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 the RAW foods!”
Raw foods are wonderful, delicious and nutritious, but they are not necessarily good for all conditions. Especially, not for thyroid troubles or physically cold conditions.
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:
- Chinese cabbage
- Collard greens
- Brussels sprouts
- Bok choy
- Mustard greens
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 who 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 rich 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 taking iodine supplements promotes goiter.
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 deactivate most of the anti-nutrients in these specific raw foods. That means blanch your kale in salted water, and then saute it in some fat (olive oil or butter) to help your body absorb the beneficial vitamins and minerals. And, ditch the ice-cold green smoothies for a while.
This doesn’t mean that you can never have another smoothie or eat a raw kale salad, it just means to listen to your body, hear what it is saying, and make the necessary dietary adjustments that facilitate healing.
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Andrea Beaman is an internationally renowned Holistic Health Coach, Natural Foods Chef, Speaker and Herbalist. Named one of the top 100 Most Influential Health and Fitness Experts, she is also a recipient of the Natural Gourmet Institute’s Award for Excellence in Health-Supportive Education and a Health Leadership award from The Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Since 1999, Andrea has been teaching people how to harness the body’s own preventative and healing powers using food, herbal remedies and alternative medicine.