Consuming enough selenium and iron and adjusting iodine intake may help manage Graves’ disease.

Graves’ disease is an autoimmune condition and a type of hyperthyroidism, or overactive thyroid. It can affect the heart, muscles, eyes, skin, bones, and liver.

Eating foods that benefit these functions, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, may help manage the condition.

Limiting the intake of potentially harmful foods, such as highly processed foods, may also help.

Read on to learn more about these foods and how certain dietary habits may benefit someone with Graves’ disease.

Here are some foods that may help a person manage the symptoms of Graves’ disease.

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Fresh fruits and vegetables

Fresh fruits and vegetables are good sources of antioxidants. Antioxidants help fight free radicals, or oxidative species — natural byproducts of certain bodily functions that can lead to oxidative stress and inflammation.

Consuming a diet high in antioxidants may help manage thyroid eye disease, or Graves’ ophthalmology, as inflammation appears to play a role in this disease.

Fresh fruits and vegetables also provide fiber, vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients that help maintain overall health.

Learn more here about the anti-inflammatory diet


Selenium is an essential nutrient and an antioxidant. It occurs in high concentrations in the thyroid gland and is necessary for thyroid health and overall well-being.

According to a 2017 research review, selenium supplementation may help manage autoimmune thyroid diseases such as Graves’ disease.

In particular, in people with eye involvement, known as Graves’ orbitopathy, selenium may help:

  • enhance quality of life
  • improve eye symptoms
  • delay the progression of eye problems

Foods that contain selenium include:

Learn more about selenium-rich foods.

Always check with a doctor before using a selenium supplement or other supplements.


Low iron levels can affect the way the body uses thyroid hormone.

If tests show that a person’s iron levels are low, the person may need to consume more iron-rich foods, such as:

Iron supplements can interfere with the action of thyroid medication. Anyone who is considering taking iron or other supplements should speak with a doctor first and follow instructions about how and when to take them.

What are 10 iron-rich foods?

A heart-healthy diet

There is a link between hyperthyroidism and high blood pressure, as well as other cardiovascular problems. Following a heart-healthy diet may help manage these conditions.

What are the 16 top foods for a healthy heart?

Other supplements

Some people take the following as supplements to help manage thyroid disease:

However, there is not enough evidence to determine whether they are safe or effective.

People with Graves’ disease may need to limit, avoid, or adjust their intake of the following nutrients and foods.


Iodine is an essential nutrient that helps maintain healthy thyroid function. However, in some people, a high iodine intake can worsen the symptoms of thyroid conditions such as Graves’ disease.

Foods that are high in iodine include:

A doctor will advise a person on how to manage their iodine intake, as low iodine levels can also cause problems. The iodine needs of a person with Graves’ disease will be specific to the individual.

What is the difference in nutrients between table salt and sea salt?

Ultra-processed foods

Fast foods, packaged snacks, premade baked goods, and other ready-made foods often contain chemical additives. These substances may increase the risk of free radicals and oxidative stress in the body.

A 2019 case report suggests that avoiding highly processed foods may help manage the symptoms of Graves’ disease. But more research is needed.

How do processed foods affect your health?

Gluten and dairy products

People with a sensitivity or an intolerance to gluten or lactose may benefit from avoiding these substances.

However, research has not shown that avoiding gluten or dairy will be helpful for people who do not have an intolerance.


A 2023 study based on data from 2007 through 2012 found that consuming two cups or less of coffee each day may help reduce the risk of low thyroid activity, or hypothyroidism.

However, there was no evidence that caffeine intake affects the risk of hyperthyroidism, such as Graves’ disease.

Nevertheless, cardiac problems — such as arrythmias — can occur as complications of Graves’ disease. Consuming more than 2 to 3 cups of black coffee daily may worsen or increase the risk of arrythmia in the general population.

People with Graves’ disease may need to adjust their caffeine intake if they find they are sensitive to caffeine’s effects.

Pregnancy can be a trigger for Graves’ disease. Anyone with a personal or family history of Graves’ disease should speak with a doctor about how pregnancy might affect them.

A doctor can also advise on specific dietary needs during pregnancy to ensure that a person with Graves’ disease gets the nutrients they need.

Here are some questions people often ask about Graves’ disease and diet.

What foods trigger Graves’ disease?

Iodine, which is present in table salt, may contribute to Graves’ disease. However, many other factors can play a role, including infections, smoking, stress, and pregnancy. People with certain genetic features may have a higher risk.

Is Graves’ disease hard to live with?

Graves’ disease can affect many parts of the body, including the eyes, skin, and heart, but it often responds well to treatment. Following medical advice can help a person manage Graves’ disease and make it easier to live with.

What foods should you avoid if you have Graves’ disease?

People with Graves’ disease may need to limit or monitor their iodine intake. But it is essential to follow a doctor’s instructions, as consuming too little iodine can lead to further thyroid problems.

It is better to favor fresh, whole foods over ultra-processed foods. Highly processed foods are lower in antioxidants and often contain additives that may worsen inflammation.

Ensuring an appropriate balance of selenium, iron, and iodine may help a person manage Graves’ disease, a thyroid disorder.

A doctor may prescribe supplements to ensure that a person gets enough of these nutrients, but certain dietary habits can also support nutritional intake.

Highly processed foods, such as fast foods and premade baked goods, may contain substances that increase the risk of inflammation. Avoiding or limiting these foods may also help.

A dietitian or doctor can advise on specific dietary needs for a person living with Graves’ disease.