Resources > Home Health > Goitrogens

Are you a Smart Kitchen™ Chef?

Try it FREE or take a TOUR to explore Smart Kitchen!
+ -

Goitrogens are foods that tend to encourage the formation of Goiters, or the enlargement of the thyroid gland. We are not doctors or researchers, but as we understand it, these Goitrogenic Foods typically contain sulfur or sulfuric elements and the sulfur, iron and copper in your body interact. Essentially, you are healthiest with a balance of trace minerals. When too much sulfur gets into your system, the sulfur competes with the copper and iron in your body which can make the Thyroid get off kilter and work improperly. Cruciferous Vegetables are typically high in Goitrogens.

In the green leafy vegetable category, rhubarb greens and spinach leaves are particularly concentrated sources of oxalates. Rhubarb (Rheum rhubarbarum) can contain up to 11,000 parts per million of oxalic acid in its leaves, while spinach (Spinacia oleracea) can contain up to 6,580 parts per million. Cooking has been shown to have negligible effects on oxalates when they are contained in the root or stalk of the plant. When oxalates are contained in the leaves, cooking has been shown to reduce their concentration, but not dramatically.

Most Goitrogens are rendered 2/3 less dangerous by heat, but there is some evidence that the isoflavones (that make Soy a Goitrogen) are not deactivated by heat. Science is still working on this one.

Finally, taking in too much sulfur can also cause anemia.


Vegetables that are Goitrogens and which should be eaten Raw in moderation or cooked to reduce their impact include: Brussels SproutsCabbage (all kinds), OkraCauliflowerBroccoliKaleKohlrabiMustard GreensCollard GreensSummer SquashTomatoesSweet PotatoesLeeksEggplantRapiniCassava RootSpinachTurnipsRadishes, and Rutabagas.

Fruits that are Goitrogens and which should be eaten raw in moderation, or cooked to reduce their impact include: PeachesPearsCurrantsConcord GrapesFigsPlumsTangerinesRhubarb and Berries like Strawberries.

NutsBeans & Grains that are Goitrogens and which should be eaten raw in moderation, or cooked to reduce their impact include: AlmondsCashewsPeanutsWalnutsPine NutsSoy Beans (and tofu made from Soy), Lima BeansGreen BeansCocoa (and chocolate made from cocoa); Canola, Rapeseed, Flax, Hemp, Pumpkin Seeds, Wheat and Millet.