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Avoid These Foods If You Have Thyroid Gland Issues

Have you ever heard of goitrogens? These are the substances that ‘live’ in some types of food and are bad for your thyroid gland. Well, actually, if you already don’t have any problems with the functioning of your thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism) these foods won’t bother you at all. Usually, those foods are considered as healthy foods, but only for people without thyroid problems.

Therefore, avoid these foods if you know that your thyroid gland is malfunctioning since they will make the situation even worse:

  • Cabbage
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Broccoli
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Turnips
  • Cauliflower
  • Radishes
  • Soy
  • Mustard and Mustard greens

Avoiding doesn’t actually mean that you shouldn’t eat them at all; just be careful and take them moderately.

Now, it is important for you to understand the facts listed beneath. 

 Why is thyroid gland important?

It is one of the largest glands in the endocrine system and is placed in the neck, below the cartilage. Thyroid gland normally has a shape of a butterfly and lies up against the trachea and larynx. Its ‘duty’ is to control how our body responds to other hormones. It makes certain proteins and controls how fast our body uses its energy. Long story short – the thyroid gland monitors our body’s response to hormones and influences our mood, body temperature, and metabolic rate.

The products of its work are called triiodothyronine (T3), thyroxine (sometimes called T4), and calcitonin, all of which are very important for proper functioning of our body.

 How do goitrogens work?

Generally, goitrogens inhibit iodine metabolism, which is important in the formation of thyroid hormones (T3 and T4).  If iodine fails to be adequately taken by the thyroid gland, then the formation of thyroid hormones won’t happen. It is more than obvious that this is a bad thing for people with hypothyroidism— they already have problems with the production of thyroid hormones even without consuming goitrogens.

 Some goitrogenic foods are not so bad

While it is advisable that anyone with a thyroid malfunction minimizes the intake of goitrogens (in some cases even completely stop consuming them), some goitrogenic foods are worse than others.  For example, the cruciferous vegetables are generally very healthy. Therefore, eating cruciferous vegetables on an occasional basis for someone with hypothyroidism is not a bad thing.

On the other hand, a lot of research has proven that soy is not actually so good for us. Even though people who don’t suffer from a thyroid disorder are unlikely to develop this disease by consuming goitrogens, soy might be an exception to this. To be more precise, it has been proven that eating soy frequently can potentially lead to numerous health problems.

Some of the goitrogenic foods mentioned above are considered mildly goitrogenic, for example, spinach, strawberries, and peaches.  Additionally, it is important to mention that some recent studies suggest that cooking these foods may destroy their goitrogenic activity, so you better cook it a bit than eat it raw.

Gluten-related issues

Guten sensitivity contributes to a wide range of autoimmune responses. Even though celiac disease is the one for which gluten is mostly blamed, gluten sensitivity also goes hand-in-hand with autoimmune thyroid disease. By eliminating gluten from your diet, your overall state may improve. If you suffer from autoimmune thyroid it means that it is necessary for you to eliminate foods which contain gluten. Those are mostly wheat, barley, and rye. Even going to a completely gluten-free diet is a good decision in this case.

 Hyperthyroidism vs. Hypothyroidism

Some researchers suggest that people with hyperthyroidism should eat a lot of goitrogenic foods since it reduces the amount of produced hormone (they suffer from overproduction). Still, others say that this is not advisable. Yes, someone with a hyperthyroid condition can eat more goitrogens compared to someone who has hypothyroidism, but he should not overdo it. This is because simply taking goitrogenic foods will not cure the hyperthyroid condition itself. Rather, it will affect its symptoms and thus mask the actual illness.

To conclude, if you have hypothyroidism, you definitely have to be careful with the consumption of goitrogenic foods.  On the other hand, if you suffer from a hyperthyroid disorder, you should not intentionally consume lots of goitrogenic foods in order to inhibit thyroid activity since this will not solve the actual problem but mask it.

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