Goitrogens. What are they? Where are they found? Are they harmful? Goitrogens are substances that suppress the function of the thyroid gland by interfering with iodine uptake which can cause goiter (an enlargement of the thyroid). Besides causing enlargement the goitrogens can also slow down the thyroid and potentially lead to hypothyroidism (or if you have already been diagnosed with a thyroid disorder, these can make the problem worse).
These goitrogens are found in a variety of foods and pose a threat to everyone, but especially to those trying to eat healthy or just enjoy vegetables. They are found in a huge assortment of veggies that fall into the cruciferous group (vegetables in the Brassicaceae family). The list below includes the most common and most potent foods that you may want to lower your intake on.
- Soybeans (which includes tofu, soybean oil, and other soy based products)
- Pine nuts
- Flax seed (contains cyanide which transforms into thiocyanate and can lead to hypothyroidism)
- Sweet potatoes
- Brussels sprouts
- Collard greens
This is unfortunate for all of the juicers out there because raw juicing includes many of these goitrogenic veggies (kale, spinach, etc.) Now this doesn’t mean that you have to stop juicing or that you should stop eating these healthier choices and indulge in junk food, but it does mean that you should monitor your intake and try removing the goitrogens. No, it doesn’t mean dissecting the plant. It’s actually really simple. Just steam the veggies.
There are various other foods that aren’t listed here, but, as always, it’s encouraged that you be well informed regarding your condition and what can pose threats to it and that can be done by doing a simple search online.