Issue # 203 May 15, 2014
Welcome to KnowYourThyroid.
Today, we are going to discuss vegetables. As you all know, I am a huge advocate for using nutrition to heal your thyroid. However, there are a few veggies out there that are not quite as good for us with hypothyroidism as they may seem.
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Why Raw Kale Might Not be Good For You
If you follow the latest health trends, you know that kale is viewed as a glorified vegetable that we must eat every day. So why would I write an article about kale being not so good for you? Well, here is the thing, uncooked raw kale may not be a good fit for your diet. I too jumped on the latest health trend wagon a couple years ago. It would never cross my mind that such an innocent super vegetable could be bad for my health. Struggling with thyroid issues, I dug deep into the can and cannot’s for people with my condition. I discovered that for me to be able to eat kale, it has to be cooked. I was bummed a bit because I used to add it into my smoothies daily. So let me explain why kale might not be good for you.
Kale belongs to the Cruciferous vegetable family along with cabbage, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, turnips and collards. Raw Cruciferous vegetables contain thyroid inhibitors known as Goitrogens. (From Wikipedia: “Goitrogens are substances that suppress the function of the thyroid gland by interfering with iodine uptake, which can, as a result, cause an enlargement of the thyroid, i.e., a goiter). Goitrogens work by inhibiting iodine metabolism. And we know, iodine is important in the formation of thyroid hormones. This leads to the improper utilization of iodine by the thyroid gland and an interruption of thyroid hormone production. In fact, eating raw Cruciferous vegetables actually suppresses your thyroid’s hormone production which results in fatigue, coldness in your body and a slowing of your metabolism. (source) So when consuming Cruciferous vegetables, it’s necessary to cook them to avoid thyroid-suppression.
Remember, kale along with other Cruciferous vegetables are only considered to be Goitrogens in their raw state. So just a little bit of steaming or cooking the kale will get rid of the problem all together.
Does this mean you should never eat raw Cruciferous vegetables? Of course, not. If you don’t suffer from any thyroid issues, a little bit of raw kale will not hurt you and it most likely won’t lead to the development of a thyroid condition. So If you don’t have a thyroid issue, kale should be a part of your diet because it’s a nutritious superstar that supports strong bones (due to its high calcium content), boosts immunity because it is rich in Vitamin C, supports blood health as it is high in Iron and the list goes on.
However , for someone who has a thyroid condition, especially hypothyroidism, like me, eating raw Cruciferous vegetables can actually worsen your condition… so cook these veggies. After all, it’s a win win situation: you get more nutrients out these veggies and prevent yourself from more damage to your delicate thyroid.
As I stated earlier, I am a fan of nutrition for healing. For a plan that focuses on comforting foods and healing the thyroid, try The Natural Thyroid Diet.