The TRUTH About Cruciferous Vegetables, Goitrogens & Your Thyroid

cruciferous vegetables goitrogens and thyroid

Cruciferous vegetables…helpful or harmful?

They have become the worry of people with thyroid-issues rapidly over the last few years…but is there fact and foundation to this worry? Is there truth to it?

In this brand new video (written version below) – I uncover the science, the data, the research and the TRUTH:

Transcript: Cruciferous Vegetables & Your Thyroid

Today I want to talk about cruciferous vegetables and thyroid health.

I am sick and tired of the conflicting information out there – it’s confusing people, leading people to bad decisions and it’s ultimately harming their health. And it makes me mad. This is about as mad as I get!

Goitrogens, cruciferous vegetables – it’s a super confusing topic – that need not be a super-confusing topic. In our – as Mark Hyman puts it – pop nutrition culture, it has become an easy way for a bunch of websites to get attention to click bait you with headlines like ‘hey kale that food you through was awesome is really actually bad for you’

How, all of a sudden is kale bad for you?

The logic as to how or why they are making these claims about cruciferous vegetables is super fuzzy and is scientifically flawed beyond belief.

I want to make this clear: cruciferous vegetables are absolutely ridiculously good for you – they are alkaline, antioxidant rich, proven-cancer fighters that contain an abundance of nutrients that are SO important for your thyroid health – as well as the rest of your endocrine system.

So why then are people saying to avoid them?

The fuzzy logic is because cruciferous vegetables such as kale, boy choi, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, watercress, arugula – all of the foods I eat a TON of – contain a substances that are goitrogenic. And substances that cause a goitrogenic reaction can inhibit iodine from reaching your thyroid – and the thyroid absolutely needs iodine for proper functioning.

So you can see a dotted line here…and this is where the kale naysayers are coming from…

Goitrogenic foods inhibit iodine – thyroid needs iodine. But if you peel even one tiny layer back – you’ll see that it would be absolute madness to stop eating these powerful green foods.

You would have to eat an insane, dangerous amount of these foods all day every day AND ALSO have severe chronic iodine deficiency for this level of goitrogenic activity to even register. The body EASILY copes with the goitrogenic foods we eat, easily. It doesn’t even scratch the surface.

These guys are just putting two and two together and making millions of people stop eating some of the healthiest foods on earth.

Let me ask you – Where is the evidence?

There has been just one case report this isn’t even a study of an 88-year-old woman developing hypothyroidism following consumption of an estimated 1.0 to 1.5 kg/day of raw bok-choy every day for several months.

This is mental – 1.5 kg of JUST bok-choy for months – if you ate that crazy amount of ANY food for months you’d get issues!

So to check in on this and try to understand what was going on, one human study was conducted where subjects had to consume of 150 g/day of Brussels sprouts – one of the most supposedly goitrogenic foods on earth – for four weeks. The result? None of the participants had an adverse effects on thyroid function.

The simple truth? You would have to consume an insane amount of raw cruciferous vegetables for them to have a negative effect on your thyroid function.

And even then – if you had sufficient iodine intake, which 99.9% of people in the developed world do – the body would still easily be able to deal with it.

Another study – in 2011 from The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism discovered that vegans and vegetarians who had higher urinary thiocyanate – which is indicative of higher cruciferous intake and lower iodine intake, even these guys had no difference in thyroid function, which was within the normal healthy range.

Remember – cruciferous vegetables have been hugely well researched in relation to their cancer fighting properties – they have been shown over and over again to absolutely crush cancer – and their massive nutrient content actually makes them SO important for those looking to rebalance their thyroid health.

“The potential protective role of cruciferous vegetables and active components present in these vegetables, such as isothiocyanates and indole-3-carbinol, has been extensively studied in experimental in vitro and in vivo carcinogenesis models. Results have consistently shown that the chemopreventive agents derived from this class of vegetables of the Cruciferae family influence carcinogenesis during initiation and promotion phases of cancer development. Similarly, reports from epidemiological studies and clinical trials support this notion. — Source: The Journal of Nutrition & Cancer

As with my video on the oxalate myth last week – the REAL problem here, the REAL risk for your thyroid is gluten-containing grains and sugar.
The damaging proteins found in gluten have been repeatedly proven to cause under and overactive thyroid – NOT cruceferious vegetables.
If you ARE still concerned, simply steam or lightly boil your cruciferous vegetables – it removes all of the compounds from the foods that are goitrogenic. But really, you don’t need to worry about this.

So – the takeaway message is simple – if you don’t eat an incredibly insane amount of raw cruciferous vegetables every day for months alone, and if you’re not chronically iodine deficient (and if you are, honestly, this is probably the least of your worries) then you will have zero problems and TONS of benefits from eating cruciferous vegetables.

Again – as always, don’t believe the hype – always do the research.

