Goitrogenic Foods and Thyroid Health

by Dr. Andrea Maxim, ND and Author

Can Goitrogenic Foods Affect our Thyroid Health?

If you do not have a thyroid issue, it will not create one, but if your thyroid is under active (hypothyroid) it is thought that they can actually worsen your condition, if it is not being managed medically or naturally already.

How do Goitrogenic Foods Affect the Thyroid Health?

What goitrogens are are naturally-occuring compounds found in these foods that inhibit iodine metabolism.  Iodine is the key nutrient required to make thyroid hormone. For example, T3 = 3 molecules of iodine and T4 is 4 molecules of iodine.  If this is inhibited, then the thyroid cannot create or utilize thyroid hormone.

The myth is that goitrogens will cause a goiter. This is untrue, says Dr.  Datis Kharrazian.  Foods will not cause the goiter but the inflammation from the chronic autoimmune thyroid disease will.


Not all Goitregens are considered equal

Here are some examples of goitrogens:

Bok Choy, Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Kale, Brussels Sprouts, Mustard Greens, Radishes, Spinach,
Strawberries, Pears, Peaches, Pine nuts, Radishes, Soy-Based Foods and Peanuts

Soy-based foods are always something to avoid. Soy is one of the most genetically modified foods and should always be avoided.  Foods like spinach, strawberries and peaches are very mildly goitregenic. Regardless, these foods are so healthy for you that it would be a shame to avoid them.  Broccoli, kale and cabbage are so rich in anti-cancer and antioxidant properties.  They are also rich in B vitamins, vitamins C and K, calcium, magnesium and zinc. These foods are vitally important for keeping the body alkaline, warding off osteoporosis and keeping the body healthy.

Dr. Kharrazian also states. “Any practitioner giving people lists of these [goitrogenic] foods and telling them not to eat them is outdated.”
Dr. Joel Fuhrman stated that “The scientific consensus is that cruciferous vegetables could only be detrimental to thyroid function in cases of iodine deficiency or insufficient iodine intake.”
Cooking inactivated most of the goitrogenic activity in these foods.  If you are worried, certainly eat these foods steamed, sautéed or blanched.  Add them to your smoothie in frozen form, after blanching them. Bottom line, anything is excess will be bad. Eat these foods in moderation and make sure to eat one of every colour every day. Do not worry about the goitrogenic activity of these foods, unless you plan on consuming a ton of them in their raw form.
www.healingjourneynaturopathic.com (Caledonia Clinic) 
www.edgarchiropractic.ca (Burlington Clinic) 
Twitter: @AndreaMaximND 
YouTube: NaturopathicHealing 

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