Some foods that are usually considered to be healthy may be problematic for people with an under active thyroid gland. The list of these unsuspecting foods includes soybeans, broccoli, strawberries, and peaches.
The thyroid is a gland with a butterfly – like shape, which is located at the base of the front of the neck. Gland produces hormones and secretes into the bloodstream have a huge impact on all aspects of metabolism. The two main hormones thyroid produces are thyroxin (T4) and Triiodothyronine (T3) maintain the rate at which the body uses fats and carbohydrates for energy production in cells.
In people with hypothyroidism (under-active thyroid), consumption of soy-based foods or cruciferous vegetables may interfere with thyroid activity. This is because these foods contain Goitrogenic associated with the disorder producing thyroid hormones. Along with soy-bens you can consider peaches, strawberries and buckwheat that contain Goitrogen and you should be careful with them.
Goitrogenic materials are natural compounds that have the power to disrupt thyroid functions; they inhibit the production of thyroid hormones. “Goitrogenic” got their name from the word “Goiter” which means an enlargement of the thyroid gland. When the thyroid gland fails to produce enough hormones, it may grow to compensate for the under-production.
What’s wrong with soy?
Soy based foods include the soybeans themselves, extract or soy foods such as tofu and tempeh. Researchers have identified that out of all the common elements making for soy based foods, it was found that isoflavones are actually associated with a decreased secretion of thyroid hormones in people with an under-active thyroid.
Isoflavones are natural compounds which belong to the large family of nutrients called flavonoids. Flavonoids are present in all plants and are natural dyes that give plants an amazing range of colors.
Most health science research projects focused on the beneficial features of flavonoids. These compounds have proven time and again to have a positive impact on health. The correlation found between isoflavones and reduced activity of the thyroid gland is actually one of the few areas in which flavonoid intake may be considered problematic.
Isoflavones as genistein reduced the secretion of thyroid hormones by inhibiting the activity of the enzyme thyroid peroxidase. This enzyme is responsible for adding iodine to the thyroid hormones to make them become active.
The second category of foods associated with the disorder in the production of thyroid hormones in people with under-active thyroid are cruciferous vegetables. This family includes broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, mustard, radish, turnip, kohlrabi and Kale .
The researchers found that a group of substances called isothiocyanates are abundant in vegetables from this family related to reduced function of the thyroid among those with Hypothyroidism. Like isoflavones, also isothiocyanates inhibit the peroxidase enzyme activity Thyroid and reduce the formation of thyroid hormones. In addition, these compounds disrupt communications and transmission of signals passing through the thyroid cell membranes.
Examples of Foods Containing Goitrogenic ingredients
|Foods Group||A list of foods that might prove harmful for those suffering from under active thyroid|
|Family of the Cruciferous vegetables||Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, collard greens, kohlrabi, turnip, radish, mustard.|
|Foods and products derived from soy||Soybeans, soy sauce, Tampa, tofu, extract isoflavones, soy protein powder|
|Other Foods||Buckwheat, peaches, peanuts, spinach, strawberries.|
There is no scientific evidence Goitrogenic foods could negatively affect health when a person has no problems with the thyroid gland and in fact the opposite is true. Foods derived from soy and cruciferous vegetables have unique nutritional value. According to the findings of many scientific studies of these dietary intakes associated with a reduced risk of various diseases, including cancer.
There have yet to be controlled scientific experiments that conducted whether there is a connection between Goitrogenic foods and the lack of thyroid hormones. Thus health professionals still disagree over whether a person with a thyroid problem, especially the lack of thyroid hormones, should prohibit himself from eating foods that are defined as Goitrogenic.
Most professionals recommend that people with lack of thyroid hormones avoid excessive consumption of foods and limit Goitrogenic eating to reasonable amounts.
Reducing intake of Goitrogenic foods more is problematic when it comes to soy-based foods, rather than the cruciferous vegetables. This is due to the fact that soy is a hidden element in many prepared foods. “Vegetable protein” appears as an ingredient in prepared foods and will often be derived from soy.
What is the recommended maximal intake amount of soy and cruciferous vegetables for someone that suffers from an under active thyroid gland?
Consumption of a standard cup of cruciferous vegetables 2-3 times a week and 100-120 grams of tofu twice a week will not cause a problem for most people with a lack of thyroid hormones. You should try to include these foods in the menu thanks to their excellent nutritional value and because of their ability to inhibit the development of many health problems.
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Cooking reduces risk
It was found that cooking helps eliminate the impact of Goitrogenic compounds in some foods. Both isoflavones in soy and cruciferous isothiocyanates are heat sensitive and therefore reduce the impact when cooking. In the case of isothiocyanates in cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, a third of the isothiocyanates compounds lose their activity after cooked in water.
In conclusion it is highly recommended for people with thyroid problems to limit intake of these foods and choose the cooked form, since as mentioned above cooking or steaming reduce their Goitrogenic impact.