Can I eat kale with a thy­roid prob­lem?

Kapi-Mana News - - OUT & ABOUT -

Q: I have an un­der­ac­tive thy­roid and I’ve heard I shouldn’t eat broc­coli or kale. Is this true? Why is this? Many thanks, Joan

Broc­coli and kale are in the bras­sica fam­ily of veg­eta­bles; also known as cru­cif­er­ous veg­eta­bles. Other veg­eta­bles such as cab­bage, cauliflower and brus­sels sprouts are part of this group, too.

The bras­sica fam­ily of veg­eta­bles re­main some of my favourites due to their anti-can­cer prop­er­ties and liver detox­i­fi­ca­tion sup­port. They are extremely nu­tri­ent-dense and they con­tain a su­per­hero component called sul­foraphane. Sul­foraphane is an an­tiox­i­dant and stim­u­la­tor of nat­u­ral detox­i­fy­ing en­zymes, and it may re­duce the risk of breast, blad­der and prostate can­cers.

Bras­sica fam­ily veg­eta­bles nat­u­rally con­tain sub­stances that are known as goitro­gens. Goitro­gens in­ter­fere with io­dine up­take by the thy­roid gland and io­dine is needed for the pro­duc­tion of thy­roid hor­mones.

With that said, re­search tells

A: Ask Dr Libby

Email your ques­tions for Dr Libby to ask.dr­libby@fair­fax­me­ Please note, only a se­lec­tion of ques­tions can be an­swered. us that goitro­gens gen­er­ally do not have any neg­a­tive im­pacts on thy­roid func­tion in peo­ple with­out an io­dine de­fi­ciency. It’s also im­por­tant to note that goitro­gens in veg­eta­bles such as broc­coli and kale are in­ac­ti­vated by high temperatures, which means that cook­ing these veg­eta­bles will sig­nif­i­cantly de­crease, or po­ten­tially even elim­i­nate, any goitro­genic ef­fects.

So if you have an un­der­ac­tive thy­roid and are con­cerned about goitro­gens, you may pre­fer to eat these veg­eta­bles mostly in their cooked forms. Lightly steam­ing or stir-fry­ing them is a good op­tion, as over­cook­ing – es­pe­cially boil­ing in large amounts of water – can de­stroy and re­move other im­por­tant nu­tri­ents from the veg­eta­bles, par­tic­u­larly vi­ta­min C.

It’s also im­por­tant to con­sider what is at the heart of your un­der­ac­tive thy­roid, as the road in will be the road out.

Know­ing the cause is so essential for determining the best path for­ward for you, and in clin­i­cal prac­tice, this is some­thing that I al­ways get to the bot­tom of be­fore ad­vis­ing some­one nu­tri­tion­ally.

For ex­am­ple, hy­pothy­roidism can be caused by nu­tri­tional de­fi­cien­cies (pri­mar­ily io­dine, but also se­le­nium and iron), so if this was the case for you, fix­ing the nu­tri­tional de­fi­cien­cies would be key in ad­dress­ing your low thy­roid func­tion, and en­sur­ing you are not con­sum­ing ex­ces­sive amounts of raw bras­sica fam­ily veg­eta­bles (that is, con­sum­ing large amounts of ac­tive goitro­gens) would be­come more im­por­tant.

How­ever, hy­pothy­roidism can also be caused by an au­toim­mune condition called Hashimoto’s thy­roidi­tis. In this case, io­dine de­fi­ciency is not the mech­a­nism caus­ing the thy­roid to be un­der­ac­tive, how­ever con­cur­rent io­dine de­fi­ciency could ex­ac­er­bate this.

So to sum­marise, I wouldn’t rec­om­mend a raw broc­coli- and kale-only diet (and not just be­cause of the goitro­gen con­tent – we need to con­sume a wide va­ri­ety of foods daily to meet our nu­tri­ent needs), but en­joy­ing these veg­eta­bles reg­u­larly is very un­likely to cause you any is­sues (in fact, it’s much more likely they will do you good), es­pe­cially if you mostly eat these veg­eta­bles cooked. The health ben­e­fits of con­sum­ing bras­sica fam­ily veg­eta­bles are not to be un­der­es­ti­mated, so I never want any­one to avoid these veg­eta­bles un­nec­es­sar­ily.

Dr Libby is a nu­tri­tional bio­chemist, best-sell­ing au­thor and speaker. The ad­vice con­tained in this col­umn is not in­tended to be a sub­sti­tute for di­rect, per­son­alised ad­vice from a health pro­fes­sional. See dr­


Kale is part of the bras­sica fam­ily of veg­eta­bles.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.