Today is the second post talking about foods to support thyroid health. Last week I detailed how important B vitamins, iodine and iron are for your thyroid and today I’m shining the spotlight on another three lesser known nutrients you should be making room for in your diet.

Whether you’ve been diagnosed with an under or over active thyroid or your test results have come back ‘normal’ but you’re still experiencing symptoms, diet and lifestyle can play a huge role in helping to bring your thyroid function back into balance. It’s crucial that your thyroid gets some love if you’re trying to conceive because thyroid dysfunction can lead to an increased risk of miscarriage along with pregnancy complications and an elevated risk of thyroid problems post partum.

If you haven’t read my last post I’d recommend starting there first (you can read it HERE) before coming back to this one. And at the end of this post I’ll outline some of the things you might want to avoid that may be disrupting your thyroid function. Ok let’s dive in…

The thyroid gland affects every stage of your fertility journey from conception to post natal health


Magnesium is a wonder mineral. It’s needed in the body for thousands of chemical reactions and is involved in everything from your stress response to your sleep. Have you ever wondered why you sleep so well after an epsom salt bath? That would be the magnesium, my friend. For thyroid function specifically it is needed to convert T4 (the mostly inactive thyroid hormone) to T3 (its active counterpart). It also plays a huge role in supporting your body’s stress management which is key for fertility. We have all heard that one well meaning person say to us ‘just relax and the minute you stop trying you’ll fall pregnant.’ That’s not quite the whole truth but there is evidence that stress management can affect fertility outcomes.

So where would we find magnesium you ask? The great news is there are plenty of interesting and actually delicious sources. For the vegetables you’re looking at dark leafy greens such as kale, spinach and chard; and for fruit, bananas and avocados are top sources. Oats and legumes like black beans are dietary staples I recommend to lots of clients along with pumpkin seeds and dark chocolate. Yes, you read that right. Dark chocolate. My only caveat is that you stick to the 75% cocoa and above to ensure the greatest amounts of benefits whilst minimising the sugar content – oh, and think about portion sizes. This is not permission to eat a whole bar. Finally, quinoa and tofu are also good magnesium sources but not quite as tasty as the chocolate some might argue.


Selenium isn’t the most well known mineral but along with iodine it’s vital to thyroid function. Needed for converting T4 to T3 (see above) it also plays a protective role against oxidative damage at a cellular level (microscopic damage that can disrupt your health). That’s not all, throughout the body selenium has a role in fighting inflammation, cognitive health and your reproductive health. It’s not one to overlook, especially if you’re trying to conceive.

Food based sources stem largely from animal protein such as seafood, liver, beef, turkey, chicken and eggs but can also be found in broccoli, spinach, peas and potatoes (albeit in much smaller quantities). The biggest and most well known source of selenium is Brazil nuts. A single nut can often contain more than your daily allowance so err on the safe side and stick to 1-3 nuts per day as doctors advise around 70 mcg selenium a day, and some Brazil nuts can clock in at anywhere between 68-91 mcg each. The bottom line with selenium is to make sure your diet is varied and contains some sources without focussing in too hard on just selenium. It’s all about the balance of these nutrients spread across the week.

One Brazil nut can contain your daily recommended amount of selenium


Zinc is the final much needed mineral I’m talking about today. Well know for its support of the immune system and role in healthy skin it is also needed for TSH production and that all important free T4 to free T3 conversion. If you’re confused about these hormones or terms like ‘free T3’ you can go back to the first thyroid post I did HERE which explains everything you need to know.

Zinc is found in many of the same foods as selenium such as seafood, poultry, eggs and beef. It’s found most highly in oysters and shellfish including crab and lobster but there are plant based sources you shouldn’t skip either. Almonds, cashews, chickpeas, pumpkin seeds, lentils and broccoli all count but the key is (like with everything) balance. Remember that our bodies love diversity and work best when we provide it with different choices and options.

Now, this isn’t an exhaustive list. The thyroid is a complex gland and has many other nutrient requirements such as vitamins A, E, C and D (in varying levels depending on whether your thyroid is running too fast or too slow). What I’m aiming to provide is an overview of the core nutrients that the thyroid needs to do its job. These are the things that I really see making a difference to my client’s thyroid health once they make a conscious decision to actively include them in their weekly meal rotation.

I’ve already touched upon that there are some foods the thyroid really doesn’t like and can affect how well it functions day to day. Things like highly processed foods containing trans-fats and seed oils cause inflammation in the body which the thyroid is sensitive to. I also advise clients to look at how much caffeine and alcohol they are consuming because both of these can irritate the thyroid. Finally, refined and processed sugars and sugar syrups aren’t great for overall health but especially for thyroid health. If you took an honest look at your diet this week what proportion of these would make up your current diet? To be clear, I’m not a huge advocate of cutting lots of foods out but mindful consumption of these foods is really important, and doubly so if supporting your fertility is why you’re reading this. Prenatal and post natal outcomes for both mother and baby are affected by the mother’s diet even before she falls pregnant, with the effects (both positive and negative) on children being seen in research even at age 7 and upwards.

On a final note I want to stress that taking a food first approach is the safest way to look after your thyroid. Trying to supplement individual nutrients or taking thyroid complexes without testing and professional guidance can do more harm than good. Stick with foods; your body will take what it needs because it’s smart like that. You can rarely overeat on the nutrients you need but it’s easy to get a supplement dose wrong which then requires more time and resources to bring your thyroid back into line. It’s not worth the risk.

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And if this post has made you think now is the right time for some personalised support to help manage your thyroid why not book in for a free support session HERE. I’m looking forward to hearing from you.