When I went for my check-up, the doctor gave me a long list of foods that I should avoid to keep the hypothyroidism in check.
Most would be easy to do - broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower never rated very high on my list of favourites. Some like burgers, pizzas and puffs would require a little more effort but were foods that one should restrict in any case. And some like alcohol and carbonated drinks I rarely indulged in even before the illness.
Just one item made me stop on my tracks - caffeine. While I would like to deny I am a caffeine addict, I cannot survive without multiple mugs of coffee, especially when I am working to a tight deadline.
“What does avoid caffeine mean, doctor?” I could barely mask the worry in my voice.
“If you have one cup a day that is fine. If you have three to four cups a day, you have to cut down.”
“What about two cups?” I was clutching at straws, but the doctor just smiled and refused to be drawn into a discussion.
For three days, I restricted myself to a single cup of tea a day. But when I spoke to two people who I knew suffered from hypothyroidism, both were categorical that they had not heard of any such restriction.
“This is the first I have heard about it”, one said. “Though, I have on my own tried to restrict my caffeine intake to a couple of cups of coffee a day, and the occasional chai.”
We spoke about it for a bit, before she gave me her parting advice. “I think you can safely have a cup of tea and a cup of coffee. And a large pinch of salt for the doctor’s advice.”
That made sense, but I know that once I permit myself even one cup of coffee a day, I will gradually slide back to my old ways. Which I would rather not risk. So I am now permitting myself two cups of tea a day, but no more.
But the through of living the rest of my life without coffee is daunting. Does anyone know if there is any truth in the 'avoid caffeine if you have hypothyroidism' bit?