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Kale and Goitrogens

Suzy Cohen, RPh writes on her blog about a little known facts regarding kale and broccoli. Many people are aware that they are healthy and good for you. However, how these foods are eaten can make a big difference, and could lead to health problems.

Referred to as goitrogens, these foods contain compounds such as thiocyanate that, over time, could cause the growth of a goiter. A goiter is a swelling mass in the neck that can cause health problems. According to the Mayo Clinic, these problems can include:

  • Coughing
  • Trouble swallowing.
  • Trouble breathing.
  • Tightness in the throat.

Goiters are caused by an iodine deficiency in the body. When you eat kale, broccoli, or foods raw, they can actually suppress the level of iodine in your system to the point that you might feel ill. The human body needs iodine to function properly.  

Still, Cohen is quick to point out that these crunchy green foods are also important sources of nutrients like folate. What’s the solution? Cook these foods instead of eating them raw. Cooking them seems to get rid of the goitrogenic compounds in the food.  

One way that many people consume kale, spinach, and similar foods is by “juicing” them. That is, taking raw greens and breaking them down in a food processor to be made into a smoothie. It’s a great way to get the positive nutrients, but since you are eating them raw it means you are more susceptible to goitrogens. Therefore, you should avoid including them in beverages.

If you have the following conditions then you should avoid goitrogen-rich foods altogether:

  • Fibrocystic breast disease.
  • Hashmoto’s thyroiditis.
  • Hypothyroidism.

Foods that have the most goitrogenic levels include:

  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Flax Seed
  • Alfalfa
  • Maca
  • Peaches
  • Spinich
  • Sprouts
  • Strawberries
  • Kale

Want to learn more about goitrogenic foods?  You can read Suzy Cohen’s full blog post.

Read the full article here: The Case Against Kale