Thyroid: Minimize Goitrogens for Optimal Metabolism + Weight

Here is a great list of foods that slow down your thyroid. They are also known as goitrogens. Isn’t that a weird word?

It’s best to avoid these foods in their raw form – lightly cooked is a better option.


Frequently, my clients say to me: “Dr. Sara, what gives? You are the Queen of Greens. Aren’t they good for my estrogen metabolism?!”

Yes, dark leafy greens and members of the Brassica family (such as cabbage, kale, spinach, chard, and Brussel sprouts) are good for making more of the good estrogens and less of the bad estrogens, but the effect is that of a sea-saw. When you help estrogen metabolism, you slow down the thyroid. If you are a fast metabolizer, you may not even notice. But if you’re like me and tend toward an unforgiving metabolism, you may just notice that your metabolism has slowed down a notch. Your weight has creeped up a bit. You may be a little more bloated or constipated. You might be slightly more fatigued…all signs of a slower thyroid.

Get a More Forgiving Metabolism

Minimize or avoid these foods if you have a thyroid issue. If you have some of these symptoms, ask your doctor for thyroid blood test, such as a TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone) and a free T3 (active thyroid hormone). Extra credit for a reverse T3.

Get your thyroid on your side, working for you, not against you.

As always, let me know if you have questions or comments with your experience with goitrogens and your lovely thyroid.


  1. Elizabeth Barnet on August 20, 2011 at 12:10 am

    So what vegetables are on the OK list? Those Brassicas are my every day.

    • Sara Gottfried MD on August 20, 2011 at 12:41 am

      Elizabeth, do you eat them all raw? Lightly cooked is far less of a problem. AND this is an issue for people with a thyroid that’s not working properly. Other options that are ok to eat raw: carrots, beets, eggplant…

      • Elizabeth Barnet on August 21, 2011 at 4:55 am

        I was making my own dehydrated kale. That was raw but mostly I eat the greens cooked. Eating lots of collards and kale and broccoli cooked is ok? How about sauerkraut?

  2. Andreea on August 20, 2011 at 1:20 am

    Dr. Gottfried,

    Does the same apply if I’m hypothyroid due to thyroidectomy?


  3. maxine badger on August 23, 2011 at 3:08 pm

    Hello! good to see this blog. It would be really helpful also to get the Fish q clarified re hyperthyroidism/Graves i.e fish oil/kelp/iodine/cod liver oil and are they a good source for rebalancing…(2 yrs in remission now so no pills, but still not sure about the above). Greens work! well into perimenopause it’s a juggling and counterbalancing act re nutrition it seems and everything being interconnected, like hormones on emotions etc, tricky to be absolute! …
    best wishes

  4. Beth Loach on August 23, 2011 at 7:15 pm

    Thanks Sara, I’m going to eliminate these from my diet and see what happens.

  5. Yair on September 18, 2011 at 3:57 pm

    Hello Sara,

    I eat a lot of raw kale, and I’d want to avoid future Thyroid problems.
    My question is – if you DEHYDRATE Kale and maybe even go over the 105F on the 1st 4 hours of dehydration, would you avoid the negative thyroid effect?

    Thanks for the info!