Now – if you DO have thyroid issues – or if you want to get more energy, lose weight, heal your digestion, remove inflammation and more – I think you’re going to LOVE my free training that starts next week – it’s my Alkaline Kickstart workshop – three content-packed videos, workbooks and Q&A sessions giving you the framework, the fundamentals on how to do an alkaline cleanse. It’s powerful and when you do it the way I teach it – it’s SO easy.

You can sign up to get that training, absolutely free by clicking the lin

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Ask Me a Question or Leave a Comment Here - I'd Love to Hear from You


  1. Caroline Matichuk Reply

    Hi Ross,
    I have hyponatremia (low sodium) and within a week of the increased liquids, became quite ill. Very nauseous . I know it was the sodium level as I took 1/4 teaspoon of celtic sea salt and within a short while the nausea was gone. I was hospitalized with it for days of 24 hour intravenous hydration to get my levels up as I was vomiting and very ill.
    I want to do the cleanse. What would you suggest.

    • ross Reply

      Hi Caroline – are you saying you did my Alkaline Reset Cleanse and had low sodium? You shouldn’t have, there is liberal amounts of Himalayan/Celtic salts in all of my recipes?

  2. Jennifer Popping Reply

    I have Hashimotos and other autoimmune conditions. I have eaten a very healthy diet for a long time. Every day for 18 months I have been having a nasty tasting green smoothy with about 1 cup of broccoli sprouts and 1/4 cup of mung bean sprouts and other greens. I also do weights 3 times a week and had severe osteoporosis. I gained 8% in my spine last year. I am 61 and I would like to know if I should cut back on my sprouts? My thyroid meds. haven’t changed.

    • ross Reply

      Hey Jennifer

      Now, I’ve heard a lot of people say “oh my green smoothie is awful but I get it down each day” and I think ‘toughen up’…but YOURS…! Blended broccoli sprouts is not ever going to make a delicious smoothie. WELL DONE TO YOU for sticking it out so long!

      Broccoli sprouts are SO ridiculously good for us because of the sulforaphane (sulfur) and that’s why they taste awful.

      My suggestion? Get a sulforaphane capsule supplement and make your smoothie MUCH more delicious! There are a bunch of recipes on here.

      If you want to join my coaching group – you can try it out here:

      I can dig into your diet and everything you’re doing to get you on the right track. I’ve got a LOT of experience with AI and osteoporosis.


  3. Laurie Rabideau Reply

    Thanks for doing this Ross! Very helpful to have the video and the transcript based on the amount of time I have to read and study!

  4. Paulette Reply

    Ross, I am now off of two bloodpressure meds just because I have increased vegitables in my diet!
    I’m now on alkaline diet working on bone health! I hope soon that that I will be able to write to you that Im improving! I need simple recipies that I can learn.I work two jobs and only have a two-three hour window to wash and prep my veg.for week.If I didnt do this I wouldnt stay consistant. Thanks for everything.

  5. Tena Reply

    I had thyroid cancer, so They took my thyroid, but no one addresses this issue. I need help with addressing metabolism, hormones and so much more, and after you lose your thyroid, is there any hope of your body being totally healthy without it? Do I still need daily iodine? So confusing!

  6. Christine Lomonaco Reply

    i just signed up for your Alkaline Kickstart Workshop but today is 2/24/18 so i missed the first one. Is there a way that i can watch it?

  7. Gauri Reply

    Dear Ross,
    Happy New Year.
    I missed out on your really good offer of $9.99 yesterday, probably due to the time zone difference. But nevertheless I enjoy reading your information packed emails and interesting combinations for juicing and other recipes.
    I have just been diagnosed with osteoArthritis in my right knee ,with changes in left knee too. I am thinking of going on a juice fast for 3 days- could you suggest some juicing combinations that can support healing of my knees. I live in India,so while I am growing my own kale, cabbage, turmeric and beets, very exotic vegetables will not be available to me.

    • ross Reply

      Hey Gauri

      Just extended the offer by 24 hours 🙂

      Sorry to hear about the OA, and definitely recommend lots of juicing. I’m going to be running my free Alkaline Cleanse Workshop in about 3 weeks – definitely keep an eye out for that!


  8. L Walsh Reply

    Thank you for a heart and passion to enlighten people on health and nutrition.
    I just wanted to inform you that there are many spelling/grammar errors in this article “Cruciferous Vegetables and Your Thyroid”, which can lessen the validity/believability of your information in the reader’s mind. Because you are working unceasingly to bring truth about health/wellness/nutrition to communities, it is imperative that the information you are imparting be well-expressed. Thank you.

    • ross Reply

      Thanks Lisa. I tend to write passionately when I write, but should put more passion into proofing. Thanks for the heads up. I’d hope you’d not dismiss it because of a typo.


