A recent study found a diet high in trans fats shrinks the brain and increases the risk of dementia, making them a poor choice for people with Hashimoto’s and hypothyroidism.
The brain depends on proper thyroid function, and a brain-healthy diet is paramount for people with Hashimoto’s and hypothyroidism.
Trans fats are found in fast foods, processed foods, margarine, shortening, and more. They can be identified in a list of ingredients as hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oil.
Vitamins, omega 3s protect brain
On the other hand, study participants who ate diets high in vitamins B, C, D, and E and omega 3 fatty acids were found to have larger, healthier brains than their junk-food eating peers. These nutrients are found in vegetables, fruits, fish, and raw nuts and seeds.
A brain-healthy diet will also tame autoimmune flare-ups and inflammation associated with Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism.
Even small amounts of trans fats damaging
The study by Oregon Health and Science University in Portland was the first to measure blood levels of trans fats in relation to brain volume using MRI brain scans.
The most sobering observation was that blood levels of trans fat levels were not that high, a testament to the damage they cause even in small amounts.
Brain mostly fat
Fatty acids make up cell membranes, brain tissue, and myelin sheaths, which protect neurons that communicate with one another. In fact, about 60 percent of the brain is made up of fat, coming from fats in the diet.
Trans fats replace good fats in brain
When trans fats become part of the cells and nerve sheaths they replace vital brain fats, such as DHA, an essential omega-3 fatty acid. As a result, cellular communication suffers, the cells degenerate, brain volume shrinks, and memory and cognition suffer.
Trans fats restrict blood flow to brain
Trans fats also contribute to the clogging of veins and arteries, which inhibits blood flow to the brain. Constricting blood flow to the brain robs the brain of oxygen and vital nutrients, another factor that degenerates, or shrinks, the brain and affects function.
Healthy hypothyroidism brain diet
Trans fats are closer to plastic than food, significantly impacting brain health, and it’s best to strictly avoid them.
Instead, aim for a brain-friendly diet that includes leafy green vegetables, seafood, eggs, olive oil, nuts, avocadoes, colorful fruits, nuts, and meats.
Eliminating all sweets and sodas and minimizing starchy foods (grains, potatoes, legumes, etc.) will reduce inflammation, which also protect brain health.
Studies show a strong link between Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism and gluten intolerance, making a strict gluten-free diet important for managing thyroid health.
Other food intolerances are common for those with Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism. An allergy-elimination diet is a good way to ferret out which foods may be causing inflammation.