Conditions and Diseases
Hypothyroidism

Are cruciferous vegetables a bad food choice for someone with hypothyroidism?

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2011-09-18 21:45:25
2011-09-18 21:45:25

Cruciferous vegetables (including bok choy, broccoli, and kale), contain goitrogenic compounds called isothiocyanates, which can exacerbate already-existing thyroid issues.

Cruciferous vegetables do not cause thyroid problems.

The answer to that depends on whether or not you take thyroid hormone replacements (i.e. Synthroid, Levoxyl...) and how you eat these foods. If you do use medication to help supplement your thyroid hormone production, then you should avoid these foods because they can block the body's ability to absorb the medication. In the end, that leaves you (and maybe your doctor) wondering why you feel so badly when you take your medication regularly and try to be healthy.

These foods are generally called goitrogenic and are, ironically, foods we are often encouraged to eat as part of a daily balanced diet. Ideally, you should avoid or limit the following foods: brussel sprouts, rutabagas, turnips, radishes, cauliflower, potatoes, corn, millet, cabbage, peaches, pears, strawberries, mustard greens, spinach, African cassava, and kale.

So, the second condition is how you eat the fruits and vegetables. Cooking seems to break down the enzymes in these foods that might normally cause adverse affects to hypothyroid suffers. That said, they should still only be eaten in small portions.

It's also believed that soy, particularly soy lecitin and soy isoflavones (but also raw soy beans), can have adverse affects on those suffering with hypothyroidism. Soy isoflavones can cause disruptions to normal hormone generation at the thyroid gland and maybe also anti-thyroid antibodies to be produced. Like any antibodies, these attack what it feels is the "intruder" in your body - the thyroid in this case. This can mimic autoimmune thyroiditis (aka Hashimoto's Disease) and cause a thyroid deficiency where one didn't exist before or worsen and existing deficiency. As of right now, this is still widely debated, but I have found that these soy ingredients have a very negative impact on my body, making me feel as though I hadn't taken my medication in years.

For those suffering with hyperthyroidism, these food items can be used to help naturally decrease the amount of hormones being produced by the body.

As a person who has suffered with hypothyroidism for 14 years, I urge you to research the disease as much as possible and talk to you doctor about it. If your doctor is not well versed on hypothyroidism, find an endocrinologist or another Doctor Who is. I would also urge you to learn which foods can be beneficial to thyroid hormone absorption and production (tyrosine and iodine) as well as foods that can help boost your metabolism, and always try to maintain a healthy diet.

So, the short answer is, if you cook them and eat them in small portions, you should be fine.

I suppose at the end of this I should say that everyone is different and some people who suffer from hypothyroidism never have problems with these foods. If you don't think you're feeling as well as you should, maybe try cutting one of these foods out at a time. If you eat 5 of the foods listed above, it may be that only 1 poses a problem for you.

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