Goitrogens and Hashimoto’s

Goitrogens and Hashimoto’s

Should you consume Goitrogens if you have Hashimoto’s?

A popular topic surrounding thyroid health is Goitrogens. Some resources claim Goitrogens suppress thyroid function, while others say they’re fine to consume.

What are Goitrogens?

First, let’s define the term. Goitrogens are substances that have the ability to block iodine absorption.  Iodine deficiency can lead to a goiter (abnormal enlargement of the thyroid), hence the term Goitrogen. Sufficient iodine is necessary for normal thyroid function. Iodine deficiency can result in low thyroid function, referred to as hypothyroidism.

Goitrogens are found in cruciferous vegetables, which include the following:

  • Bok choy
  • Broccoli
  • Broccoli Sprouts
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Collard greens
  • Horseradish
  • Kale
  • Kohlrabi
  • Mustard greens
  • Rapeseed
  • Rutabagas
  • Spinach
  • Turnips

Iodine status was a concern in the 1950’s when iodine deficiency was an issue, but iodine deficiency is now a thing of the past.

In fact, research shows excess iodine is a common problem in the United States.  Excess iodine can result in overproduction of hydrogen peroxide and cause oxidative damage to the thyroid gland. Experts believe this is due to our high consumption of iodized salt in processed foods.

United States Iodine Status Hashimoto's

The Verdict

Goitrogens have the ability to upregulate detox pathways and protect against thyroid damage which can be extremely beneficial. Goitrogens do reduce the uptake of iodine, but it is unlikely your thyroid condition is due to low iodine and therefore normal consumption of Goitrogens is unlikely to worsen thyroid function.

What Do I See in Practice?

Many of my clients have gone into remission from Hashimoto’s after we determine the root cause of the autoimmune attack and treat it, but iodine deficiency has not been a root cause for any of my clients thus far. Iodine deficiency is not impossible, but based on the literature, and my clinical experience, I would venture to say it is unlikely. If iodine deficiency is suspected, there is testing available to determine if it is a contributing factor.

My Hashimoto’s is in remission (thanks to the power of food as medicine!) and I can enjoy cruciferous vegetables, including kale, with no issues. I love using sautéed kale in savory dishes, but it’s also a great addition to smoothies.

Here is my favorite kale smoothie recipe to date!


Kale Detox Smoothie
Total Time
5 mins
Course: Dessert, Snack
Servings: 1
  • 1/2 cup coconut water
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1/4 cup walnuts
  • 1 Tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 scoop collagen peptides
  • 3 cups kale
  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 1 medjool date
  • ice cubes to desired texture
  1. Blend all ingredients and top with healthy fats like additional walnuts, other nuts/seeds shredded coconut, and cacao nibs.

Want more helpful tips for managing Hashimoto’s?  Let me know in the comments below!

Do you want to get to the bottom of your autoimmune disease? Book a consult with me so we can determine the root cause of your issues and get you feeling better!

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