  9. Alice Reply

    Hi Ross! Thanks so much for your hard work in keeping us readers educated! I have Hashimotos and do struggle every single time I eat kale, even the smallest amount, cooked, raw, whatever. I also react to strawberries and if I eat too many of the other cruciferous veggies within a week, I pay for it by being bed ridden for anywhere from 3 to 5 days. I am completely incapacitated and the only way to be able to function at that point is to drink about 5-6 shots of espresso. So my question is, if this means that I am iodine deficient, then how do I get tested for it and how do I safely supplement in order to heal my body? I follow the levitical laws for clean and unclean foods, so any shelled seafood is not in my diet. Any information you could share would be helpful! Thanks!

  10. Mae Reply

    How does microwaving affect water, tea, etc.?

    • ross Reply

      Hi Mae

      I don’t recommend microwaving anything. It is certainly not beneficial to the body to consume things that have been microwaved.


  11. Connie Luke Reply

    Hi Ross, I am looking forward to the Alkaline Cleanse Kickstart Workshop. I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism about 3 yrs ago and was put on levothyroxine. About a year ago a new dr had me get an ultra sound on my thyroid. It was discovered I have 9 nodules. Two of these are pretty large. About 8 mos later I had another ultra sound and it did not show they had grown. I am due for another ultra sound in early Dec. I have done so much thyroid, adrenal fatigue research my head is spinning. Is it possible to ever shrink the nodules? Is it possible to ever get off the Levothyroxine? What is your opinion of LDN for thyroid? Thank you very much for all of your help in the many health issues that plague our society today!

  12. John Hess Reply

    Hey Ross,
    What is the truth about Soy… it bad for the thyroid?
    John Hess

  13. Edye Reply

    Unfortunately I am one of the few who with the exception of cabbage can not eat any of the afore mentioned vegetables. Anytime I do I become so bloated I am in misery for at least 8 hours. Plus my joints hurt, my hips and guts hurt so bad I can’t sit or lay down, my urin and bowel movements burn and my back hurts so bad it feels like I’m having “back labor” all over again. My hair start to become more brittle, falls out and my skin gets extremely dry and wrinkled. This all happens after juicing just kale and cabbage, carrots and blueberries for one meal a day. It only takes about two weeks of this to make my hair fall out and the other issues. The bloating is immediate. I can not eat broccoli or cauliflower ever no matter how it is prepared. I have been iodine tested and I’m fine. After removing these foods from my diet, a few days later my symptoms gradually disappear. I don’t have to hear about certain studies done, I know what my body does when I eat these veggies.

    • Alice Reply

      Hi Edey,
      I have the very same problem! I have digestive issues when mixing fruits and veggies together in one meal, and I left a comment above which states that I am left completely incapacitated.for 3-5 days. I forgot to mention that I too, get aches and pains in my joints, etc. I hope he answers our questions about iodine supplementation. I wish you all the best in your healing journey!


  14. Leif Wesander Reply

    Hi Ross,

    The most important/beneficial foods/supplement for lymphoma patients?


  15. Jerry Sykes Reply

    Hi Ross
    Thanks so much for this – I have an under-acrive thyroid (unusual for blokes?) and have been on Levothyroxine medication for many years. I had indeed heard the rumour that cruciferous vegetsbles should therefore be avoided, soI was very happy to hear the idea debunked and consigned to the rubbish bin. I really enjoy these vegetables!
    I have signed up for the Workshop and I’m looking forward to it.
    Just one question – when my thyroid condition was first diagnosed (about 25 years ago) my doctor at the time told me that nothing could be done to reverse the condition, and that I would be on the medication for the rest of my life. Do you happen to know if that’s true? Can the condition be mitigated?

    • Patricia Reply

      Jerry, I also had a wold renowned Endo who diagnosed me with Hashimoto’s after suffering from hypothyroidism for years prior. His comment was most Endo’s don’t even check for Hashi’s because the protocol is the same to just keep increasing the dosage on thyroid meds until your thyroid eventually gives out and you end up having it removed but he also said I would need to take for the rest of my life. This is such a lie, please do your own research for yourself and don’t ever give up on your health because your body was designed to heal itself you just have to give it the nutrients that it is lacking so that it can begin to repair damage from the past. There are several people who have gotten off of their thyroid meds for good and even gotten their Hashimoto’s into remission. Please check out few resources for yourself such as Dr. Datis Kharrazian, Dr. Isabella Wentz. Best wishes and know that you are on the right path by being here on this site.

  16. Karet Reply

    Thank you so much for this information. I do have an under active thyroid, I am looking forward to doing the alkaline cleanse. Again Thank You.

  17. Ka Reply

    Thank you for clearing up the question of cruciferous veg, I have under active thyroid and find it hard to loose weight,and cutting back on these veg doesn’t help. So much bad information on the web!!! Thank you looking forward to your cleanse video next week.