When it comes to thyroid dysfunction, one of the questions I hear most often is: are cruciferous vegetables bad for thyroid health? As with any controversial topic, it’s best to evaluate the potential risks and benefits. Although studies are inconclusive, I believe the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants found in cruciferous vegetables make them an indispensable part of a healthy diet.
Thyroid health is crucial for a well-functioning body. Your metabolism, moods, and even aging processes are all affected by your thyroid gland. Because an imbalance in one bodily system causes imbalances in the others, there is no part of you that functions optimally when your thyroid is over- or underactive.
Functional medicines take on thyroid disease
Though thyroid disease is generally considered idiopathic (of unknown cause) by most conventional doctors, in functional medicine we know that one or a combination of these factors are to blame: leaky gut, nutrient deficiencies, an inflammatory diet (particularly gluten), your toxic burden, infections, and stress. If you have thyroid dysfunction I believe that by definition you also have a gluten sensitivity. Gluten shares a similar molecular structure to many of our own tissues, and this causes our body to mistakenly attack itself in a process known as molecular mimicry.
If your thyroid is out of balance, it’s important to identify which foods promote thyroid health, and which ones exacerbate the problem. So, is there any basis to the suggestion that you should avoid cruciferous vegetables?
First, what are cruciferous vegetables?
Cruciferous vegetables are vegetables in the family Brassica, and they are some of the most nutritionally dense foods we eat. Among others, this family includes:
Cruciferous vegetables are rich in antioxidants and phytonutrients that protect against cancer and cardiovascular disease. In addition to the health-promoting vitamins and minerals, these vegetables also contain goitrogens.
What is a goitrogen?
A goitrogen, so named because an enlargement of the thyroid gland is known as a goiter, suppresses the thyroid gland by inhibiting the uptake of iodine. Iodine is one of the two building blocks of thyroid hormone, and if you are deficient in it, you can develop hypothyroidism (an underactive thyroid). The most common form of hypothyroidism is Hashimoto’s an autoimmune disease where your body attacks your thyroid hormone.
Cruciferous vegetables are rich in two different goitrogens: isothiocyanates and thiocyanates. Animal studies suggest that consumption of cruciferous vegetables, including broccoli, kale and cabbage, can lead to suppressed thyroid function. However, evidence that the same thing happens in humans is lacking. In fact, human trials have found that the consumption of cruciferous vegetables has little to no effect on the thyroid, unless a person is deficient in iodine.
If you have a functioning thyroid, there is no reason to believe that cruciferous vegetables will cause hypothyroidism. Consumption of these foods could suppress thyroid function in individuals who are already deficient in minerals such as iodine and selenium. Instead of avoiding these incredibly nutritious and cancer-protective foods, remedy the deficiencies or, if you take supplemental thyroid hormone, adjust your medication so that you may reap their nutritive benefits.
How can you minimize the effect of goitrogenic foods?
If you are concerned about goitrogenic foods, there are certain steps you can take to minimize their potential harm to your thyroid.
Cook your vegetables.
Cooking cruciferous vegetables lessens their goitrogenic properties – however, it also destroys some of their beneficial phytonutrients.
Juicing cruciferous vegetables allows for their chemical components to be absorbed in your body in much greater concentrations. For this reason, juicing can be a very healthful way to get vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. If you have a low functioning thyroid, you may want to avoid drinking concentrated amounts of goitrogenic foods.
Eat foods rich in iodine.
Sea vegetables are a great source of dietary iodine. Too much iodine can be harmful, so it’s important to eat a diet rich in a variety of other thyroid balancing minerals, like selenium and zinc, and take a high quality multivitamin. My custom-formulated multivitamin is specially designed to provide all of the key thyroid-supporting nutrients, including iodine.
In the end, we still aren’t sure how harmful the goitrogens in cruciferous vegetables may be, but we do know for certain that these antioxidant-rich foods contain lots of phytonutrients and protect against disease. The health benefits of a diet rich in cruciferous vegetables far outweigh any danger, especially considering that problematic mineral deficiencies can be helped by supplementation.
If you are one of the millions who suffer from hypothyroidism, it is very important that you supplement appropriately in order to take care of any deficiencies. Making sure your body has what it needs to optimally function will protect you (and your thyroid) against the goitrogens in cruciferous vegetables, which will allow you to enjoy the innumerable benefits of their consumption. There are ways to reduce their potential for harm, but I do not advise eliminating cruciferous vegetables from your diet.
Restore Thyroid Function & Take Your Health Back
In my new book, The Thyroid Connection, I cover everything you need to know about thyroid disease, including its true underlying causes, how to work with your doctor, how to choose the right medication, and a 28-day program to get your life back.
