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Goitrogenic Foods

Hypothyroidism is one of those whispered-about diagnoses out there that people commonly misunderstand. If a person is struggling with their weight, you’ll commonly hear, “Maybe I have a thyroid problem”. Sure, maybe so. But trust me, hypothyroidism is much more complex than that.

A recent email from a reader, Liz (Hi Liz!) spurred this topic today. When she put in the blog topic request I had a “Doh!” moment. What a great topic to blog about…thank you, Liz!

Hypothyroidism is an very common endocrine disorder which results from underactive thyroid hormone. This thyroid hormone deficiency can be the result of several happenings. But I’m not a physician, so I won’t even go there 🙂 However, you can read all about the pathophysiology. While hypothyroidism is common, mortality rates are incredibly rare. The highest rates of hypothyroidism are found among Caucasian, elderly females.

Symptoms of hypothyroidism include: fatigues, loss of energy, lethargy, weight gain, decreased appetite, sensitivity to cold, dry skin, hair loss, muscle and joint pain, depression, forgetfulness, menstrual irregularities, decreased perspiration, blurred vision, auditory loss, hoarseness, neck and throat pain, thyroid enlargement, fever, goiter, jaundice, bradycardia, and pitting edema. Other biometric symptoms of hypothyroidism include: anemia, dilutional hyponatremia, hyperlipidemia, and elevated creatinine. Phew.

The primary causes of hypothyroidism include iodine deficiency and in developed countries, autoimmune disorder.

As for the diet, there are several recommendations those with hypothyroidism should consider, including:

  • Limiting goitrogenic foods (i.e. brussel’s sprouts, kohlrabi, turnips, rutabaga, radishes, cabbage, kale, and cauliflower). If you choose to consume these foods, do so in moderation and preferably after being cooked.
  • Taking a multivitamin supplement
  • Take vitamins, minerals (e.g. iron, calcium, and vitamin D) 4 hours before or after thyroid medication
  • Consider adopting a low-residue (low-fiber) diet if your medical provider feels your medication is not being properly absorbed
  • Find an endocrinologist you love. A good endocrinologist is worth their weight in gold. Endocrine disorders, such as hypothyroidism, should be treated by an endocrinologist.
  • Limit or avoid soy as it can act as a hormone mnemic.


And one last recipe tribute to PAPRIKA, Blogger Secret Ingredient for the week!

Grilled Halibut Cod with Peach and Pepper Salsa adapted from Cooking Light June 2010

2 1/2  cups  coarsely chopped peeled yellow peaches (about 1 1/4 pounds)
1 1/3  cups  chopped red bell pepper (about 1 large)
1/2  cup  thinly sliced green onions
1/2  cup  chopped fresh arugula
1/3  cup  fresh lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
2  tablespoons  chopped fresh oregano
1/4  teaspoon  salt
1  habanero pepper, seeded and minced
1  garlic clove, minced

2  tablespoons  fresh lemon juice
2  tablespoons olive oil
1  teaspoon smoked paprika
2  garlic cloves, minced
6  (6-ounce) skinless halibut cod fillets
1/2  teaspoon  salt
1/2  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
Cooking spray


To prepare salsa, combine first 9 ingredients; toss gently. Let stand 30 minutes before serving.
Prepare grill to medium-high heat.

To prepare fish, combine 2 tablespoons juice, oil, paprika, and 2 garlic cloves in a large, shallow glass baking dish, stirring with a whisk. Add fish to juice mixture; turn to coat. Cover and let stand 15 minutes.

Remove fish from marinade; discard marinade. Sprinkle fish evenly with 1/2 teaspoon salt and black pepper. Place fish on a grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 3 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Serve fish with salsa. Serves 6 (1 fish filet and 2/3 cup salsa per serving).

Nutrition Information (per serving): 267 calories; 8.6 g. fat (1.2 g. saturated fat, 4.6 monounsaturated, 1.8 g. polyunsaturated); 35.5 g. protein; 11.8 g. carbohydrate; 2.3 g. fiber; 52 mg. cholesterol; 389 mg. sodium

Result: This was really good! The habanero gives a fun zing to the citrus of the salsa. Very light and again, featured not only paprika, but also the grill. I am LOVING the easy clean-up that accompanies cooking on the grill 😀

And a Lily (or should I say Lily’s tongue?) appearance, per Mari’s request 😉

Off to work 🙁 I am typically off on Fridays but since Monday was a holiday…off I go…after stopping by Panera for bagels to appease my co-workers 😉

Question: Had you previously heard of goitrogenic foods? Any fun weekend plans? 😀

P.S. Don’t forget to submit BSI entries by Sunday at 5pm CT!

