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Is buckwheat good for your thyroid?

With so many claims out on the internet, it's good to take a neutral look at whether or not buckwheat is a super food for your thyroid.
Is Buckwheat Good For Thyroid? - Healthy Grains Guide

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Buckwheat has long been touted as a healthy food due to its high fiber content. This grain also contains antioxidants and phytonutrients that support overall wellness and has therefore made its way into the sphere of health-conscious individuals looking to boost their overall well-being, and keep their health at peak levels.

Buckwheat is a nutritious pseudo-cereal that offers several health benefits, but its relationship with thyroid function is nuanced. There are a number of health benefits that are often attributed to buckwheat – including claims that it can be beneficial for thyroid conditions, and improve the symptoms and quality of life of those suffering from thyroid-related conditions – but these claims are often debated.

Let’s take a closer look at these claims to better understand buckwheat’s potential role in supporting healthy thyroid function.

What is buckwheat?

Buckwheat is a type of plant known as Fagopyrum esculentum, which means “fodder grain”. It is a member of the pea family (Fabaceae) and is native to China, Japan, Korea, Mongolia, Russia, Siberia, and other parts of Asia.

The seeds of this plant have been cultivated since ancient times and were used by many cultures throughout history as a staple food source. 

Today, buckwheat is grown on over 400 million acres worldwide, making it one of the most widely consumed grains in the world.

Buckwheat is rich in protein, vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber, and is considered an excellent source of iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper, manganese, zinc, vitamin B6, folate, niacin, thiamine, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, biotin, calcium, and selenium.

What is a thyroid?

Your thyroid is a gland that produces hormones which regulate your metabolism, growth, development, and energy production. Your thyroid gland sits just below your Adam’s apple and behind your voice box.

It is made up of two lobes:

  1. Right lobe controls the metabolic rate
  2. Left lobe regulates the heart rate

Functions of the thyroid

  1. Hormone production: The thyroid produces three hormones – thyroxine (T4), triiodothyronine (T3), and calcitonin
    • T3 and T4: These hormones regulate the body’s metabolic rate, heart and digestive functions, muscle control, brain development, mood, and bone maintenance. Their production is influenced by the thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), which is released by the pituitary gland
    • Calcitonin: It’s involved in the regulation of calcium levels in the blood
  2. Metabolism regulation: Thyroid hormones play a pivotal role in determining how the body uses energy, influencing processes like temperature regulation and calorie burning
  3. Growth and development: Thyroid hormones are essential for the growth and development of all tissues, including the brain and bones
  4. Calcium regulation: The thyroid gland helps regulate the body’s calcium levels, which is vital for nerve conduction, muscle contraction, and blood clotting

Common thyroid disorders:

  1. Hypothyroidism: A condition where the thyroid doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormones. Symptoms can include fatigue, weight gain, cold intolerance, and depression
  2. Hyperthyroidism: The opposite of hypothyroidism, this condition involves the overproduction of thyroid hormones. Symptoms can include weight loss, heat intolerance, anxiety, and rapid heartbeat
  3. Goiter: An enlargement of the thyroid gland, which can be due to iodine deficiency, inflammation, or tumors
  4. Thyroid nodules: Small lumps or growths in the thyroid gland. While most are benign, some can be cancerous
  5. Thyroiditis: Inflammation of the thyroid, which can be caused by autoimmune conditions, infections, or medications
  6. Thyroid cancer: Although relatively rare, cancers can develop in the thyroid gland.

The thyroid’s function can be influenced by various factors, including iodine intake, autoimmune conditions, infections, tumors, and certain medications. Regular check-ups and blood tests can help monitor thyroid health and ensure its proper functioning.

How can buckwheat affect the thyroid?

Buckwheat’s impact on the thyroid is multifaceted. While it offers several health benefits, there are also considerations to keep in mind, especially for individuals with thyroid conditions or concerns.

Often people tout buckwheat as a good source of iodine, which is important to your thyroid. Why? The thyroid gland uses iodine to create thyroid hormones. Iodine is an essential nutrient that our bodies need to function normally. It is also needed by the thyroid gland to produce thyroid hormones.