Breakfast, blood sugar, & inflammation
Recent research has shown that Inflammation is responsible for 7 out of 10 Deaths in the United States. But it doesn’t have to be the same way for you.
In fact, in a fairly short amount of time, you could start to experience better sleep…less stomach issues…more energy and stamina…less muscle and joint pain…a drop in weight…lower stress levels…and much, much more!
Learn how to Prevent—Even Reverse—Most Major Diseases by “Turning Off” Inflammation!
Did you know that one of the best times to stretch is right before bed? However…
What stretches should you do? Here’s a 1-minute stretch routine you can do before bed...
Lisa, Yoga Coach
eatlocalgrown / wisemindhealthybody
...easy, 3-minute exercise that completely cured his horrendous snoring! We can both finally sleep!
Today is a good day. Tonight will be even better. Why?
Because you're about to learn easy throat exercises that cure (not just treated) your stubborn snoring – in 3 minutes – starting TONIGHT!
...even if straps, sprays and even torturing CPAP masks have failed you in the past.
Most people heal their snoring in just a few minutes per day using these powerful throat exercises. And they're so easy, you can do them, regardless of your age or physical shape.
Use them anytime, anywhere... even while stuck in traffic or watching TV.
Plus the results are permanent!
Did you know that your bodyfat can become "calorie-resistant"?
True. And it's completely unaffected by even the strictest diets... and most intense exercises.
However, there's good news- Calorie-resistant bodyfat can be now removed...
It's a little-known, calorie-burning hormone we all have... just waiting for the right spark to come alive. It's not thyroid, leptin, ghrelin, insulin, adiponectin, HGH or any other "fat loss" hormone you may know. Read more to find out precisely how to unleash its calorie-burning power:
To your health!
PS - Studies show that it can also reduce your risk of diabetes by 53.7%, a heart attack by 83.3% and stroke by 51.4%. Here's more of the scientific proof...
I bet you can’t guess which muscle in your body is the #1 muscle that eliminates joint and back pain, anxiety and looking fat. This “hidden survival muscle” in your body will boost your energy levels, immune system, sexual function, strength and athletic performance when unlocked.
If this “hidden” most powerful primal muscle is healthy, we are healthy.
d) Hip Flexors
Take the quiz above and see if you got the correct answer!
In April, 2009, researchers stunned the medical community when they reported chronic inflammation as the root cause of several major diseases.
See, every year 610,000 people in the U.S. die of heart disease. Cancer claims another 584,000...stroke 130,000...Alzheimer's disease nearly 85,000 — and the list goes on.
Truth is, we now know... chronic inflammation is responsible for 7 out of the top 10 leading causes of death in the United States! Hundreds of studies and scientific reviews prove it.
Fortunately, newer research shows you can prevent-even reverse-most major diseases by "turning off" inflammation. And in our new book, we show you how to do just that.
If you or a loved one is suffering from a debilitating condition-and you"re not sure what the culprit is-now's the time to find out...while you can still do something about it!
--> Grab your FREE copy of this groundbreaking soft cover book today (while supplies still last.)
Over the past year, my friend Dave over at PaleoHacks has been working on a super secret cookbook project with our good friend Peter Servold a Le Cordon Bleu trained Chef and owner of Pete's Paleo...
And today, this new incredible Paleo Cookbook is finally available to be shipped right to your door for FREE!
The cookbook is called Paleo Eats, and it's filled with over 80 chef created, insanely tasty Paleo recipes which means they are free from gluten, soy, dairy, and refined sugar.
Get your FREE copy of Paleo Eats Here. (Grab this today, because they only ordered a small batch of these cookbooks for this freebie promotion, and they will sell out FAST!)
Sponsored Health Resources
In the years that I've been working on this website project I've come across some amazing resources by some very special people. I'd like to share them with you here.
NOTE: I update these links often so please check back to see what's new!
1) Everyone knows green smoothies are healthy right? Have you heard of a “red” smoothie? If not, check out this story…
2) Forget what you've read about 10-day lemonade cleanses, 7-day detoxes with green juices and Gwyneth's gruel. All you need to do, and this is perfect for Saturday or or anytime really, is a simple 1-day cleanse.
3) This “hidden survival muscle” in your body will boost your energy levels, immune system, sexual function, strength and athletic performance when unlocked.
4) I thought it was virtually impossible for a website to be able to tell me anything even a little bit insightful after only submitting my name and date of birth... I was wrong!
5) Turmeric is amazing. The problem is - It's hard to absorb!
6) Wonder why your stomach still sticks out even though you're hammering the core exercises every day? It's a common myth that bulging belly is due to weak abdominal muscles.
7) Even if you're the most active of athletes, you may still suffer from tight hip flexors due to the amount of time you spend each day planted to a chair.
Enjoy! Let me know how these work out for you. And if you run across anything I've missed please let me know.