10 Veggies That Are Both Good & Bad For Your Thyroid

10-veggies-good-bad-for-your-thyroidVegetables are good for you. You know that. Except, not always.

You’ve probably seen all kinds of ads and articles about juicing and green juices and how healthy they are.

Women are told green juices are good for them, and they start to juice handfuls of kale, spinach, bok choy and other green veggies every morning.

And a few months (or years) later, they are wondering why they have thyroid issues (low thyroid) and a host of other problems.

So here is what you need to know before you make yourself a green juice or a smoothie every single morning.

Cabbage, broccoli, kale, are cruciferous vegetables, which contain substances called goitrogens. Foods that contain goitrogens are also called goitrogenic foods.

And for a good reason: they got their name from goiter, which is basically an enlarged thyroid. This is because they can cause your thyroid gland to malfunction.

And the last thing you want to do is mess up with your thyroid gland.

Why?

Because this gland regulates your body temperature and your mood.

It also produces hormones that regulate how fast your body uses energy, as well as the use of calcium in your body (this is absolutely essential, as our body uses calcium everywhere).

It controls how your body responds to other hormones and how it makes some proteins.

Does it mean these veggies are not good for your thyroid?

No. They are actually AMAZING for your thyroid.

But it simply means that they need to be COOKED and not eaten raw.

This is because goitrogens are neutralized (partially) by cooking.

Cabbage, broccoli, kale, bok choy, spinach, are veggies that need to be cooked.

Adding a handful of spinach in your salad once in a while won’t do you any harm, of course, but juicing these veggies several times a week over a period of several months or more can cause thyroid issues.

Many health professionals will tell you that in fact, raw cruciferous vegetables are perfectly safe, and that we would need to really eat a ton of them for negative effects to be detectable.

However, my own experience with patients has told me that we need to be careful.

Some people will be just fine, but other people are very sensitive and reactive to substances in food, and my best advice is really to cook these vegetables if you want to be on the safe side and also enjoy the wonderful benefits of cruciferous vegetables for your thyroid.

Here are the top 10 foods that are high in goitrogens (not in a particular order – cook them all!):

  • Soy (especially unfermented)
  • Kale
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Cauliflower
  • Bok Choy
  • Mustard greens
  • Kohlrabi
  • Radishes

And here are 13 other foods that also contain goitrogens, in smaller amounts:
Spinach, Turnips, Radishes, Sweet Potatoes, Wheat and other gluten-containing grains, Peanuts, Pine Nuts, Peaches, Pears, Strawberries, Rutabagas, Bamboo shoots, Millet.

To sum things up, here is what to do with the foods in the top 10 list:

  • cook these foods and you’re safe
  • don’t eat large quantities of several foods off the list in one day because as always, they have a synergistic effect, which means the effect accumulates.
  • if you already have thyroid issues, avoid these foods (talk to your doctor).

That’s it! So, if you have a friend who is juicing every morning, please do her a favor, share this article with her! She’ll thank you for that.

 

 
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13 Comments

  1. Sven

    I guess u just saved my life, eh? 😐 

    I´ve seen the movie “May I be Frank” and started drinking green juices.

    Two days later I noticed that it wasn´t a good idea…but a painful one. Because my stomach wasn´t accustomed to raw food.

    Here´s the recipe:

    1 cup dill, chopped
    4 cups kale, chopped
    1 cup parsley, chopped
    2 cups cilantro, chopped
    4 cups spinach, chopped
    2 cups celery, chopped
    1 or 2 lemons, peeled
    Avocado (optional) (you could add 1 to 2 if someone really needs something nurturing)
    Dandelion (optional)
    1 small clove garlic
    1 ½ cups water
    1 teaspoon pink Himalayan salt
    1/8 – ¼ teaspoon cayenne
    ½ cup apple (just a little to flavor balance)
    Topping

    Mung bean (for chew factor) (you could add avocado, red pepper, little pieces of carrot)

    Thanks for this post, Anne.

