What Anyone With an Overactive or Underactive Thyroid Should Know About Eating the ‘Wrong’ Kind of Vegetables

Thyroid function is one of the main misdiagnosed conditions these days.  Even worse, most patients miss getting the proper diagnosis and care for their condition as the needed labs were never ordered.

As explained by Dr. Hyman, when he hears patients complain of dry skin, acne, fatigue, weight loss, problems with menstruation or fertility, high cholesterol or blood sugar levels, and inability to focus, he immediately questions their thyroid function.

There are various reasons why so many people are suffering from a low functioning thyroid and hypothyroidism.  They range from environmental toxins to low nutrient status, which impairs the conversion of T4 to T3. Since each body is different, Dr. Hyman uses lengthy checklists and labs to determine person`s root cause of low thyroid.

What are Goitrogens?

Many experts claim that veggies containing goitrogens have negative effect on the thyroid.  They can inhibit iodine from entering the thyroid and eventually lead to goiter or swollen thyroid. Since iodine is of utmost importance for proper thyroid function, many believe that eating a lot goitrogens may lead to an underactive thyroid.The active form of the thyroid hormone is known as triiodothyronine, emphasizing the importance of iodine in proper hormone function.

The truth is that one needs to eat large amounts of these veggies for their goitrogenic compounds to have an effect on their thyroid. More importantly, one needs to consume them raw! Given that most people roast, bake, steam, boil, or bake their cruciferous veggies, the body receives tiny amounts of goitrogens due to the effect of cooking. So, don’t worry about eating moderate servings of these veggies and even aim at getting 1-2 servings of them a day for their role in disease prevention.

If you are still concerned about how eating these veggies impact your thyroid then follow some of these instructions:

  • Cruciferous veggies are not the only foods containing these substances. Sweet potato, soy, millet, yuka, and certain medications also contain goitrogens. The goal is not to avoid certain foods, but rather eat a variety of them in moderate amounts. In fact, multiple studies have shown that food containing goitrogenic substances are nothing to fear in terms of thyroid function.
  • Focus on those foods that have been shown to trigger thyroid disorders. Examining those like gluten, dairy foods, processed soy, and sugar is a good idea. Try an elimination diet and see how it works for you, meaning whether these triggers affect your thyroid or not. In other words, eliminate them from your diet for a certain period and then re-introduce them again.
  • Removing healthy foods like kale or broccoli is not the best way to prevent thyroid dysfunction, but to eat plenty of real, whole and nutrient-dense foods that contain nutrients like iodine, selenium, B-vitamins, tyrosine, and omega-3 fats.

Consume more of these:

Iodine: sea veggies, (nori, wakame, etc.), seafood, grass-fed dairy

Selenium:  Brazil nuts, seafood, eggs

B Vitamins: eggs, legumes, wild meat, poultry, green leafy vegetables

Tyrosine: avocado, poultry, grass-fed dairy

Omega-3 Fats: fatty fish like sardines and wild salmon; walnuts, hemp seeds, flax seeds, chia seeds

Cook your cruciferous veggies to reduce the amount of goitrogenic substances. However, the longer veggies are cooked, the more water-soluble nutrients are lost in the process.  Therefore, you should steam or cook lightly and not at high temperatures or for too long.

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