Most of the world has been exposed to the popular dark leafy green called Kale and its raving health reviews. Kale is a member of the cabbage family and related to cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, brussel sprouts, collards greens, and cauliflower. In addition to being an anti-oxidant and preventing cancer, a single cup of kale is said to have the following health agents: Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, Maganese, Calcium, Copper, Potassium, Magnesium, Iron, Phosphorus, Vitamin B1 (Thiamin), Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), Vitamin B3 (Niacin) and the Omega-3 fatty acid called linolenic acid.
Despite the benefits that kale present which include lowering cholesterol, losing weight, sharpening eyesight and serving as a source of minerals that most humans are deficient in, according to the NY Times article, “Kale? Juicing? Trouble Ahead.”, kale may not be as healthy as rumored when kale is consumed raw.
Check out Jennifer Berman’s excerpt from the writing piece she did for The Times below explaining how she found out that she had hypothyroidism from consuming kale:
Imagine my shock, then, at my last physical, when my doctor told me I had hypothyroidism, common in women over 40. When I got home I looked up the condition on the Internet and found a list of foods to avoid. Kale, which I juiced every morning, tops the list, followed by broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts and collard greens — the cruciferous vegetables I consumed in large quantities because they are thought to prevent cancer, which runs in my family. And flax — as in the seeds — high in omega 3’s, that I sprinkled on cereal and blended in strawberry almond milk smoothies. Also forbidden: almonds and strawberries, not to mention soy, peaches, peanuts, corn, radishes, rutabaga and spinach.
Berman’s first of course thought that she was misguided by what she found. However, further research from the Oregon State University Micronutrient Information site further confirmed her findings:
Very high intakes of cruciferous vegetables…have been found to cause hypothyroidism (insufficient thyroid hormone) in animals (68). There has been one case report of an 88-year-old woman developing severe hypothyroidism and coma following consumption of an estimated 1.0 to 1.5 kg/day of raw bok choy for several months. Two mechanisms have been identified to explain this effect. The hydrolysis of some glucosinolates found in cruciferous vegetables (e.g., progoitrin) may yield a compound known as goitrin, which has been found to interfere with thyroid hormone synthesis. The hydrolysis of another class of glucosinolates, known as indole glucosinolates, results in the release of thiocyanate ions, which can compete with iodine for uptake by the thyroid gland. Increased exposure to thiocyanate ions from cruciferous vegetable consumption or, more commonly, from cigarette smoking, does not appear to increase the risk of hypothyroidism unless accompanied by iodine deficiency. One study in humans found that the consumption of 150 g/day (5 oz/day) of cooked Brussels sprouts for four weeks had no adverse effects on thyroid function.
Check out the safest way to consume kale if you have a thyroid problem from health coach and psychology of eating coach, Nina Manolson from Somerville, Massachusetts.
1. Cook Your Kale
The goitrogenic properties of kale become dramatically lessened when kale — or any other cruciferous vegetable — is cooked. (Other veggies in this category include: broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collard greens, kohlrabi, mustard, rutabaga, turnips, bok choy and Chinese cabbage. Arugula, horseradish, radish, wasabi and watercress are also cruciferous vegetables.)
2. Eat Seaweed
Kale on its own does not increase the risk of thyroid problems. It’s a combination of factors; including potential iodine deficiency. (One of the most common causes of goiters is iodine deficiency.) Adding seaweed or another iodine rich food to your diet may, in some cases, help you get adequate iodine.
3. Throw A Brazil Nut Into Your Smoothie
Selenium can support normal iodine levels which in turn may support a healthy thyroid. A Brazil nut or two in your daily smoothie or as a topping to any dish might help keep selenium levels strong.
4. Switch Up Your Greens
Vary your greens. If you’re going to eat kale one day choose a non-cruciferous, non-goitrogenic veggie dish the next, like a simple cucumber and tomato salad, or beets. There are many highly nutritious vegetables that aren’t goitrogenic, including celery, parsley, zucchini, carrots and more. Our bodies need many nutrients and by eating a variety of vegetables you’ll ensure that you don’t overload on one and skip another.
Love & Light, Cris
check out the original NY Times article: “Kale? Juicing? Trouble Ahead”