertension.
These few changes in diet will benefit both your heart health and your thyroid function. While this list is far from exhaustive, it provides a good starting place to develop sensible eating habits that will keep you healthy for many years to come.