Diet for Graves' Disease
While it's true that Graves' disease cannot be cured through a special diet, it's still wise to practice good eating habits, both during and after treatment. Following a heart-healthy diet (which includes lots of fruits, vegetables, and lean protein) can help minimize the weight gain that commonly occurs after Graves' disease treatment; it can also help you feel better and reduce your risk of heart disease.
Is There a Special Diet for Graves' Disease?Many people with Graves' disease wonder if there is a special diet they should be following. The short answer to this question is no. There are no foods, combinations of foods, vitamins, or supplements that have been shown in clinical studies to improve this condition. However, there are also no foods, in most cases, that have been shown to make Graves' disease worse.
This is why healthcare providers recommend eating a balanced and healthy diet, being skeptical of "miraculous" claims, and avoiding fad nutritional practices.
Weight Gain and Graves' DiseaseHealthcare providers also advise their patients to follow good dietary habits during and following treatment for Graves' disease. The reason is that considerable weight gain is common following successful treatment. One study showed an average weight gain of about 12 pounds (5.4 kg) in people followed for up to two years after treatment.
Factors that seemed to increase the chance for gaining weight included:
- Preexisting obesity
- Previous weight loss as a result of Graves' disease
- Those who developed hypothyroidism following treatment.
The Well-Balanced DietThe good news is that research has also shown that this weight gain can be minimized by following good dietary habits. If you have Graves' disease, you should strive to eat a well-balanced diet and control your weight. A well-balanced diet can help you feel better and can be a positive step in dealing with this condition. It can also help decrease your chances of developing heart disease or certain types of cancer.
Some suggestions for eating a well-balanced diet and controlling your weight during and after treatment include:
- Eat a heart-healthy diet. This diet should include foods such as:
- Fruits, vegetables, grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products
- Lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts.
- Limit foods with saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, sodium (salt), and added sugars.
- Get regular physical activity for at least 30 minutes a day on most days of the week.
- Limit your intake of alcohol.