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Goitrogens And The Raw Food Diet

Goitrogens seem to be one of the least talked about issues when it comes to the raw vegan lifestyle, so I thought I'd do a little article on it. Whether your researching about the raw food diet, juicing or are already part of the raw food movement your likely to come across the complications of goitrogens at some point.

This doesn't just apply to those following a raw vegan lifestyle, it also applies to those who juice greens regularly. Before anyone thinks I'm getting at the raw food lifestyle I'm not, personally I am a big fan of raw foods and a large percentage of my diet is based around raw food. But we need to learn about the possible complications of following the raw food lifestyle and how to counter them.

So What Are Goitrogens?

Goitrogens are substances found naturally in foods which suppress the function of the thyroid gland by interfering with iodine uptake. This can cause enlargement of the thyroid gland also known as goiter and hypothyroidism.

Which Foods Contain Goitrogens?

Vegetables in the brassica family such as bok choy, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collard greens, kale and radishes are some of the vegetables which contain goitrogens.

Strawberries, pears, peaches, spinach and sweet potatoes are regarded as lightly goitrogenic foods. These will likely not make much of a difference to your thyroid health especially with sufficient iodine consumption. There are many other foods containing goitrogens such as soya but I'm keeping this inline with the raw food theme for this article.

Although pretty much every plant can be considered to have some goitrogenic effect due to there phyto-estrogen content. But in most cases the phyto-estrogen content isn't high enough to cause concern and in many cases such as with seaweeds they are balanced out with the high iodine content.

How To Counter Goitrogens?

So how do we deal with these goitrogens your asking. Well to start if your following a vegan diet your probably cooking a lot of your vegetables, in which case cooking inactivates the goitrogenic compounds. In the case of a raw food diet this obviously isn't possible. So much care has to be taken when eating raw foods which contain goitrogens. The best thing you can do is probably limit your servings of these foods raw. The next best thing is to increase your iodine intake which counteracts the effects of goitrogens.

Many like to consume the foods listed above raw for there health benefits and increased nutrition so if you are going to consume large amounts of these goitrogen containing foods raw it would be a wise idea to double the RDA of iodine on those days. The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for iodine is 150mcg.

What doesn't help is that many raw vegan diets are severely lacking in iodine, mostly due to the poor levels of iodine in the soil which the fruits and vegetables were grown in. Which is another reason why eating some seaweeds regularly or if you cant handle the taste then supplementing with a kelp/seaweed formula is a good idea.

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