Cruciferous vegetables like: broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kale, bok choy, collards, arugala, watercress, and cabbage contain a dramatic incredible array of phytonutrients with potent health benefits. There is also information circulating suggesting that if you have thyroid disorders, that you need to avoid eating these powerhouse foods because they are goitrogenic and can aggrevate your thyroid especially if you have Hashimoto’s disease. But is this truth?
After you read all the health benefits of these amazing superfoods, you will certainly not want to eliminate them from your diet, even if you have thyroid disease. In fact, you will likely want to run to the store and make sure that your dinner plate is full of them tonight.
But what if you have thyroid disease? Are these safe to eat? Well, as you read on you will also find out more about the truth regarding whether or not you really have to avoid these foods if you have thyroid disease or not. But first, here are some of the amazing benefits of cruciferous vegetables. They are not only packed with incredible nutrients but also ….
1. May help to lower the risk of developing cancer
2. Lab studies show that one of the phytochemicals found in cruciferous vegetables – sulforaphane – can stimulate enzymes in the body that detoxify carcinogens before they damage cells. Isothiocyanates (ITCs), which are perhaps the best studied, have been shown to provide protection against environmental carcinogen exposure by inducing detoxification pathways, thereby neutralizing potential carcinogens.
3. Another way cruciferous vegetables may help to protect against cancer is by reducing oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is the overload of harmful molecules called oxygen-free radicals, which are generated by the body. Reducing these free radicals may reduce the risk of cancer
4. Diets rich in fish and vegetables (including cruciferous and dark-yellow veggies) may also help to protect against cardiovascular disease
5. In another recent study, diets low in cruciferous and yellow vegetables, wine, and coffee but high in sugar-sweetened soft drinks, refined grains, and processed meat were identified as possibly increasing chronic inflammation and raising the risk of type 2 diabetes
6. Keep in mind too that about half of the fiber in cruciferous vegetables is super-healthy soluble fiber.
7. These vegetables also contain indole-3-carbinol (I3C). Indole-3-carbinol has been shown to reduce the risk of breast cancer by decreasing estrogen activity.
Need I say more?
Truth: Those poor cruciferous vegetables may have gotten a bad rap for nothing. Goitrogen is a word that was coined in the 1950’s to describe a substance that causes the formation of a goiter, also knows as an enlarged thyroid gland. It can mean a variety of different things ranging from suppressing the release of thyroid hormone to changing the way thyroid hormone gets produced in the body to suppressing the absorption of iodine.
In relation to cruciferous vegetables, they are have been identified as “goitrogenic” because they have the potential to block iodine absorption.
This was a concern in the 1950’s, as then, the primary reason for hypothyroidism was due to iodine deficiency, and any further changes in iodine levels were potentially problematic. However, since public efforts have been made to add iodine to the salt supplies of most industrialized countries, Hashimoto’s has become the primary reason for hypothyroidism, responsible for 90-97% of cases of hypothyroidism in the United States. Iodine deficiency is not wide spread in people with Hashimoto’s, and thus eating cruciferous vegetables (unless a person is otherwise sensitive to them) is perfectly healthy for people with Hashimoto’s and should not impact thyroid function. In the case that a person does have hypothyroidism due to iodine deficiency, he/she can still enjoy crucifers as long as they are cooked or fermented. Cooking/fermenting will break down the iodine blocking content. http://www.thyroidpharmacist.com/blog/top-7-hashimotos-food-myths
So tonight whether you have a thyroid disorder or not, why not relax and enjoy these healthy foods. I included a simple recipe for brussel sprouts that is really yummy.
1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts
3 tablespoons organic cold pressed olive oil
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt or seal salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
optional: lemon juice
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Cut off the ends of your Brussels sprouts and cut each one in half. Mix them in a bowl with the organic olive oil, salt and pepper. Place them on a sheet pan and roast for 35 to 40 minutes until they are visibly crisp on the outside and tender on the inside.( Use a fork to poke one and see how tender it feels.) You may have to shake the pan from time to time to brown the sprouts evenly. Some times I like to add some lemon juice as well but this gives it a more tangy taste and so I say that it is optional. Enjoy!
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