Goitregenic Foods

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Latest Edit: Hector 2014-03-13 (EDT)

See Also Naturopathic Therapies
See Also Clinical Nutrition

Goitrogens are naturally-occurring substances that can interfere with function of the thyroid gland. Goitrogens get their name from the term goiter, which means an enlargement of the thyroid gland. If the thyroid gland is having difficulty making thyroid hormone, it may enlarge as a way of trying to compensate for this inadequate hormone production. Goitrogens, like circumstances that cause goiter, cause difficulty for the thyroid in making its hormone.

Goitregenic Foods

Goitregenic foods include those foods high in isoflavones (found in soy-based foods) and isothiocyanates (found in cruciferous vegetables).

Vegetables: brocolli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, cassava root, cauliflower, kale, mustard greens, radishes, rutabaga, rapeseed (canola), kohlrabi, spinach, sweet potatoe, turnips

Nuts: almonds, peanuts, pine nuts, walnuts

Fruit: apples, peaches, pears, strawberries, tomatoes

Other Foods: millet, mustard, soybeans and soy products, tofu

Associated Conditions

  • It is sometimes advised that a person avoid goitregenic foods, especially when raw, in conditions such as Hypothyroidism.[1]
  • In the absence of thyroid problems, there is no research evidence to suggest that goitrogenic foods will negatively impact your health. In fact, the opposite is true: soy foods and cruciferous vegetables have unique nutritional value, and intake of these foods has been associated with decreased risk of disease in many research studies.


  • Goitrogenic foods contain enzymes that may interfere with the formation of thyroid hormone when consumed at high doses. Goitrogens inhibit the incorporation of iodine into thyroid hormone and also the transfer of iodine into milk by the mammary gland.
  • The goitregnic properties in the food is highest in foods that are raw.
  • Cooking at high heat for 30 munitues may destroy goitrengic activity. Both isoflavones (found in soy foods) and isothiocyanates (found in cruciferous vegetables) appear to be heat-sensitive.


  1. Chandra AK, De N (Aug-Sept 2010) Goitrogenic/antithyroidal potential of green tea extract in relation to catechin in rats. Food Chem Toxicol.;48(8-9):2304-11. PMID: 20561943.