the BIG thyroid – brassica question… finally answered!

Posted on: May 17th 2018

Today I want to talk to you about one of my favorite topics…

thyroid health!

(And did you know that World Thyroid Day is coming up next week?)

One question that almost always comes up when we talk about the thyroid is about brassicas.

brassicas, brassicas

It’s hard to refute the value of broccoli and their budding cousins, yet I know there can be so much confusion about these beneficial beauties, especially when it comes to your thyroid health and wellness.

First, what the heck is a brassica?

When we refer to the brassica family, we’re speaking about those cruciferous veggies you know, love and possibly fear. Green leafies such as:

  • broccoli
  • kale
  • Brussels sprouts
  • cauliflower
  • collard greens
  • mustard greens
  • broccoli raab
  • arugula
  • bok choy
  • Napa cabbage
  • and even some roots like radish, turnips, horseradish and wasabi

Brassica is simply the Latin name for this family of gems, basically meaning “cabbage”.

The brassica are powerhouses of nutrients including vitamin C, vitamin K, the complex of B vitamins and carotenoids.

And yet one person’s food can be another person’s poison.

I get it. This can be confusing, right?

Like I said, who would refute the benefits of these green gems?

Well, it’s possible that someone with thyroid issues may have been told that the goitrogens in the brassicas can do their body more harm than good.

Second, what, pray tell, is a goitrogen?

Curiously, these prized plant-foods also contain compounds that can cause thyroid hormone deficiency under one of several conditions:

  • if eaten in excess (an amount dictated by the individual, not the measuring cup)
  • in the presence of mineral deficiency, such as iodine
  • in the presence of mineral excesses, as is the case with calcium or fluorine

Many doctors would say that it’s nearly impossible to consume enough goitrogens to become a real problem unless the foods highest in this plant chemical—turnips and rutabagas—are eaten daily, as a staple and in the presence of iodine deficiency.

Of course we’re all unique beings. (This is one of my favorite things to remind you.)

We each have different mineral stores and shortages.

Your proximity to the healing or harmful effects of any food or practice is different than mine, or your neighbors.

I’d be remiss if I did not speak this truth.

Yet, because of their rich antioxidant and fiber content, beneficial for most health conditions, I do not recommend (nor do I practice) brassica evasion. (I say this as someone who has a thyroid disorder and has learned to manage it and teach others to do the same!).

You may be of the belief that cooking helps to dissolve and inactivate the goitrogens in your brassicas. And it’s true. Yet there is no clear evidence about the amount of heat or the time exposed to the heat that will do this.

That said, some cooking and moderation will most definitely enable you to reap the benefits of your cruciferous veggies, inviting the friend and forsaking the foe. (Whew!)

Benefits? Please please tell me I can keep eating my greens!

Indeed you can.

As I noted, I’m a fan of all brassicas, most particularly for their liver loving life force.

They are nearly unrivaled as a food source for activating glutathione (the mother of all antioxidants) and supporting detoxification of many chemical substances through your liver.

So here’s the good news, you can bring on the broccoli!

World Thyroid Day is next week! Grab my Girl’s Guide to Hashimoto’s: Hashi Companion e-course to decode your Hashimoto’s so you can end the war with your body and live symptom-free.