Did you know that 60% of people with a thyroid disease are unaware of the condition? The thyroid gland is a beautiful and complex piece of us. It’s job is to release hormones that regulate vital body functions like heart rate, cholesterol balance, breathing, muscle strength, the nervous system and so much more. It’s primary nourishment to produce these hormones comes from iodine…which means that we want to make sure we have enough iodine in our diet to support the thyroid.
Some of the best sources of iodine come from pasture raised chicken eggs, fish, sea vegetables and grass-fed meats. Once you eat these foods you want your body to be able to extract and utilize the bioavailable iodine to support optimal thyroid function. How do we help to insure our body can do that?
Fortunately, our bodies have innate intelligence and, when properly nourished, they know exactly how to take what they need in order to function optimally. Now, there are many myths and contradictory beliefs in mainstream media about certain vegetables that, when consumed, prohibit the body from absorbing iodine – thus contributing to compromised thyroid function. These aforementioned vegetables are in the family, “Brassicaceae”, also known as cruciferous. Cruciferous vegetables contain glucosinolates; which are metabolized into isothiocyanates (ITC) in the body. Research shows that these compounds are protective against various types of cancer and contain strong anti-inflammatory properties. Cruciferous vegetables are also power-house sources for vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals that are essential for health. So, we NEED to eat cruciferous veggies and here’s what you should know about them:
There have been very few human studies on the effects of goitrogenic foods associated with the increased risk of hypothyroidism, but one study done in 2016 shows that it takes 194 μmol (micromoles) of goitrin to show that the thyroid is inhibited from iodine uptake. There are some cruciferous veggies that contain that much, but others like turnip tops, commercial broccoli, broccoli rabe, and kale belonging to Brassica oleracae contain almost none and are a minimal risk.
As for the veggies that contain more, there’s are two easy fixes to significantly reduce and neutralize the goitrin: Cook them or ferment them!
Oven roasted, pan seared, steamed, sautéed, or pickled…….cruciferous veggies are delicious and essential parts of a nutrient dense diet and everyone can, and should, eat them to build and maintain optimal health. There are many factors that could contribute to poor iodine uptake. Talk with an Integrative Medical Doctor about how to properly test for low thyroid function and the best ways to support your system rebalance.