Thursday, August 20, 2009

Caffein with a pinch of salt

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?
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4 comments:

Marybeth Poppins said...

I thankfully do not enjoy coffee...wait wait wait...don't delete my comment! I swear I've tried before!!! I just don't like the taste!

BUT I do try to stay away from caffeine because I don't want to get hooked. I haven't heard about it being bad in regards to hypothyroidism, but I have heard it's not good in general.

Thanks for stopping by my blog by the way. Loved all the comments. Especially the "short" ones :)

Galen Kindley--Author said...

Sorry, I know nothing about the veracity of caffeine and hyperthyroidism. I, too, have a Drs. Appointment. Mine is on the 25th. I'd rather fight a nest of tarantulas than go, but, my wife will make me. Sigh.

Best Regards, Galen
Imagineering Fiction Blog

Cruella Collett said...

Natasha - I know nothing about hyperthyroidism so I googled a bit out of interest, and what I found was a site that might be useful: http://www.thyroid.org - which is the American thyroid association. There was a search function there, so I typed in "coffee", and there was one article there that suggested that caffeine might have an impact on how well patients responded to the medication often (always?) used to treat hyperthyroidism - levothyroxine. The link to the article is here: http://www.thyroid.org/professionals/publications/clinthy/volume20/issue3/clinthy_v203_24_25.pdf

Thyroid set aside, though, I'd say that what you're doing with cutting back on coffee (though not necessarily cutting completely) might be a good idea anyway - a cup or two a day is probably okay, but there is no shame in leaving tea rings either ;) Or, if the coffee appeals more to you, have you tried decaf?

Carnimire said...

@Mari - that article was definitely useful. I could never find any refernces to hyperthyroidism and caffeine - now I know there is a potential one, but one that doesn't require total abstinence.
But having said that, I don't really trust myself to restrict my intake - if I allow myself one cup a day, it will soon go upto two and then three, and before I know it I am back to my bad old ways. Let's see how this whole thing goes.

@Galen - just a routine appointment, I hope. Somehow, I have started breaking into cold sweat the thought of doctors these days.

@Marybeth - there is no accounting for taste, is there. I can't imagine anyone not liking the taste of coffee, but there are lots of things I dislike that others swear by.
And yes, it is precisely becuase coffee is not too good overall that I have decided to completely abstain for a month or two and see how it goes.

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