Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Why You Should Limit Raw Broccoli

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Raw broccoli and cauliflower are standard on party platters and coleslaw is a picnic favorite but did you know that eating too many raw cruciferous vegetables can interfere with your thyroid function?

Cruciferous vegetables include broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, collard greens, arugula, bok choy, brussel sprouts, radish and watercress.

When raw these vegetables contain goitrogens which interfere with the formation of the thyroid hormone and increase your need for iodine.

They also interfere with the transfer of iodine into breastmilk for the nursing mother.

The good news is cooking these vegetables can significantly reduce the goitrogen content. Studies show that steaming until fully cooked reduced goitrogens by 2/3 and boiling for 30 minutes reduced them by 90%.

Fermentation does not reduce goitrogen content but since fermented crucifers such as sauerkraut are usually eaten in small amounts it should not pose a health risk as long as your diet is sufficient in iodine.
In my opinion you don't need to worry about eating these foods raw occasionally unless you already have an impaired thyroid. However it is good to be aware that eating raw cruciferous veggies on a regular basis may cause health problems.

Sources and relevant links:
Nourishing Traditions
Wikipedia- Cruciferous Vegetables
Think Raw Veggies are Best? Think Again.
Should We Eat Raw Crucifers?
Why You Need To Cook These Vegetables For Maximum Nutrition

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  1. Interesting...thanks for sharing! I didn't realize that cooking could reduce the goitrogen effect.

  2. Ya know, i've never been a fan of raw veggies. with the exception of cucumbers, carrots, celery... salad fixings of course. but mostly, I steam mine. I know that can take out some of the nutrients, but it just makes 'em so much better ;)

    the breast milk part was really interesting...

  3. Spinach is not on your list of veggies that shouldn't be had raw, but I seem to remember there is some reason not to have spinach raw. Anyone know anything about that?

  4. All I've been hearing about lately is how good broccoli is for you...a good friend of mine eats it almost every day. I'll definitely be passing on this info to her! Thanks for the heads-up!

  5. When there is so much evidence out there that would contradict your statement that cooked is better than raw - it would be good if you could cite how you came to this conclusion.

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