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What are Goitrogens and How Do they Affect the Thyroid?

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Updated August 27, 2009

Question: What are Goitrogens and How Do they Affect the Thyroid?
Answer: Goitrogenic foods can act like the antithyroid drugs propylthiouracil and methimazole in disabling the thyroid function, so they should not be eaten in large amounts by someone on thyroid hormone replacement who still has a thyroid. It's thought that the enzymes involved in the formation of goitrogenic materials in plants can be destroyed by cooking, so thorough cooking may minimize goitrogenic potential.

Goitrogenic foods include:

  • Brussels sprouts
  • broccoli
  • rutabaga
  • turnips
  • cauliflower
  • African cassava
  • millet
  • cabbage
  • kale
  • cauliflower
  • Kohlrabi
  • mustard greens
  • radishes
  • rutabaga
  • spinach
  • peaches
  • strawberries
  • millet
  • babassu (a palm-tree coconut fruit popular in Brazil and Africa)
  • peanuts
  • soybeans and soy products, including tofu

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