Low Iodine Diet before Radioactive Therapy

Choose foods low in iodine such as egg whites rather that whole eggs or egg yolks.  Avoiding foods that contain iodine such as iodized salt, sea salt, seafood, dairy products, egg yolks, bakery products containing iodine, red dye #3, most chocolate, some molasses, soybeans and soybean products, rhubarb and potato skins will help to make Radioactive Iodine Therapy more affective. According to Thyroid Cancer Survivors association eating a low-iodine diet prior to radioactive iodine therapy, increases the effectiveness of the treatment.

A healthy diet full of complex carbohydrates, plant based foods that are full of antioxidants, healthy fats and lean proteins all help protect against re-occurring or possibility of getting another cancer.  Those with cancer are at higher risk of developing a second cancer according to the American Cancer Society.  

According to the American Cancer Society ways to  lower your risk having another cancer occur are achieving and maintaining healthy weight, regular activity, a healthy diet with emphasis plant based foods, reduction of alcohol consumption (no more than 1 drink  for women and 2 drinks for men per day) and staying away from tobacco.  


Sample diet plan is for 1800 calories and foods low in iodine.  Which provides 6 ounces of grains; 4 ¾  cups  of vegetables; 4 ½ cups of fruits; 0 servings of dairy (limit/no dairy during treatment due to iodine); 9 ounces of protein and 6 tablespoons of oil.  This calorie level is typically adequate for women who are sedentary. This sample plan is full of complex carbohydrates, healthy fats, plant based foods, lean proteins and rich tasting foods that can help lower your risk of cancer.  Having a plan for the day that is calorically balanced and what your body needs without excess calories will help to attain and maintain a healthy weight.  For exact needs one must be assessed for health conditions, current weight and activity level to know the exact amount needed but a basic diet listed below is based on 2000 calorie diet and can be adjusted depending on needs.  

Breakfast: Steel Cut Oats with Walnuts and Banana

Start your morning with low Iodine diet with 1 cup of old-fashioned steel oats oatmeal with 0.5 ounces of unsalted and unprocessed walnuts, a medium banana cut up into slices, cinnamon, Stevia sweetener and 8 ounces of almond milk.  To go with it delicious meals add a three egg white omelet with sweet peppers which will help you keep up your energy through the morning. = 490 calories. 


 Morning Snack: Smoothie: Berries, Peanut butter, Almond milk and Stevia. 

Treat yourself to a mid-morning smoothie with 1 cup of mixed berries, raspberries, blueberries and cherries,  ½ of oats , 1 tablespoon of peanut butter and 8 ounces of almond milk.  You can add a little sweet Stevia to add a little extra sweet taste.  = 301 calories. Research has been proven that Berries are perfect natural thyroid treatment. 

Lunch:  Black Bean and Pinto Chili with Grapes 

Chili: ¼ cup black beans, ¼ cup pinto beans, ¼ cup red kidney beans, 1 cup of red chopped tomatoes, 2 tablespoons of onions, ½ sweet peppers and 2 ounces of 93% ground beef.  Add chili powder.  For a sweet treat have cup red grapes. = 427 calories 



Afternoon Snack: Celery with Hummus and an Apple

For a mid-afternoon snack have 4 celery stalks with 4 tablespoons of hummus and a tasty large apple. =200 calories



Nutrition Facts: Adding in plant based proteins can be less expensive alternative to animal based proteins and add extra nutrients that are healthful.  Celery is a vegetable rich in vitamin A, C and K, folate, potassium and fiber.  Celery with high amounts of vitamin A which helps to maintain good skin, teeth, soft tissue and skeletal tissues, when thyroid gland is removed vitamin A may help with repairing the surrounding soft tissue.  Humus, which is made from chick peas, “Chickpeas, for example, are an excellent natural source of zinc and copper, two minerals that are essential for the development and function of immune cells. Just one cup of cooked chickpeas (164 grams or 5.7 oz) provides nearly 30% of the Daily Value for copper and about 17% of the Daily Value for zinc.”

You ever heard an apple a day keeps the doctor away, this may be true! “Increasing dietary consumption of fresh apple- with the skins on provides additional phytochemicals that have a long-term health benefit and may prevent or reduce risk of some chronic disease…..The major antioxidant components in apples are polyphenols, contained mainly in the skin.  They are quercetin and phloretin glycosides; chologenic acid; and epicatechin. Quercetin has proven helpful in reducing carcinogenic activity, inhibiting enzymatic activities associated with several types of tumor cells, enhancing the antiproliferation activity of anticancer agents, and inhibiting the growth of cells that have undergone tumorigenesis (tumor production).  Unfortunately, the skins of commercially grown apples are likely to contain pesticide residue, a waxed coating, and dirt that is trapped under the wax.  For this reason, if you intend to eat the skins, it is important to obtain organically grown apples.”  (Hunter, 2006)  Make sure to eat the apple in its whole form to get the added benefit of fiber.

Dinner: Chicken Breast with Wild Rice and Side Salad: 3 ounce boneless and skinless chicken breast and 1 cup of wild rice add a side salad with 2 cups of lettuce, 12 cherry tomatoes topped with oil and vinegar salad dressing.  = 429 calories




According to American Cancer Society Nutrition for Persons with Cancer during treatment: “The best sources of carbohydrates – fruits, vegetables, and whole grains – also supply needed vitamins and minerals, fiber, and phytonutrients to the body’s cells. (Phytonutrients are chemicals in plant-based foods that we don’t need to live, but that might promote health.)”  Nutrition and health can be delicious and nutritious at the same time when using foods full of color (as coined by choosemyplate.gov eat the rainbow, which is natures rainbow in foods) and high quality nutrients.  Food is one of the best medicines we can use to fight disease and have a better quality of life.  The diet plan has been suggested as natural remedies for Thyroid using food and changing your diet to help you live a healthier life.


1. Sugar and Cancer (2014, July)  https://www.oncologynutrition.org/erfc/healthy-nutrition-now/sugar-and-cancer/

2. Nutrition for the Person with Cancer during Treatment: A Guide for Patients and Families. (July 15, 2015).  American Cancer Society.  Retrieved from http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/cid/documents/webcontent/002903-pdf.pdf

3. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20199996

4. http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/cid/documents/webcontent/002043-pdf.pdf

5. http://www.ucsfhealth.org/education/hemoglobin_and_functions_of_iron/

6. https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002400.htm

7. https://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/patient-education/radioactive-iodine-therapy-thyroid-outpatient-treatment

8. http://www.healwithfood.org/health-benefits/chickpeas-weight-loss-cholesterol.php#ixzz3s9sT2QR7

9. Hunter, B.  (2006.) A Whole Foods Primer A Comprehensive, Instructive, and Enlightening Guide to the World of Whole Foods.  Laguna Beach, CA.  Basic Health publishing.

a. New edition for this book was done in 2013.