Iodine is found naturally in seaweed, seafood, dairy products, eggs, meat, poultry, fish, nuts, beans, lentils, peas, soybeans, and of course, buckwheat.

Buckwheat does contain iodine, but it’s not considered a particularly rich source of this essential mineral. The iodine content in buckwheat can vary based on the soil in which it’s grown, as iodine levels in soil can differ significantly from one region to another.

Iodine is crucial for thyroid function, as it’s a key component of the thyroid hormones thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). These hormones regulate various metabolic processes in the body.

While buckwheat does contribute to dietary iodine intake, foods like seaweed, fish, dairy products, and iodized salt are typically more significant sources of iodine in the diet.

Benefits of buckwheat for thyroid health

  1. Essential nutrients: Buckwheat contains essential nutrients like zinc, selenium, and iodine, which play crucial roles in thyroid function. A deficiency in these nutrients can lead to thyroid disorders
  2. High in fiber: Buckwheat is rich in dietary fiber, which can support gut health. A healthy gut is essential for the conversion of the thyroid hormone T4 to its active form, T3
  3. Antioxidant properties: Buckwheat contains antioxidants like rutin, which can help combat oxidative stress. Oxidative stress has been linked to various health issues, including thyroid disorders
  4. Gluten-free: Buckwheat is naturally gluten-free, making it a suitable grain alternative for those with thyroid conditions like Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, where gluten sensitivity might be a concern


Buckwheat, like other foods such as soy, broccoli, and cabbage, contains compounds known as goitrogens. These compounds can interfere with thyroid hormone production by inhibiting the uptake of iodine by the thyroid gland. However, the goitrogenic effect of buckwheat is relatively mild compared to some other foods, and moderate consumption is unlikely to cause issues in individuals with healthy thyroids.

Antioxidant-Rich Foods

How does buckwheat benefit your thyroid?

A healthy thyroid gland is essential for proper metabolism, energy production, and hormone regulation.

When you eat a diet that includes plenty of whole grains like buckwheat, you can help ensure that your thyroid function remains optimal.

Whole grain consumption

Research shows that diets rich in whole grains, including buckwheat, are associated with improved thyroid function. This is because whole grains contain a variety of nutrients that work together to support thyroid health.


Whole grains are a great source of soluble fiber, which promotes regularity and helps keep blood sugar levels steady.

Soluble fiber binds to bile salts and fats in the digestive tract, helping them move through the system more quickly. It also supports normal bowel movements by increasing stool bulk.

Whole grains are also an excellent source of insoluble fiber, which helps maintain a healthy colon. Insoluble fiber absorbs water and increases stool volume, making it easier to pass.

The combination of soluble and insoluble fibers found in whole grains helps balance blood sugar levels, which is especially important if you have hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism.


Buckwheat is one of the richest sources of antioxidants among all whole grains. Antioxidants are substances that neutralize harmful oxygen molecules called free radicals.

Free radicals cause damage to cells throughout the body, leading to conditions such as atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), arthritis, cataracts, and other degenerative diseases.

Buckwheat has a higher concentration of antioxidants than most other whole grains, including oats, barley, rye, brown rice, quinoa, millet, amaranth, spelt, kamut, and triticale.

The antioxidant content of buckwheat varies depending on how it’s processed. Raw buckwheat contains about 2-3 times more antioxidants than cooked buckwheat.


As we have mentioned, many studies suggest that eating foods containing phytochemicals can help protect against certain types of cancer, and this can be relevant when discussing the thyroid. Phytochemicals are plant chemicals that act as natural antibiotics.

Some research suggests they may even prevent cancer from developing in the first place, and the seeds and flour are thought to be the most potent elements of the grain for helping with this.

Final thoughts

If you’re looking for a grain that will give your thyroid a boost, look no further than buckwheat. Whole grains like buckwheat provide a wide range of benefits for overall health, including supporting thyroid function.