Balance Your Thyroid & Eat Your Broccoli Too
1st OF November 2012
Iodine deficiency is often cited as the most common cause of hypothyroidism or an underactive thyroid. A naturally rich source of iodine is seaweed. Natural iodine consumption and absorption is therefore vital for thyroid health!
Broccoli, an unassuming green vegetable can interfere with iodine uptake, as can its other family members. They are known as the “The Cruciferous family” and include Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collard greens, kale, kohlrabi, mustard, turnips, bok choy, aragula, horse radish, wasabi and watercress. (All the gnarly, fibrous green ones you demonstrably declined as children!)
These veggies are rich in sulfur-containing compounds called glucosinolates which, when broken down by chopping, chewing and digestive enzymes, form biologically active compounds such as indoles and isothiocynates.
Isothiocynates appear to disrupt thyroid function by blocking thyroid hormone synthesis, and also by forming ‘goitrins’, compounds that have a similar thyroid-suppressive effect. Some of these compounds also compete with iodine for uptake by the thyroid gland, so the negative impacts of cruciferous vegetables may be dictated by iodine status.
On the flip-side, many of these same compounds have been linked to cancer prevention, especially of the hormone-depended variety. Studies have shown, Indole-3-Carbinol has been associated with lower risk of lung and colorectal cancer in some epidemiological studies. Glucosinolate hydrolysis products alter the metabolism or activity of sex hormones in ways that could inhibit the development of hormone-sensitive cancers such as breast or prostate cancers.
So how do we eat our broccoli, keep our thyroid healthy and prevent cancer?
Cooking has been shown to reduce goitrogenic activity somewhat, especially when the water from cooking has been strained. Immerse your choice of crucifer in naturally salted water. Choose a Celtic sea salt that also naturally contains Iodine. Add some organic seaweed, put the lid on and simmer until just cooked, strain and serve with lashings of organic extra virgin cold pressed olive oil and lemon juice.
Reference for study: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2737735/
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