Fresh fruit comes from nature, so you’d think they're all “healthy fruit".
Technically, it's true, they all have some benefits. Fruits are an excellent source of essential vitamins and minerals. In addition, they are high in fiber. Fruits also provide a wide range of health-boosting antioxidants, including flavonoids.
The thing is, in thyroid disease, we also have to look at the cons of the fruit, not only at their benefits.
Each fruit has it's own pros and cons. Some, for example, have more sugar than others and are not that great for thyroid disease. Others, have more vitamins and are easier to digest, thus making it a better option for a thyroid disorder.
In this blog post, we'd like to speak about the best and the worst options when it comes to fruits in thyroid disease.
So What Makes the Healthiest Fruits Healthy? And What Are These Fruits?
Berries are the best fruit due to their low sugar content, high amounts of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
For example, one serving (a handful or a cup) of blueberries contains only 80 calories and contributes essential nutrients, including vitamin C, vitamin K, dietary fiber, and polyphenols.
Eating one cup of blueberries daily can also help you to lower levels of serum triglycerides and regulate the insulin response (which is one of the most common thyroid disease triggers!).
How often can you eat them?
Every day, 1 serving (a cup or a handful).
When should you eat them?
Preferably 25-35 minutes before your main meals.
Yes, avocados are a fruit, and they're sugar-free! They're also rich in healthy fats, which help in the natural healing of thyroid disease.
How often can you eat them?
Every day! You can even have 2 a day! They will make you feel fuller after your meals and should help with sugar cravings so that you can lose weight without constantly being tempted by sweets and struggling with resisting them.
3. LEMONS & LIMES
Both lemons and limes contain very small amounts of carbohydrates. They can also help with low stomach acid, which is a common trigger of both Hashimoto's and Graves' Disease.
Furthermore, they're packed with vitamin C, which may have a positive effect on recovering from Graves' and Hashimoto's. With that said, you have to be careful! Especially in Graves' Disease.
What do I mean by it? You see, many often we tend to exaggerate with the "good things". Even though lemons and limes can help you, too much of them can also be harmful.
In patients with hyperthyroidism or Graves', vitamin C improves the abnormalities in serum T4, T3, and TSH levels.
However, you have to know that Vitamin C (in high quantities) depletes copper, which is the common deficiency in hyperthyroidism.
That's why we recommend to limit vitamin C to 800 -1000 milligrams a day (unless you check your copper with a lab test and find a doctor who will help you to establish higher and safe doses of vitamin C).
So how much is 800-1000 milligrams?
It's about 8 lemons. I know, no one eats 8 lemons a day! However, if you already eat foods high in vitamin C, like bell peppers, strawberries, guava or broccoli, you can easily overdose these 800-1000 milligrams, especially if you're also taking a supplement, which includes vitamin C.
So what should you do?
Just make sure you don't consume too much of vitamin C in Graves' disease. If your diet is rich in strawberries, kale, broccoli, bell peppers and you're supplementing with vitamin C or with multivitamin that includes vitamin C, then don't consume more than half lemon or lime a day. In this way, you're making sure you get optimal levels of vitamin C and not exceeding 800-1000mg a day.
Kiwi is great as it's low in both sugar and calories. It has only 7 g of sugar and around 40 calories in a medium-sized kiwi.
How many can you have a day?
1-3 kiwis a day are fine (do not exceed this number, also with other fruits).
Bananas are good for hypoglycemia because they balance blood sugar and protect adrenals. They're also good for gastrointestinal issues like for example gastric reflux or indigestion. They're relatively high in carbohydrates, but due to their specific structure, they contain different type of carbohydrate from most fruits i.e. starch.
In fact, green bananas contain up to 80% starch measured in dry weight and the carb composition of bananas changes drastically during ripening. You're probably asking me now "so which ones should I eat ripe or green?". It depends, if you have blood sugar imbalance or diabetes, then definitely go for green ones. However, if your blood sugar regulation is perfect and you don't feel like more carbohydrates or glycemic index would harm your health results in any way, then go with ripe ones. Also, if you struggle with some gastrointestinal problems, you may want to go for somewhere in between green and ripe, as for some of us with GI issues, green bananas are very difficult to digest.
If you eat them with a few stalks of celery, you will have an especially nourishing, balancing, and healing meal for thyroid disease.
They're rich in potassium and can help you with anxiety, depression or lack of energy, in both Graves' and Hashimoto's.
How many bananas can you have?
We recommend having 1-2 bananas a day. Yes, they're very healthy, but also rich in carbohydrates, so don't eat more than 2 a day.
What's the best time of having them?
Preferably 25-35 minutes before your main meals. For example, 30 minutes before your breakfast.
What Are The Worst Fruit For Hashimoto's and Graves'? And What Do I Mean By "Worst"?
In reality, all fruits have some benefit in thyroid disease. By "worst" we mean fruit, which you're supposed to limit but not totally cut off. This is due to their high carbohydrates (fructose content), which may not be the best if you're suffering from a thyroid disease.
List Of The High-Carb Fruits, Which You Should Consume Less Often (and not more than 1 a day):
All dried fruits like dried apples, raisins, dates or peaches.
Red Delicious Apples
To sum up:
If your goal is to lose weight or to monitor sugar intake (which usually helps to heal thyroid disease), then go for the "healthiest fruits list in thyroid disease".
Does it mean that you have to completely eliminate all the fruits on the "worst fruits list"? No, not really. Just have them much less often than the healthy ones.
Also, try to work on portion control when enjoying fruits that are higher in sugar. The benefits you get from fruits' sugars, even if they aren’t the healthiest fruits, still far surpass the benefits which you'd get from the ice cream sugar.