What foods to avoid if you have hyperparathyroidism

What foods to avoid if you have hyperparathyroidism

Eating healthy is one of the best things you can do for yourself. The food you eat can sometimes cause you an illness and other times prevent you from being sick. It is very common for doctors to ask a sick person to avoid certain foods. In the case what foods to avoid if you have hyperparathyroidism

In this article, we will discuss the different foods you should avoid if you have hyperparathyroidism.

What is Hyperparathyroidism?

Ever heard of the parathyroid gland in your body? These glands are four pea-sized glands located at the back of your neck.

They help in the production of a hormone called the parathyroid hormone which is responsible for the control of calcium.

Hyperparathyroidism is a health condition due to the production of excess parathyroid hormones by your parathyroid glands.

One or two of the four parathyroid glands can become hyperactive producing more parathyroid hormone than normal. This in turn leads to an increase in the level of calcium in your body.

What causes hyperparathyroidism

If you have been diagnosed with hyperparathyroidism, you may be wondering what could have been the cause. Hyperparathyroidism could be a result of the following;

  1. A non-cancerous tumor cell in your parathyroid gland is usually a primary cause.
  2. A reduction in the calcium level of your body. This is a secondary cause of hyperparathyroidism in which there is a renal disease leading to a decrease of calcium in the body. It could also be a result of a deficiency in vitamin D.  This causes the parathyroid gland to produce more calcium although your parathyroid gland may be functioning effectively.
  3. When the secondary cause lasts for a long period of time, it becomes similar to the primary cause leading to a tertiary cause of hyperparathyroidism.
  4. An underlying health condition. A health condition could also lead to an increase in the calcium level of your body.

What foods to avoid if you have hyperparathyroidism

All these causes could be due to the following;

  1.  Age: people above the age of 50 are more susceptible to hyperparathyroidism.
  2. A benign tumor in the parathyroid gland.
  3. An attack on the parathyroid gland; in some cases when your immune system is low, there is an attack on the parathyroid gland. This is because your immune system will recognize your parathyroid tissue as a foreign body. Hence, your parathyroid gland will stop producing the parathyroid hormone.
  4. Accidental removal of your parathyroid gland during neck surgery.
  5. A low intake of food that is not rich in calcium could also cause hyperparathyroidism.

Signs and symptoms of hyperparathyroidism.

There are different signs and symptoms of hyperparathyroidism and this depends on the cause. Your body may choose to show more symptoms than signs. Neglecting these signs or symptoms could lead to an adverse effect thereby worsening your state of health.

Therefore, if you’re experiencing one or more of these symptoms you’re advised to see a doctor (that is if you’ve not been diagnosed with hyperparathyroidism already).

These signs and symptoms include;

  • Nausea
  • Severe fatigue or tiredness
  • Abdominal discomfort
  • Lack of concentration
  • Muscle cramp or weakness
  • Joint pain
  • Dehydration
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Frequent urination.
  • Constipation
  • Excessive thirst.

All these are signs and symptoms of hyperparathyroidism. Although if you do not see a doctor or if these signs are ignored, it could lead to other severe symptoms such as

  • Osteoporosis
  • Dehydration
  • Joint pain
  • Itching
  • Memory loss
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Patchy hair loss.

It is advisable you see a doctor if you are experiencing these symptoms.

What foods to avoid if you have hyperparathyroidism
What foods to avoid if you have hyperparathyroidism

What foods to avoid if you have hyperparathyroidism

Most times when you’re sick, you’re asked to stay away from certain foods. This can be quite difficult especially if these foods are what you really like. Regardless, you have to discipline yourself to avoid these foods in order to stay healthy.

Although you may feel it’s not necessary to avoid them because you’re on medication, it is best you avoid them. Also, you can have a dietician (if you can afford to) then you should. As they can aid you in choosing the right food to take when you’re sick.

In other words, if you’ve been diagnosed with hyperparathyroidism, there are some foods which you should avoid and these are;

Red meat

It may seem impossible for you to avoid red meat because it is nutritious and proteinous. However, red meat is unhealthy not only for people diagnosed with hyperparathyroidism but for everybody. This is because red meat has a high amount of cholesterol and could lead to other diseases such as heart diseases, diabetes, and many more.

It could also lead to inflammations if consumed for a long period of time. You can use chicken, fish, salmon, crabs, etc to replace red meat in your food. If you’ve been diagnosed with hyperparathyroidism then you should avoid red meat.


Sugar elevates the calorie count and glycemic index of food and slows down your recovery from hyperparathyroidism. Therefore, all food products containing any form of sugar such as dextrose, sugarcane, syrups, and fructose should be avoided.

