Goitrogens are substances found in cruciferous vegetables (list below) and soy. They block the iodine uptake receptors, and this can result in the thyroid gland under-producing the T4 hormone. There are conflicting opinions as to whether the goitrogenic food causes and/or worsens the thyroid condition or not. Dr. Kharrazian, the author of Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms? is of the opinion that goitrogens do not contribute to thyroid deterioration. Other experts like Dr. Izabella Wentz disagree when it comes to eating too many raw crucifiers and soy not cooked.
In my practice, I have met people who have developed thyroid problems after going on a “health kick” and juicing a bunch of kale everyday for 3 months. I have also met many newly converted vegans and vegetarians who have relied heavily on soy-based products to replace meat protein and developed thyroid symptoms after months of following their new “healthy diet.”
I am therefore a proponent of moderation which means:
1. Not eating excessive crucifers in raw form. In cooked form, they are great for us; see reasons below.
2. If you eat raw crucifers like raw arugula salad, limit your intake to 2 servings per week.
3. Don’t get rid of all fermented foods. Fermented foods like sauerkraut are still raw crucifers. Does that mean you should cut them out? No. Since 90% of thyroid problems occur for autoimmune reasons, our attention should be on resorting the health of our immune system through our gut, rather than on obsessing about cutting out all crucifers. I recommend 2 servings of ferments per day as part of your gut-restoration protocol, and they should be varied and rotated between ferments that are crucifer-based and ones that are not crucifer-based, like miso (if you can tolerate fermented soy), dill pickles (lacto-fermented, not in vinegar), coconut water kefir, coconut milk yoghurt, and a strong probiotic supplement.
Many people have great results when they limit their intake of goitrous food. This is how to go about it:
Foods To Avoid in Raw Form (No More Than 2 Servings Per Week):
- Bok choy
- Brussel sprouts
- Mustard greens
- Soy milk
- Soybean oil
- Soy lecithin (often used as a filler in vegetarian food)
Foods to Go Easy On in Raw Form (No More Than 3-4 Servings Per Week):
- Bamboo shoots
- Pine nuts
- Sweet potatoes
Posted in: ThyroidFAQ