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Should You Avoid Broccoli and Kale if you have Thyroid Disease?

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.

Ingredients

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

Directions

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!

1. Johnston N. Sulforaphane halts breast cancer cell growth. Drug Discov Today 2004;9(21): 908. Rose P, Huang Q, Ong CN, Whiteman M. Broccoli and watercress suppress matrix metalloproteinase-9 activity and invasiveness of human MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol 2005;S0041-008X.
2. Seow A, Yuan JM, Sun CL, et al. Dietary isothiocyanates, glutathione S-transferase polymorphisms and colorectal cancer risk in the Singapore Chinese Health Study. Carcinogenesis 2002;23(12): 2055-261.
3. Wu HT, Lin SH, Chen YH. Inhibition of cell proliferation and in vitro markers of angiogenesis by indole-3-carbinol, a major indole metabolite present in cruciferous vegetables. J Agric Food Chem SK, Choi S, et al. Sulphoraphane-induced cell death in human prostate cancer cells is initiated by reactive oxygen species. J Biol Chem 2005; 280(20):19911-19924. Xiao D, Srivastava SK, Lew KL, et al. Allyl isothiocyanate a constituent of cruciferous vegetables inhibits proliferation of human prostate cancer cells by causing G2/M arrest and inducing apoptosis. Carcinogenesis 2003;24(5):891-897.
4. Conaway CC, Wang CX, Pittman B, et al. Phenethyl isothiocyanate and sulforaphane and their n-acetylcysteine conjugates inhibit malignant progression of lung adenomas induced by tobacco carcinogens in A/J mice. Cancer Res 2005 65(18): 8548-8557.

 
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Posted by on June 22, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Sprout Fourth this July

Sprouting is fun and simple and really healthy. Sprouted foods are generally higher in vitamins, minerals, amino acids, fiber AND they are more digestible because sprouting increases the enzyme activity within a food. It also is said to be more digestible because sprouting decreases phytates which can prevent us humans from completely being able to digest these seeds to begin with. So really, need I say more?

How to:

You soak your seeds, beans or grains for 12-24 hours in a bowl of water or overnight, drain them of the water the next day and place them in a colander. I keep mine in the colander and rinse/water them twice a day then back on the counter they go until I literally see them sprout, they will look like they have a little ‘tails” .  Note; they should not sit in the water except for the first night or 12-24 hour period. This is why I use the colander to drain all the water. If they are sitting in water for a few days they will just grow moldy.

Nuts and grains are unique in that they will do not all form tails and most raw food people feel that just soaking them for 6-8 hours is good enough to get the benefits. But most seeds and beans will actually visibly sprout. Also note that flax seeds will form tails but you will find it hard to rinse them because they form a gel like clump. No worries, you do not have to rinse flax seeds, just let them sit in the water  (1:1 ratio flax seeds to water) for 12-24 hours them enjoy. Same goes for chia by the by…

If it is warm out the sprouting process will happen in one-two days, if it is cold, it can take longer. In general also note that beans take longer than seeds. If you plan on cooking your beans or seeds, as opposed to eating the sprouts fresh or sprinkling them on salads then just soaking for 12-24 hours then rinsing is enough to activate them. As a general rule 12-24 hours of soaking will actually germinate the seeds or beans, so you can reap the benefits fully even after one day, even if you do not see a tail.

Some stores have sprouting jars or bags which is great but not necessary. You can also grow your soaked seeds on a tray of earth to get green shoots. Get a tray, lay down about 1.5 inches of soil and place your soaked seeds on top, lightly cover with soil and then water daily. You can grow wheat grass this way as well.

So go out on a limb today and try it! Today go buy some sunflower seeds and experiment. These are easy to sprout and they grow a nice tail which is very satisfying. It will take a few days so be patient but once you see that tail it will feel like sunshine growing in your colander!

And just so you know, because people always ask me, flackers (www.drinthekitchen.com) are made from sprouted flax seeds. In fact once, a few pieces landed in my drain and two days later I noticed that there were sprouts growing out of my sink!

 

 
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Posted by on June 27, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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