When Eating Your Veggies Backfires On Your Thyroid

By David Blyweiss, M.D., Advanced Natural Wellness

July 23, 2012

Thyroid Series #3:

  • Iodine-eating foods and what to do about them
  • The 3-step approach to eating for a healthy thyroid
  • Yet another reason to manage your stress, as if you needed one

While the thyroid may be complicated, supporting it and keeping it healthy and normal is actually quite simple. But it requires a little bit of nutritional knowledge that is, unfortunately, not very commonly known.

For most people, the road to a healthy thyroid is a simple one, once they have this information. Their excess weight begins to drop, their energy increases, and their hair and skin improves. Life becomes fun again.

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In this third issue of the thyroid series (Issue #1Issue #2), I’ll reveal some of these nutritional secrets, and also, give you a few other tips that will help you to support your thyroid naturally. But I’ll give you fair warning… you might be in for a surprise.

Because an enlarged thyroid is referred to as a goiter, compounds that can cause hypothyroidism are sometimes categorized as goitrogens. And you might be surprised that some of the healthiest vegetables I recommend in this newsletter all the time are on this list…

Now, before I reveal the offending list of veggies and other foods, let me introduce you to the idea of moderation.

Often, when people find out a food or nutrient is good, they eat a lot of it. And when they hear something is bad, they shun it completely. But in the case of the foods on this particular list, balance, moderation and variety are the key to maintaining thyroid health without compromising your health in other ways.

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In fact, the body works best when it’s in balance. It detests extremes. Please keep this in mind when following any of the health suggestions you read, whether here in Advanced Natural Wellness, or elsewhere.

That said, cruciferous veggies are the ones you have to watch out for. They can suppress your iodine levels, which puts them on the list of goitrogens. This includes broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, bok choy, kale, mustard greens, kohlrabi. In short, some of the healthiest veggies out there!

Also on the list are: peaches, peanuts, pears, radishes, spinach, strawberries and sweet potatoes.

Now, before you cross these otherwise healthy fruits and veggies off your must-eat list, let me explain what this means, and what you should do…

1) Variety: The easiest and most obvious approach to this nutritional conundrum is to add more variety to your diet. Include other families of veggies in your daily menu such as curcubits (cucumbers and squash), legumes (beans and peas), even the nightshades (eggplants and peppers) if they have no joint effects on you.

2) Balance: As they say, knowledge is power. Once you know what nutrients various fruits, nuts and veggies contain, you can create a diet that keeps you in balance. In the second issue of this series, I gave you a protocol for strengthening your thyroid with iodine, tyrosine, selenium, zinc and copper. By eating more foods that are high in these elements, you’ll create more balance.

For example, just 3-5 Brazil nuts a day will significantly boost your selenium. Sea vegetables such as seaweed and dulse are rich in iodine. Almonds, pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds/oil are all high in tyrosine. When you add foods rich in minerals the thyroid needs, they will better balance the foods that aren’t as thyroid-friendly, but are important to your health in other ways.

3) Avoid: Instead of crossing off fruits and veggies, decrease iodine-killing chemicals such as chlorine, fluoride, and bromine whenever possible. If you have a pool, consider finding natural ways to clean it instead of chlorine. Put filters on your tap water and drink distilled water to reduce both fluoride and chlorine. Eat less processed flour and other foods high in bromine. Avoid the chlorinated sucrose sweetener known as the brand name Splenda or the generic name, sucralose.

And finally, soy and soy products are also goitrogens. I have already recommended you avoid soy whenever possible, because most soy produced in the U.S. (but not that from Asia) is now genetically-modified. So just add this additional reason to the list.

When you start eating with your thyroid in mind, it isn’t difficult to get what you need. As with many health challenges today, man-made problems usually have nature-made solutions. You just have to know where to look.

And finally, another thyroid solution well within your grasp concerns stress…

If you dabbled in chemistry in high school you’ll recall some elements simply don’t get along in a beaker. And some get along beautifully – I mean, where would we be without H2O?

Well, when elements and nutrients and chemicals hit your body, the same thing can happen. Some get along, and some don’t. And these reactions can have an enormous affect on your health.

Cortisol and thyroid hormone are one of those combos. When the balance is correct, everything works great. When it’s off – and there is either too much or not enough cortisol – your thyroid hormones are not happy at all.

This explains why so many of us get sick after high-stress times, such as holidays or a busy season at work. And why we can stay much healthier if we learn to keep our stress levels more even.

Deep breathing exercises every day are not just a good idea – they are a requirement in this high-stress age. Exercise is not only important for weight loss, but critical for managing stress. Getting enough sleep – preferably 8 hours each night – gives your body a chance to regulate not only stress, but all the hormones in your body.

By paying attention to how you feel, getting the right tests, and ensuring your have enough critical nutrients, you can easily keep your thyroid in check. Please share these issues with your loved ones. And feel free to email me any questions you have, so I can cover them in subsequent issues as time and space allows.