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Thyroid Health: Why Coffee May Not Be Your Cup of Tea

Do you enjoy starting your day with a cup of coffee? You are not alone.

Coffee is one of the most widely consumed beverages, loved for its rich flavor and energy-boosting properties. However, if you have thyroid issues, drinking coffee may not be the best choice for you.

In this article, we explore the negative effects of coffee on thyroid function and provide actionable tips to help you manage your thyroid health.

Adrenal Function and Thyroid Connection

The thyroid gland is a small butterfly-shaped gland located in the neck that produces hormones that control metabolism. The adrenal gland is a small gland located on top of each kidney that produces hormones responsible for the physiological response to stress.

The thyroid gland and the adrenal gland work together to ensure that our bodies function properly. In particular, cortisol, the hormone released by the adrenal gland in response to stress, has a direct impact on thyroid function.

When we consume coffee, it stimulates the release of cortisol, the stress hormone. This increase in cortisol levels can affect thyroid function negatively in several ways.

Firstly, high cortisol levels can interfere with normal cortisol production, resulting in adrenal fatigue. This causes imbalances in the levels of thyroid hormones, leading to deteriorating thyroid function over time.

Secondly, high cortisol levels can interfere with the conversion of thyroid hormones into the active form that our bodies need to perform optimally. This means that even though there may be enough thyroid hormone produced for normal functioning, it may not be available to the body, leading to hypothyroidism.

Coffee’s Impact on Intestinal Activity and Absorption of Thyroid Medication

Did you know that coffee can affect intestinal activity and the absorption rate of medications? This includes thyroid medication.

When we consume coffee, our intestines become more active, leading to a faster transit time. This means that the food we eat and the medication we take move more quickly through the digestive system, with less time for absorption into the bloodstream.

With less absorption, there is lower bioavailability of thyroid medication in the body. This can lead to undertreatment of hypothyroidism, where thyroid medication is not effective, and certain symptoms of the condition persist.

Coffee’s Increase of Cortisol and TSH Levels

As mentioned earlier, coffee increases cortisol levels in the body. In addition to causing adrenal fatigue, high cortisol levels can increase the production of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) by the pituitary gland.

This hormone regulates the production of thyroid hormones in the thyroid gland. When TSH levels are high, it can result in hyperthyroidism, a condition where the thyroid gland produces too much thyroid hormone for the body’s needs.

This condition can lead to a variety of symptoms, including rapid heart rate, tremors, and weight loss.

Drinking Coffee with Thyroid Issues

If you have thyroid issues, it is essential to consult with a trusted healthcare professional before making any changes to your diet or medication regimen. Your doctor may suggest the following tips to help manage your thyroid health.

Recommended Consultation with Doctor

If you are experiencing symptoms such as fatigue, weight gain, sensitivity to cold, and joint pain, it is essential to speak to your doctor. These symptoms can indicate that your thyroid function may be compromised.

Your doctor can recommend tests, including TSH and thyroid hormone tests, to check the levels of hormones in your body.

Optimal Timing for Taking Thyroid Medication

If you are taking thyroid medication, timing is crucial. It is best to take thyroid medication in the morning before eating or drinking anything except water.

This will ensure maximum absorption and efficacy.

Alternative Drinks to Coffee

If you are looking for a coffee substitute, there are several alternatives you could choose from. These include herbal teas like peppermint, ginger, and chamomile, which have anti-inflammatory and gut healing properties.

You could also try warm lemon water, which is an excellent stimulant for the digestive system and a great way to start the day.


In conclusion, while coffee may be a beloved drink for many, it may not be the best choice for individuals with thyroid issues. The negative effects of coffee on thyroid function include adrenal fatigue, reduced intestinal absorption of thyroid medication, and increased cortisol and TSH levels.

It is important to consult with a doctor and follow their recommendations regarding diet and medication management. Try to eliminate or reduce the intake of coffee and consider alternative drinks that can benefit thyroid function.

By taking these steps, you can optimize your thyroid health, leading to improved overall wellbeing.

Alternative Drinks to Coffee

If you are looking for alternatives to coffee, there are several options that you can try. These drinks not only provide a range of health benefits but also offer distinctive flavors that can help you perk up.

