Can Certain Foods Be Bad For The Thyroid?
If thyroid health is of concern to you, you should be aware of the foods that contain natural goitrogens. These chemicals can cause the thyroid gland to enlarge by interfering with thyroid hormone synthesis. Common food goitrogens include cruciferous vegetables, such as cabbage, kale, Brussels sprouts, broccoli and cauliflower (corn, sweet potatoes and lima beans are other sources). If you eat generous amounts of cruciferous veggies (which ideally you should!), you can inactivate the goitrogens by cooking them – try lightly steaming them, so you can retain the benefits of the antioxidant and cancer- protective effects cruciferous vegetables offer. I believe it is far better to eat these healthful veggies regularly than avoid them.
Another goitrogen source may be soy. Excess consumption of soy can affect thyroid function, but is generally only a problem in those taking levothyroxine or other thyroid replacement medication. If you are on such medication, tell your doctor how much soy you consume so your dosage can be adjusted, if necessary. You should also know that if you eat soy foods at the same time that you take thyroid hormone, they may interfere with its absorption. To be safe, do not eat soy within three hours of taking your medication. Moderate soy consumption should not be a problem – that means one serving a day of whole, organic soy products, such as one cup of soy milk or a half cup of tofu, soy protein (tempeh), or crispy soy nuts.
Overall, use the moderation rule with these very healthy foods. Avoiding them completely means you miss out on the beneficial compounds and fibers, so find a balance that does not overdo it, and make them a consistent and regular part of your diet. Keep your healthcare provider updated though, so that your thyroid hormone levels and medications can be balanced properly.
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