Can I eat kale with a thyroid problem?
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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.
Kale is part of the brassica family of vegetables.