Brainstorming my happy hour selection,

Share With Your Friends!


  1. Mari
    June 4, 2010 / 6:39 am

    Awww that totally made my morning! Thank God that Koko doesn’t know about my Lily Love or I would be in the “doghouse” hahaha….I know it’s corney but give me a break, I am still in bed and have only been awake for 2 minutes =p

  2. Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman
    June 4, 2010 / 6:40 am

    I didn’t know much about hypothyroidism or goitrogenic foods at all, so this was really interesting. That fish dish looks so good–lots of colors!

  3. Jessica @ How Sweet
    June 4, 2010 / 6:45 am

    I have never heard about goitrogenic foods. Crap, the only vegetable I like is kale, granted I eat it in chip (roasted) form. I do have hypothyroidism. What are you thoughts? Should I limit it??

    I also never heard about the low-fiber diet! Geeeez, I eat a ton of fiber…lol. My thyroid disease is under control, but these are all new to me. The only thing I have ever avoided is soy.

    • Nicole
      June 4, 2010 / 6:51 am

      Only low-fiber if you medical provider feels your synthroid or other thyroid medication is not being absorbed properly. And you’re cooking the kale, so I think you’re fine ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Lauren @ Eater Not a Runner
    June 4, 2010 / 7:19 am

    That looks so good (and lily is TOO cute).

  5. Shannon
    June 4, 2010 / 7:37 am

    I had never heard that word before. Thanks for the info!

    That fish looks so fresh. I love fruit salsas too!

    Thanks for the Lily picture too ๐Ÿ™‚ Brightens my day to see cute animals!

  6. Sophie
    June 4, 2010 / 7:38 am

    OMG that dish looks incredible!! So light and summery! Peaches? YUM! Amazing meal, I can’t wait to try this. Have a great weekend ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Tes
    June 4, 2010 / 8:00 am

    The dish looks beautiful. The fish looks yummy & well cook. I really love your way of making fish, it’s so flavourful. I really wanna try it.

  8. CaSaundra
    June 4, 2010 / 8:03 am

    I love how you always tie great health info with a great recipe–perfect way to post! ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Lena
    June 4, 2010 / 8:36 am

    I was craving cinnamon crunch earlier in the week. Yum!

  10. Anne Marie@New Weigh of Life
    June 4, 2010 / 8:36 am

    I’m going to my friend’s baby shower this weekend-we’re due a day apart!

  11. Stauffenberg
    June 4, 2010 / 8:43 am

    Yeah, it’s good, very useful, thanks ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. Sushma Mallya
    June 4, 2010 / 9:17 am

    wow thats a very beautiful dish, looks delicious as well

  13. Diane
    June 4, 2010 / 10:02 am

    I have heard of this term and these foods. if memory serves, many of these , if eaten raw, can also produce an inflammatory response in arthritis sufferers. It is always shocking to find that “good” for you foods can be so very bad for different conditions, but it is true. The dish looks very yummy, and I would venture to say it would work with chicken as well ( for those with fish allergies like me ). My weekend is going to be an uber exciting trip to the grocery store, a session with Mount Chopme ( prepping veggies for the week) and then a day of serious catching up on my herbal studies. Be still my beating heart !!:-)

  14. Kelly
    June 4, 2010 / 10:57 am

    I have never heard of goitrogenic foods. Thanks for the information, Nicole. I always feel like I learn so much from you!

  15. Stacey
    June 4, 2010 / 10:58 am

    Oh wow–this is exactly what I needed to read today. I have hypothyrodism (at least 12 years and I’m 27) and have really been struggling lately as my numbers are correct according to my doctor (on the upper end) but I’m still exibiting symptoms (including gaining 8 lbs over this past month on a relatively healthy diet and exercise program). It is incredibly frustrating and I’m looking for anything that will help. I’m also really thinking about going to an endocrinologist (I already have gone to an ENT that specialized in thyroid b/c of a small goiter). Ugh.