Even sweet food like cakes, chocolate, jams, cookies, and pastries should also be avoided. You can replace them with snacks that don’t contain sugar.

processed foods

Foods such as white bread, cereals, pasta, noodles and many more are processed foods you should avoid if you have hyperparathyroidism. This food has little or no nutritional value and causes indigestion. They can also cause an increase in your blood sugar level and hormones.

You can replace them with beans, oat, wheat bread, barley, and other whole-grain products.

High Iodine food

Iodine is a mineral that is present in salt and other food supplements. It helps in the production of thyroid hormone therefore taking food that contains iodine worsens hyperparathyroidism. Nevertheless, if you’re diagnosed with hyperparathyroidism, you must stay away from iodized salt and other food supplements such as egg yolk, fish like tuna, cod, seaweeds, that contain iodine. These high iodine foods could worsen your state of health.

Nitrate containing foods

Another food you should limit is food containing Nitrate. This is because nitrate is a mineral that helps your body in the absorption of iodine, similarly worsening hyperparathyroidism. Food with nitrate includes; spinach, cabbage, pumpkin, cucumber, lettuce, carrot, celery, etc.

Foods made with hydrogenated vegetable oil

Hydrogenated vegetable oil contains trans fat which is unhealthy. It is used in making commercial foods such as snacks, biscuits, cookies, baked food, onion rings, pie crust, and so on. It is advisable you stay away from these foods as symptoms of hyperparathyroidism become worse when you take them.

Allergic food

It is very important that you stay away from the food you are allergic to if you are diagnosed with hyperparathyroidism.

Drinks you should avoid include


It is very important you completely avoid the intake of alcohol if you’ve been diagnosed with hyperparathyroidism. Taking alcohol can cause a whole lot of complications to your state of health. Moreover, it lowers the production of thyroid hormone and reduces the ability of your body to use this hormone.

Your cortisol level also increases with the intake of alcohol. So it is a must that you entirely avoid it so as not to worsen your health condition.


Drinks containing caffeine such as coffee, tea, chocolate drinks, energy drinks, carbonated drinks, and soda should not be taken if you have hyperparathyroidism. Consuming these drinks can lead to anxiety, tremors, and even insomnia as they are toxic to the body.


Excess consumption of juices can also worsen hyperparathyroidism. Stay away from all acidic fruit juice especially orange juice. You can replace them with lemon juice or even homemade fruit juice, without the addition of oranges.

Other things you should avoid include


Smoking does more harm than good to the body. Avoid smoking completely if you have been diagnosed with hyperparathyroidism. First, smoking decreases calcium intake, lowers the level of vitamin D, and lowers bone mineral density.

Furthermore, it increases the secretion of calcium in your urine and this causes an imbalance of calcium hence leading to an increase in your parathyroid hormone.

What foods to avoid if you have hyperparathyroidism

Why you should avoid these foods

You are what you eat. Despite taking medications, you should really be cautious of what you eat when you’re sick. A good and balanced diet will play a huge role in your overall state of health when you are treating hyperparathyroidism.

Most of these foods can worsen your symptoms and may lead to further complications. You should avoid this food to;

  • Relieve your parathyroid glands of strain and further damage
  • Adjust the intake of calcium in your body.
  • Promote good nutritional status by providing your body with the appropriate nutrients.
  • Lower the risk of side effects
  • Avoid other health complications such as diabetes.
  • Maintain electrolyte and fluid balance in the body.
  • Control adverse signs and symptoms.
  • Promote quick recovery.

All this and more are reasons you should stay away from those foods.

The food you should take

The best food you should take when you’re diagnosed with hyperparathyroidism are foods that are rich in calcium and vitamin D supplements. These foods are very healthy and can promote your recovery.

Moreover, eating these foods will help you maintain a healthy diet in the long term. There are numerous food choices you can take and they include;


Sweet potatoes


Green vegetables like okra, broccoli and the likes.


lemon juice

Take lots of water

High-fiber diet.

whole-grain bread.

A dietician can help you make the right choice of diet and can as well plan your daily food intake. Recommended and proper dieting is very necessary for the treatment of hyperparathyroidism.



You don’t have to be scared if you have been diagnosed with hyperparathyroidism. All you have to do is see a physician and be very careful of what you eat. Hyperparathyroidism is a treatable condition and maintaining a healthy diet can strengthen your overall health.

Eating foods you should avoid can worsen your health. Moreover, maintaining a healthy and proper diet is just like maintaining a good habit. You should see a dietician to enhance your diet.