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Sauerkraut and thyroid

by 2268 · March 09, 2013 at 05:54 PM

As I understand it, the cabbage in sauerkraut is not cooked, only fermented. Does that mean it's goitrogenic?

I love cabbage in general, and would like to eat sauerkraut in particular for its beneficial gastrointestinal effects, but have been avoiding all cruciferous vegetables ever since I read they were goitrogenic. Some sources say cooking greatly reduces this effect (although I'm not convinced). What about fermentation?

(Goitrogenic = interferes with thyroid function / Cruciferous = a family of vegetables that includes cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, brussel sprouts, horseradish, mustard,...)

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732 · March 21, 2010 at 09:40 AM

Yes, fermented crufifers are still goitrogenic. WAPF used to circulate information that fermentation reduces or eliminates the thyroid suppressing effects, but have since reversed their position. As someone who can easily eat bowlfuls of kim chee, I have personal experience with this as well as being able to provide links. (Nothing like a basal body temperature of 95 degrees and all of your hair falling out to get your attention!)

Cooking is a far better method of removing the goitrogens. And there is still a strong case to be made for consuming femented crucifers in condiment quantities, especially in combination with good dietary sources of iodine. Read more here and here.

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1383 · March 21, 2010 at 06:54 PM

Here is an extensive list of goitrogenic foods, of which there are surprisingly many: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goitrogen

But there's no need to freak out over this; they are in no way "toxic" as foods and there's no comparison to the evil effects of soy. Even people with hypothyroidism generally just need to keep an eye on intake and see by experimentation which if any of the foods seem to affect them; my understanding is that cooking the foods greatly reduces if not completely eliminates the problem. I avoided them all after I was first diagnosed but really they don't cause any problem that I can see. I don't eat any significant amount of raw crucifers though (maybe some bits of raw broccoli when hitting a salad bar, a spinach salad on rare occasion). But I certainly eat raw strawberries, and ate peanut butter before I went paleo.

The sauerkraut is interesting but I can't remember the last time I had any anyway -- not a big item for me without a hot dog underneath it. :)

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3112 · March 21, 2010 at 03:25 PM

Cauliflower and cabbage interfere with your thyroid?! This is the first time I've heard this.

I'm not saying it's not true, but I feel like every time I turn around, there is another item that looks like "real food" but is supposedly off-limits: night shades - not technically paleo; tubers - not allowed according to some; nuts - have to be soaked; now broccoli is toxic!?!

I've made my own sauerkraut; it came out great. I had no problems. I will make it, and eat it, again.

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0 · March 09, 2013 at 05:54 PM

I was wondering about sauerkraut. Just made a crock... think I'll give it all away. Recently, I put cabbage in the Vitamix and drank it. Within 15 minutes I was horizontal. When I dragged myself out of that coma, I checked my temp...95.2. Bummer. Love sauerkraut.

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