The thyroid is a very small part of our body but it has some of the most important responsibilities. The thyroid gland is located in the neck and secretes thyroid hormones: T3 (triiodothyronine) and T4 (thyroxine). These are responsible for metabolism, temperature regulation of the body and the heart rate. When the thyroid produces fewer thyroid hormones, the condition is referred to as hypothyroidism. In hypothyroidism, your body has a tendency to ‘slow down,’ experience dullness, fatigue and lethargy and feel cold.

Hypothyroidism could happen as a result of iodine deficiency, autoimmune diseases like Hashimoto’s disease and irregular functioning of the pituitary gland. Some women could also experience this after pregnancy. Hypothyroidism, also called underactive thyroid, is linked to many dangerous diseases and conditions and should hence be effectively managed. This is where diet plays an important role. You must know what not to eat to aggravate hypothyroidism. Here are some foods you must avoid if you have thyroid imbalance:

1) Cabbage, broccoli, cabbage, turnips and other cruciferous vegetables feature at the top of this list. These vegetables are known to hamper thyroid activity by affecting the iodine absorption in the body.

2) Soy products can interfere with the production of the thyroid hormones. This is why soy and soy-based products like soy milk, soy chunks etc are best avoided for those with hypothyroidism.

3) Foods that contain caffeine including your daily cup of coffee, tea and sodas contain compounds that could hamper with the production of iodine. If you are suffering from hypothyroidism and take medication for it, caffeine can also interfere with how these medicines function.

4) One of the common symptoms of hypothyroidism is weight gain. This is why it is best to stay away from foods that contribute to your growing waistline including sugar-based products like desserts, sodas, processed foods, candies etc. Weight gain will further hamper your metabolism.

5) Gluten-based products including bakery products such as biscuits, cakes, cookies, pastries also feature on the list of things that worsen hypothyroidism symptoms.

6) Those with an underactive thyroid must keep a check on their sodium intake as excess sodium can cause high blood pressure which is one of the health complications that could arise out of hypothyroidism. Keep away from processed foods like salami, sausages, bacon, packaged foods including instant noodles and soups and sauces.