Fermented foods

Goitrogens – how they affect the Thyroid

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What is a goitrogen?

Goitrogens are substances that cause the thryoid to enlarge forming a “goitre”. They may be foods, pharmaceutical drugs (eg, lithium) or chemicals in environmental pollution.

How do they affect the Thyroid?

They can affect the thyroid’s ability to produce metabolism regulating hormones, by interfering with iodine metabolism. This causes the pituitary gland to release thyroid stimulating hormone which may cause the thyroid to eventually lay down more cells in an effort to increase its production of hormones, leading to an enlarged thyroid or “goitre”.

Should we stop eating Goitrogens?

While it could be a good idea to minimise goitrogens in those who have a thyroid condition it’s not necessary to avoid all of them all of the time. Keeping the foods that are high in goitrogens to a minimum, and also eating them cooked, steamed or fermented, will help reduce exposure to goitrogens.

Also getting enough iodine by eating plenty of iodine rich foods such as; seafood, seaweed, yoghurt, cow’s milk and eggs, will help reduce the impact goitrogens will have on thyroid function.

There are so many wonderful nutrients in these foods, that I wouldn’t advocate cutting them out altogether.

Foods that have a high Goitrogenic effect on the thyroid;

  • Bok Choy
  • Broccoli
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Cabbage (including sauerkraut and kimchi)
  • Cauliflower
  • Kale
  • Kohlrabi
  • Mustard and Mustard greens
  • Radishes
  • Swedes
  • Soy (soy isolates, soy milk and tofu)
  • Turnips

Foods with lower amounts Goitrogenic effect on the thyroid;

  • Almonds (raw)
  • Asparagus
  • Bamboo shoots
  • Cashews (raw)
  • Flaxseeds (linseeds)
  • Peaches
  • Peanuts (raw)
  • Pears
  • Pine Nuts
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Radishes
  • Spinach
  • Strawberries
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Walnuts (raw)

Steaming, cooking and fermenting all of these foods reduces goitrogenic substances considerably.

Master Elixir Recipe

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Equal parts;
  • turmeric root
  • chopped garlic
  • diced onion
  • chopped hot chillies (wear gloves and be prepared to have your sinuses cleared!)
  • grated or sliced ginger
  • grated horseradish
  • chopped carrot
  • chopped apple
  • diced celery
  • orange and lemon pieces


  • mustard seeds
  • parsley
  • oregano
  • thyme
  • juniper berries
  • Himalayan salt

Apple Cider Vinegar (make sure it’s organic with the “Mother”)



  1. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl, except for the vinegar.
  2. Fill 2/3 of a large jar with the mixture. Make sure the jar seals well.
  3. Pour in the apple cider vinegar on top of the mixture until it fills up to the top.
  4. Close tightly.
  5. Shake well.
  6. Store the jar in a cool, dark place for up to 2 weeks. Shake well as often as possible, at least once a day.
  7. After 14 days, strain it through a muslin cloth, into a bowl, to pour into a jar.
  8. Squeeze well to make sure all the juice comes out.

This elixir will be VERY HOT, so start with small amounts, maybe use it as a salad dressing first and then build up the amount as your taste buds get used to it. It’s best not to dilute it with water.


This elixir may help with;

  • stimulating the immune system
  • feeding beneficial gut bacteria as a pre-biotic
  • killing harmful gut bacteria and yeasts (including candida)
  • stimulating metabolism
  • weight loss by increasing satiety (a feeling of fullness) and reducing appetite
  • reducing blood triglycerides, cholesterol and blood pressure
  • regulating blood sugar levels
  • alkalising the system by regulating the pH level
  • preventing and reducing indigestion and reflux
  • detoxification of the liver
  • cleansing lymph nodes of toxic waste
  • soothing and healing mucous membranes such as throat, gut lining, urinary tract
  • inhibiting and reducing muscle cramps
  • reducing post exercise muscle fatigue

As this is a fermented drink, it may cause issues for those suffering from high levels of histamines. Come and see me to reduce histamine levels naturally.