  16. sophia
    June 4, 2010 / 11:23 am

    Oh man, hypothyroidism sounds horrible. It would be so difficult for me to give up my beloved brussel sprouts, broccoli, and cabbage. I’ve never heard of goitrogenic foods, but thank god for you to tell me about it!

  17. Melinda
    June 4, 2010 / 11:57 am

    I can’t actually say that I have heard this specifically referred to as goitrogenic foods, but the naming makes sense. Even as an RD, I did not practice too much with hypothyroidism. As for the pathophysiology, when I was in grad school I took a course in toxicology and there are a lot of things that mess up the thyroid. I had to learn and be able to diagram the pathways an mechanisms for thyroid issues and goiter and all of those hormones. I wish I remembered more now. Some of the stuff I do remember, but not all.

  18. Leah @ Why Deprive?
    June 4, 2010 / 12:13 pm

    I had never heard of goitrogenic foods before. That is a BIG word! lol

  19. fitandfortysomething
    June 4, 2010 / 12:29 pm

    love the pic of lily! and thank nicole for that great info about hypothyrodism….i am forwarding it to a friend of mine. happy friday!

  20. Rebecca @ How the Cookies Crumble
    June 4, 2010 / 2:13 pm

    Thanks for this post! I’ve been doing a lot of research on hypothyroidism and natural cures lately and came across several articles about goitrogenic foods yesterday. I’ve been having having many symptoms of hypothyroidism mainly insomnia, extreme exhaustion, inability to concentrate, forgetfulness, weight gain, intolerance to cold, etc. My PCP said my TSH levels are high, but still within a normal range; however since it was his nurse who called me she was unable to tell me specific numbers because she is not an MD. From what I’ve read there is much debate as to what is “normal” so for now I’ve just been trying to keep a journal of how I feel each day, how I sleep, and taking my temperature each morning (I read low body temperature can be an indicator to hypothyroidism) and plan to see an endocrinologist in the next week or two. In the meantime, I just have to struggle through the extreme exhaustion which I’ve had for several months.

  21. Swanky Dietitian
    June 4, 2010 / 3:26 pm

    Great post! I always feel like I’m getting such a great review when reading.
    Lily is too adorable. Hope your day goes by fast!

  22. 'Drea
    June 4, 2010 / 5:02 pm

    Very nice close-up of Lily. That Grilled Halibut Cod with Peach and Pepper Salsa looks scrumptious. Now, if I can just convince myself to get back in the kitchen.

  23. Kara @ MyWellnest
    June 4, 2010 / 6:07 pm

    I find the information on Hypothyroidism very interesting. I hadn’t heard of goitrogenic foods.
    LOVE the mug of Lily!!! Too cute! ๐Ÿ™‚

  24. Julie @ Pickley Pear
    June 4, 2010 / 7:06 pm

    Very colorful fish dish, love it! Have a great weekend!

  25. marla {Family Fresh Cooking}
    June 4, 2010 / 9:48 pm

    Love that photo of Lily!
    Grilled cod looks like a meal that would be right up my alley. Nice touch with the peaches. Have a wonderful weekend! xo

  26. John
    June 4, 2010 / 9:50 pm

    I first heard of goitrogenic foods listening to old podcasts of Jillian Michaels radio show. Lily is looking a little happier there…..feeling better now?

  27. Joanne
    June 5, 2010 / 6:32 am

    Thanks for sharing all of this info! It’s so good for people to see that way they can be aware of the signs and symptoms to watch for. I’d never heard of goitrogenic foods before, but I’m sure it will help me to know this stuff at some point in my life.

    That halibut looks amazing! What a gorgeous dish!

  28. therabbitrunner
    June 5, 2010 / 7:44 am

    just wondering, but why should people limit goitrogenic foods? im just curious because my grandma was just diagnosed and i know she loves brussels.

    • Nicole
      June 5, 2010 / 8:18 am

      Eating large quantities of goitrogenic foods can increase risk of goiter formation in those with hypothyroidism. Unless she’s eating TONS, I’m sure she’s fine. ๐Ÿ™‚

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