If you suffer from Hashimoto’s, it is important to understand the impact that gluten and dairy can have on the gut and the body. Especially if you are looking to reverse Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism naturally. People with Hashimoto’s disease often find that their symptoms improve when they avoid gluten and dairy but it’s not only about symptoms. It’s about what you can do to allow your body to heal. While there is no one-size-fits-all diet for those with autoimmune disorders, eliminating certain trigger foods can be certainly beneficial. It can also help you to lower your thyroid antibodies.
So what is wrong with gluten and why people with Hashimoto’s disease should avoid it?
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley, and is known to irritate the gastrointestinal system. When consumed, it can cause inflammation and damage to the small intestine. It’s also hard to digest for many people, especially when consumed in excess. Gluten is also a common trigger for leaky gut syndrome, which is associated with autoimmune disease. For those with an autoimmune disorder like Hashimoto’s, gluten can worsen your symptoms as well causing fatigue, joint pain and weight gain.
How much gluten and dairy individuals with Hashimoto’s should eat per day is highly individualised. Some may need to avoid all forms of dairy and gluten, while others may be able to include small amounts of both.
What grains are worst for Hashimoto’s?
When it comes to gluten, the type that is worst for Hashimoto’s is wheat. Wheat is the most common source of gluten and it can be difficult to digest for those with autoimmune disorders. Rye and barley are also sources of gluten, but are generally easier to digest than wheat. There is also variety of “healthier” grains and starches available that are naturally gluten-free, such as oats, quinoa, millet, buckwheat and sweet potatoes. Even though gluten free are better and safer option, they can still exacerbate your symptoms. It is because of cross-reactivity (oats in particular) and lectin content. Excess lectin rich foods can damage your gut and increase inflammation preventing you from healing.
What is wrong with dairy and why people with Hashimoto’s disease should avoid dairy products?
Dairy is another food that can aggravate symptoms in people with Hashimoto’s as it contains a protein called casein. Casein can significantly increase inflammation in the body for those with autoimmune disorders. Dairy also contains lactose. Lactose can be hard to digest for those with Hashimoto’s, as their digestive systems can be weakened.
Is casein or lactose more harmful for Hashimoto’s?
When it comes to dairy, casein is typically worse for those with Hashimoto’s compared to lactose. Casein concentration is higher in hard, aged cheeses so softer cheeses like feta i.e would be a better choice in that regard. However, it’s important to keep in mind that many people with Hashimoto’s may be sensitive to both casein and lactose.
What kind of milk and cheese is good for Hashimoto’s?
The healthiest type of dairy to consume once you manage to calm down the auto-immune driven inflammation would be sheep’s milk products and goat’s milk products. They are better tolerated by most people comparing to cow’s milk products. However at early stage of reversing Hashimoto’s disease naturally, people should avoid both dairy and gluten.
Non-dairy alternatives such as nut milk or coconut milk or plant based yogurts could be a safe option but there is one thing to watch out for in plant -based products.
What’s wrong with plant based dairy alternatives?
Unfortunately lots of plant based milks and plant based products in general include vegetable oils and food additives which are highly inflammatory. Ideally choose the non-fortified products like without added calcium, B12 or B9 as they are just in poor quality form with added folic acid being the worst as it’s synthetic form that actually can impair absorption and utilisation of natural folate. Folate is is extremely important for your body to detoxify and regenerate. My favourite vegetable-oil free brand of plant milks is Plennish.
Key take away
In conclusion, avoiding gluten and dairy when you are trying to reverse Hashimoto’s disease naturally is certainly beneficial. Especially in the first phase of healing, as these foods can cause inflammation and worsen your symptoms. If you are not sure how much or what type of foods to eat to support your healing journey – drop me a message.