Dandelion Coffee

Dandelion coffee is made from roasted dandelion roots, which have a slightly bitter and earthy taste. This beverage contains probiotics that aid in gut health, promote bile production, and enhance liver function.

It also helps to detoxify the body, reduce inflammation, and boost immune function.

Yerba Mate

Yerba Mate is a smoky tea made from the leaves and stems of the yerba mate plant. It is packed with antioxidants that help to combat free radicals and inflammation.

Yerba mate also contains theophylline, a natural stimulant that energizes the body without causing anxiety or jitters. This drink is an excellent coffee alternative for those who want a rich, flavorful drink with no crash afterward.

Rooibos Tea

Rooibos tea is a caffeine-free herbal drink made from the dried leaves of the rooibos plant. It is an excellent coffee alternative for individuals who prefer a subtler flavor.

Rooibos tea is packed with polyphenols, which help to reduce inflammation, promote healthy digestion, and boost immune function. It is also rich in antioxidants, such as aspalathin and quercetin, which help to combat free radicals and improve overall health.

Coconut Water and Smoothies

Coconut water is a refreshing drink that is packed with electrolytes, potassium, and magnesium. It is a great alternative to coffee for individuals who want a hydrating drink that provides natural energy.

In addition to coconut water, smoothies made with fruits and vegetables can also be an excellent alternative to coffee. They provide the body with vital nutrients and antioxidants, which help to boost immunity, reduce inflammation, and improve overall health.


Spirulina is a type of alga that is rich in protein, vitamins, and minerals. It is a great supplement for individuals who want to improve their stamina, endurance, and circulation.

This superfood is also rich in chlorophyll, which helps to detoxify the body and reduce inflammation. You can add spirulina powder to smoothies and juices or mix it with water for an energizing drink.

Foods to Avoid with Thyroid Issues

If you have thyroid issues, it is crucial to be mindful of what you eat because certain foods can interfere with thyroid function. Here are some of the foods that individuals with thyroid issues should avoid.


Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye products. It can cause digestive problems and inflammation in individuals with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.

However, even individuals who do not have gluten sensitivity may experience digestive discomfort after consuming gluten-containing foods. These digestive issues can interfere with thyroid function and exacerbate symptoms of thyroid dysfunction.

Soy and Soy-Derived Products

Soy products contain isoflavones, which can interfere with thyroid function by blocking the absorption of thyroid hormone. This can lead to hypothyroidism, where there is a decreased production of thyroid hormones.

Soy is also unfermented in most cases, which makes it impossible to digest and can cause digestive issues. Therefore it is best to avoid soy products if you have thyroid issues.

Junk Food and Processed Sweets

Junk food and processed sweets contain high amounts of sugar, unhealthy fats, and additives that can exacerbate inflammation and disrupt hormone function. These foods can also cause an increase in blood sugar levels, which can affect thyroid hormone levels and cause mood disorders, such as anxiety and depression.


Alcohol interferes with the production and conversion of thyroid hormones. It can also affect metabolism and lead to weight gain, which can exacerbate thyroid issues.

If you have thyroid issues, it is best to keep alcohol consumption minimal, if at all.

Cruciferous Vegetables

Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and kale contain goitrogens, which are compounds that can interfere with thyroid hormone production. These vegetables can cause thyroid dysfunction by blocking the absorption of iodine, which is necessary for the production of thyroid hormones.

Therefore, it is best to consume cruciferous vegetables in moderation if you have thyroid issues.


In conclusion, if you have thyroid issues, it is essential to be mindful of what you eat and drink. Consuming foods that interfere with thyroid function, such as gluten, soy, and cruciferous vegetables, can exacerbate symptoms of thyroid dysfunction.

Therefore it would be best to avoid these foods and consider incorporating alternatives like dandelion coffee, yerba mate, rooibos tea, smoothies, spirulina, and coconut water. These alternatives provide a range of health benefits, including improved digestion, boosted immunity, enhanced liver function, detoxification, and inflammation reduction, making them great coffee substitutes for individuals with thyroid issues.

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