Kale is the vegetable du jour. It is nutrient rich, containing high levels of calcium, vitamin C, iron, fiber and antioxidants, and some nutritionists have even declared it to be a “superfood.” Despite its high nutritional profile though, you might actually want to limit your intake of kale if you have a thyroid condition such as hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) or the autoimmune Hashimoto’s disease. Kale—along with other cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, brussels sprouts and collard greens—are all goitrogens. Goitrogens are substances that suppress the function of the thyroid gland by inhibiting iodine uptake. This is problematic because iodine is vital for the proper production and activation of the thyroid hormone. It is one of the main minerals that helps to optimize cellular metabolism.
When people with a healthy thyroid consume goitrogens, their thyroids will be able to produce more of the necessary hormones in response. So people with normal functioning thyroid glands are able to eat goitrogenic foods without concern. However, for people whose thyroid function is already compromised, the thyroid can actually grow more cells in order to compensate for the inadequate hormone production. Therefore, if eaten in excess, goitrogens, as the name implies, can result in a goiter (an enlargement or swelling of the thyroid).
Kale Helps Thyroid Condition
The good news is that if you have a thyroid condition and still want to enjoy the nutritional benefits of kale and other goitrogens, you do not have to completely cut these foods out of your diet! An easy solution is to just consume these foods in moderation, perhaps no more than once or twice a week. Another solution is to prepare the food in a way that will break down the goitrogenic compounds. This can be done by simply boiling the kale for about 5-7 minutes before eating it. This will decrease the goitrogenic properties in the kale by about 90%.
At NY Health & Wellness, we can assess your blood panel and determine if you may have any hidden thyroid issues. Then, we’ll create a customized meal plan and diet regime for you to follow according to your results. We want you to be eating healthy foods that are right for YOU!