    • Anne Guillot

      Hi Sven, it’s true that 4 cups kale and 4 cups spinach is huge! This cocktail could be ok if you wanted to detox or heal from a disease maybe (juicing can be great for healing many illnesses) but not several times a week.
      Anyway I’m so glad I saved your life 🙂
      xo

  2. dan

    Hi Anne,

    I have seen this discussion so many times… What are your thoughts on blending cruciferous vegetables as opposed to juicing without the fiber(I’m guessing similar effects may happen, hence do not eat these raw in any form), and juicing greens without any cruciferous or giotrogenic vegetables at all, i.e., let’s say celery, parsley, cucumber, cilantro, and dandelion, or some combination of these with carrot or beet… Have you seen people have difficulty in these instances, or are these raw vegetables always productive in healing the body, whether eaten or blended, or juiced? Perhaps eaten as opposed to juiced unless doing a short cleanse?

    • Anne Guillot

      Hi Dan, great questions! I have written this article for people who juice every single day (trust me, a lot of people do this) and end up with thyroid issues, so I wanted to address this raw vs cooked topic. Now I could write an essay to answer your questions 🙂 but basically:
      – blending vs juicing is very different. The presence of fiber allows sugars in the vegetables to be metabolized differently. But it doesn’t make the goitrogens disappear.
      – celery, parsley , carrots, cucumbers, etc are all fine BUT as you say, to me, it’s a treatment, it’s for healing, it’s for people who have a good reason to cleanse this way and not another way (I don’t cleanse this way at all), it’s for people who want to lose a whole lot of weight and do this under medical supervision, etc., you get the picture. It’s not for healthy people who have healthy metabolisms for daily use (juicing for a few days can be great though it all depends on the circumstances). Again I’m not talking about the once-a-week little juice, I’m talking about daily intake here.
      – to answer your last question, juiced will heal the body a lot more than blended, because the digestion and assimilation processes will be different.
      Hope this clarifies and thank you for asking these great Qs I’m sure it will benefit other people.

  3. Jade

    Hi Anne,
    I wish I would have read this a year ago. I’ve been juicing greens for long time and now I have thyroid nodule. Can nodule shrink now that I have stopped juicing spinach and kale? And can you give me a juice recipe for thyroid health and shrinking of nodule. Thank you.

    • Anne Guillot

      Hi Jade, OMG…I have heard this story way too often (that’s why I wrote this post), and there are still people out there who say cruciferous veggies are safe even raw…as far as your nodule is concerned, you need to see a doctor who will assess the state of your thyroid, and the nodule. It’s great that you stopped juicing but that alone may not be enough. Once you assess this with a doctor, you can book a private session with me and I can help you with this, sure. Take care.

  4. Gwen

    Thank you Ann,
    I have just read this thread,now i feel more in control
    Besr regards Gwen

  5. Jess

    Hi Anne, I have had hypothyroidism for several years and I am on medication for it. Thank you for insisting on not juicing everyday. I got myself in to Auto-Immune after I juiced everyday with Spinach, Celery, Cucumber, Carrot. That triggered Vitiligo and I am trying my best to fight it to slow it down or even stop.
    This has made me too conscious of my food to eat and avoid. Appreciate any advise you can provide for the food that is safe and what not to eat.

    • Anne Guillot

      Hi Jess, thanks so much for sharing.
      Anne

  6. C. Wynn

    Is drinking celery juice every day good for the thyroid?

    Please help.

    • Anne Guillot

      Celery juice is great for digestion, to replenish gastric juices in the stomach, and help the liver do its job. SO, indirectly, it may also help the thyroid ; at least it’s been my experience with my clients. Hope this helps.

  7. Judy

    Wow. I’m completely wowed. Two weeks ago I decided to go raw vegan and that means a lot spinach in my smoothies but little did I know until I read your article that it’s a no no. On top of that I’ve been juicing celery for a week oops.
    I’ve had goiter (nodules, more on the right) for about four years with little to no change in size. I’ve noticed it’s getting slightly bigger with a smaller passage. Not good.
    Reason for going raw I was difficulty with constipation. I was “down” when it wasn’t out in max 2 days. Been a vegan for two years. I’m 53. No meds.
    Should I avoid the list like a plague or what do you suggest?
    Any help would be worthwhile.
    Thanking you in advance.
    Judy

    • Anne Guillot

      Hi Judy, celery isn’t mentioned here at all, and it’s amazing for your health, so go ahead and do juice your celery 🙂
      As far as spinach is concerned, a lot of it can be a bad idea, because of oxalic acid ; as I don’t know you personally, I would recommend caution. When I work with clients one on one, then we take a closer look.
      Some people eat raw cruciferous vegetables and do well, but it all depends on the person and on the quantity that’s eaten.
      Hope this helps.
      Anne