Claire Georgiou, Reboot With Joe Thyroid Nation

A QUESTION that is often asked about Goitrogens

‘What fruits and vegetables should I avoid if I have a thyroid condition?’

It has been shown that some vegetables, cruciferous (goitrogens) can interfere with the way thyroid hormones are manufactured by the thyroid gland. Goitrogens are naturally-occuring substances found in various foods that suppress the function of the thyroid gland by interfering with iodine uptake. (Some cruciferous vegetables contain goitrogens).

Most of us know, the thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ  that sits near your vocal cords and produces thyroid hormones that control your metabolism. Symptoms of an under active thyroid gland can be low body temperature, constipation, weight gain, hair loss, dry flaky skin and nails, fluid retention, slow reflexes, fatigue and slow thoughts and cognition. Thyroid problems can develop for a number of reasons, but the most common causes of thyroid problems are nutrient deficiencies such as iodine, vitamin B12 and selenium deficiencies, autoimmune disease, genetics, stress and environmental factors. The most common type of thyroid problem is hypothyroidism (under active gland). Goitrogens suppress the function of the thyroid gland by interfering and blocking the enzyme that allows your thyroid to use iodine, this can cause an enlargement of the thyroid (goitre). Iodine is important in the formation of thyroid hormone. So, by inhibiting iodine, there will be a decrease in thyroid hormone.** Iodine deficiency has re-emerged in Australia and around the globe in recent years.

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If your diet is deficient in iodine and/or selenium, or you have an underactive thyroid, known as hypothyroidism, eating raw cruciferous vegetables can further suppress your thyroid hormone function. It is therefore suggested to avoid consuming LARGE amounts of RAW cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, bok choy, broccolini, chinese cabbage, kale, kohlrabi, radish, mustard greens, collard greens, choy sum, horseradish and turnips. Isothiocyanates are the category of substances in cruciferous vegetables that have been associated with decreased thyroid function. Soy contains goitrogens, although fermenting soy disables the goitrogenic isoflavones found in soy foods. Other foods containing smaller amounts are spinach, strawberries, peaches and peanuts. It remains important to consume the foods listed above for their health promoting properties at least a few times per week. Cruciferous vegetables have been shown in studies to decrease the risk of many types of cancer, particularly bowel and breast cancer. Cruciferous vegetables are high in vitamins, minerals and phyto-nutrients. The American Cancer Society suggests eating one serving of cruciferous vegetables every day.

Since cooking has been shown to inactivate the goitrogenic compounds, for individuals with deficient thyroid hormone production, cooking of these cruciferous vegetables is highly recommended. Isothiocyanates found in cruciferous vegetables appear to be heat-sensitive, and cooking appears to lower the availability of these substances. Avoid consuming these goitrogens in a juice, as the goitrogenic properties are fully intact in their raw state. You can consume small amounts raw in a meal, but it is advised to consume the majority of these vegetables cooked. It is very important to note that if you have a normal thyroid function and consume adequate amounts of iodine, these compounds will have no effect on your thyroid.

Want a Juice Without Goitrogens? flickr-juice-terriseesthings

Food sources of iodine include iodized sea salt, seaweed, saltwater fish, shellfish and eggs. Food sources of selenium are brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, garlic, mushroom, onions and seafood.

Other Substitutions for Cruciferious (Goitrogen) Vegetables:

Celery, celery leaves, silverbeet (chard), beetroot (beet), beetroot leaves, cos (romaine) lettuce, Courgette (zucchini), cucumber, grapefruit, lemon, limes, orange and watermelon to name a few.

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About the Author

Claire-Georgiou-Reboot-Naturopath-B.HSc-ND_avatar-100x100Claire Georgiou is an Australian Naturopath, Nutritionist and Herbalist. Claire has completed a Bachelor of Health Science (Complementary Medicine) and an Advanced Diploma of Naturopathy and a Diploma of Nutrition. Claire has been working with Dr. Sandra Cabot, who is also known as the Liver Cleansing Doctor, for 7 years and also consults patients in Sydney. Claire has a special interest in liver dysfunction, digestive health, weight loss, thyroid & hormone imbalances. More posts from Claire Georgiou, Reboot Naturopath, B.HSc ND.

SOURCES PubMed: Hypothyroidism Iodine

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