Mon, Feb 11, 2019 - Page 2 News List

Doctor says too many nuts worsen thyroid disease

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

People often snack on nuts during the Lunar New Year holiday, but a physician at Taipei City Hospital says that people with thyroid disease should avoid eating them in large amounts.

A 42-year-old woman had been controlling hyperthyroidism — excessive thyroid hormone production — with medication and believed nuts to be a healthy food, full of vitamins and minerals, so she snacked on nuts every day, and often made an “energy soup” of vegetables, fruit juices and nuts for breakfast.

After noticing a lump in her neck and having frequent heart palpitations, difficulty swallowing and sporadic difficulty breathing, she sought medical help.

A doctor advised her to have her thyroid gland removed — known as a thyroidectomy.

Afraid of having surgery, she sought treatment at the Traditional Chinese Medicine Department of Taipei City Hospital’s Renai branch, where attending physician Chou Tzung-han (周宗翰) recommended that she stop eating nuts and high-fat foods for a while.

After the woman took Chinese herbal medicine and avoided eating nuts for about six months, her symptoms went away and the lump in her neck became negligible.

People with thyroid disease often experience worsened symptoms after the holiday, Chou said, adding that for many, the symptoms are from eating too many nuts, which are typically generously coated with seasonings.

Eating too many nuts and high-fat foods leads to an excessive intake of calories, with the metabolic process of gluconeogenesis generating an elevated blood glucose level, which affects the thyroid nodule, he said.

Chemicals added to nuts and processed foods, such as cured meat, canned meat, pickled fruit and vegetables, and foods high in iodine can also affect thyroid secretion, Chou said.

Controling one’s diet is necessary to balance thyroid function, Chou added.

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