Andrea Beaman is leading a course called Foods for Thyroid Health on December 8th, at the Open Center. Visit the class page for more. She will also offer a webinar series on January 11 and 18 on Healing the Whole Body: Understanding How Health Goes Beyond Food and the Physical.
By Andrea Beaman
Oftentimes I’ll get an email from someone concerned about thyroid disease. They’ll say, “I’m trying everything I can to lose weight and heal my thyroid condition, but it’s not working. I eat a plant-based diet with lots of raw vegetables and smoothies. I keep feeling more and more exhausted. What am I doing wrong?”
The first thing I tell them is, “Get off RAW foods!”
Raw foods are wonderful, delicious and nutritious, but they are not necessarily good for all conditions. Especially, not for thyroid troubles.
Many plants contain anti-nutrients that can inhibit thyroid function. The brassicaceae family of vegetables contains glucosinolates that can inhibit iodine uptake, resulting in hypothyroidism and promoting goiter formation.
Members of the brassicaceae family include:
Cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, Chinese cabbage, radishes, turnips, kohlrabi, rutabaga, collard greens, kale, Brussels sprouts, bok choy and watercress.
Many “health” oriented people think they are doing the best thing by putting raw kale into their smoothies. It’s actually not very smart: not only for thyroid health, but for kidney health, too. Kale, as well as spinach, contains high amounts of oxalates that can promote kidney stones and other painful deposits in the body, especially in people suffering with underlying fungal infections and candida overgrowth.
How about those folks that are adding raw “maca” powder to their smoothies for an extra boost in libido and energy? It’s a double whammy! Maca root is cruciferous (from the brassicaceae family) and also contains high levels of glucosinolates. Yes, it’s a “super food.” And yes, the Incan’s used it for energy, but Maca was traditionally eaten cooked, not raw.
One of the awesome benefits of maca is that it is high in iodine and that can be good for the thyroid. But, extremely high doses of iodine can actually have a negative effect and even worsen the symptoms of thyroid disease. It’s one of the reasons why eating too much seaweed (also rich in iodine), can have a negative effect on the thyroid. Remember, everything in moderation, is always the best route.
If you are one of the unlucky folks that is not feeling healthier, and your thyroid is not healing, take a closer look at your “healthy” diet and make some changes.
Traditional cooking methods can deactivate most of those anti-nutrients in these raw foods. Blanch that kale in salted water, and then saute it in some fat (butter) to help your body absorb the beneficial minerals. And, ditch the smoothies for a while. This doesn’t mean that you can never have another smoothie or raw kale salad, it just means to listen to your body, hear what it is saying, and make the necessary dietary adjustments that can facilitate healing.