Goitrogens - for Azurablue and anyone else that is interested!

Goitrogens - for Azurablue and anyone else that is interested!

Hi, here is the list of goitrogens that I promised Azurablue. It's the one I printed out and stuck on my fridge when I was very hypo. Don't know if you're going to be able to read it here (although you could always down-load it and enlarge it, or even print it out yourselves), so here is the list in type :



Babassu (a palm-tree coconut fruit popular in Brazil and Africa)

Bamboo shoots

Bok Choy


Brussels Sprouts




Chick peas (garbanzos)

Flaxseed (this is up for debate, do a Google seach)



Herbs of the Barbaresa and Residea families



Leafy greens (turnip greens, mustard greens, collard greens)

Légumes (beans and peas)

Lima beans



Millet (cooking seems to INCREASE goitrogenic effect)





Peanuts (roasted are probably ok)


Pine nuts (Pignoli)

Processed meats


Rapseed (oïl) - from which canola is derived




SOY in all its various forms - AVOID



Sweet potatoes

Swiss chard

White turnip



As you can see, it's a long list. There are things on there that I wouldn't dream of eating (like millet!) and I don't even know what some of them are! But that's the list.

Now, I hear you cry, if I give up all that, what will I eat?!? Well, you don't have to give them all up, because not all of them are going to affect you. Just find out which ones do and avoid those.

There's a lot of talk about cooking or fermenting the foods to make the goitrogens inactive. Fermented soy should be ok to eat, but beware, not all soy sauces are fermented like they should be! However cooking does not always work. In fact millet gets more potent when it is cooked ! The thing to remember is that we are all different, so what affects me won’t necessarily affect you, and vice versa. For example, peaches, strawberries and pears are all goitrogens. But I can eat peaches with no problem. I can eat one or two strawberries without any ill effect. But just one bite of a pear and I’m ill for 24hrs !! And as for soy, I can’t come within a mile of anything containing soy in any form, without being ill for several days. How ill ? Well, it’s like being extremely hypo and starting flu at the same time – aching, shivering, crying, aching all over, etc. etc. etc. To be avoided ! So, where goitrogens are concerned, I behave like a rat – I nibble a little bit then lie down for a while to see how I feel. If no effect, I try a bit more, et ainsi de suite. Now I know I can eat cabbage, and almonds and peanut butter, but not walnuts or maize.

Bon appetit! Grey

PS I forgot to mention on the list that green tea is also goitrogenic. Plus, all types of tea contain a high level of fluoride, which is also bad for the thyroid. Sorry about that!

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47 Replies

  • Hi greygoose...

    So good to have your wisdom here once more - I have missed reading your posts. Welcome back :-) Please let this be the first of many. Yes the list is long but as you say we are all so individual....it has taken me years to work out matters irritating and then not always....best to be just aware and acting accordingly....

    Be well - M x

  • Thank you, Marz. Just hope I can be of some help!

    Hope you're keeping as well as can be expect.

    Take care, Grey x

  • Nice to see you back...Hope things are well with you :-))

  • Thank you, missdove, nice to be here.

    Things are as well as can be expected - but I don't tend to expect much these days. lol Gradually getting my life back together again. At least I've recovered my brain, if not my legs! But then, I never did like walking!

    How's things with you? Good, I hope.

    Take care, Grey x

  • Well you have been missed, so good to have you back...:-) Yep ok this end thanks,much better than I was a year ago, made lots of changes mainly diet and T3 and have found it has made a huge difference. Still not totally where I want to be but a darn sight better...

    And I look forward to your wise words again. Take care D x

  • :)

  • ..yes I am fine - just returned from an excellent lunch on the beach - water on three sides....fab. Your replies are always helpful - succinct and meaningful. Never was good at précis at school - just love to ramble !!

    M xx

  • Oh, I love to ramble too!!! lol I just try to contain myself because I know a lot of people find me BORING! lol

  • ...never boring ...so keep on posting..... x

  • :)

  • Hi Greygoose,

    Thanks for the great poster, it's so much easier to view.

    Also, I'm glad you're back online.

    TT xx.

  • Thank you, Thora, I'm glad to be back. Acutally the 'poster' is only A4 size. I made it myself to remind me when I was writing my shopping lists. Glad you like it.

    Hugs, Grey xx

  • Hi Greygoose,

    Your poster is very comprehensive and there are some foods on it that I didn't know about. I'm going to have to follow your advise and try one at a time because there's loads of foods on the list that I really enjoy eating and have noticed that some of them, mainly nuts and soy, that cause me hypo problems. The other foods I tend to eat combined with other ingredients and so I'm not sure if they cause problems are not, I'll have to try one food on it's own at a time and see what happens.

    Do you use your poster when you visit your GP or other medical professional? When I had my right thyroid lobe removed for cancer treatment I wasn't given any advise about being careful with various foods. I, like you, did my own research but there's such a lot of conflicting information you never really know what to do for the best, and your poster would very helpful for everyone with thyroid problems.

    TT xx.

  • No, I've never shown the list to a GP. One thing I've learnt over the years is that doctors have no idea about food. None whatsoever! Be it for hypos, people who want to lose weight, or anybody else. They're not trained for it. They don't know any more than the average person - and much less than some!

    And the doctor I have at the moment (believe me, he is only temporary!!!) doesn't think that what you eat has any effect on anything! Vitamins and minerals are useless according to him. I can imagine what he might say if I presented him with my little list! In fact, his ideas on thyroid are so... unusual. lol I'm afraid I just laugh at him when he starts off on one of his theories! I could write a book about him. And possibly will...

  • It was just a thought that if we people with thyroid problems was given better information we'd be able to get better. Although, on reflection, some medics might not want us to get better because they'd be out of a job lol!

  • Absolutely! Same goes for Big Pharma. They're making a fortune out of us! Did you know they call hypos 'milch cows' because they can milk us for so much money with their statins, and slimming products, and all the rest? Charming, isn't it!

    You're right, of course, what we need is better information. But we're not going to get it from the majority of doctors. They just aren't open to Learning. I had one doctor that was coming on nicely Under my tuition. lol But one day, he met up with our local endo. And that was the end of that!!! His attitude suddenly changed. He refused me my T3. He wanted to give me iodine to 'kick start' my thyroid. And when I said that that wasn't possible because my thyroid was dead, he said oh well then, I don't know what I can do. I said no, but I do! And walked out.

    Another little anecdote - if you're not already bored to death! lol My present idiot doctor. In December, he had me hospitalised for kidney failure. The hospital was a bit surprised but they kept me for a week anyway. He'd diagnosed kidney failure on the basis of high creatoninine in the blood. He put this down to the heart problems I had at that time. When I came out of hospital (whichout any useful information from them!), my creatoninine still being high, he said it was because I didn't drink enough water. Later, he changed history again by saying that it was due to my hypo.

    Then, I had one of those light-bulb moments - you know how you do - and remembered that another doctor had told me to drink a certain type of bottled water (can't remember the name) to bring the number down. I did. At my next appt he was amazed to see how low it was. Ah, he said, you've been drinking more! (As if it was all down to him!) Ah, I said, it's not the quantity but the quality! And I was going to tell him more, but he just held his hand up for silence. HE DIDN'T WANT TO KNOW!!! And I'm sure that could have helped other patients but he just couldn't accept Learning something new! It's pathetic that we have to stay ill to pander to their inflated egos. Pathetic and criminal!

    Be well, Grey x

  • So true Greygoose!

    My thyroid cancer was picked up by chance on a CT scan for another suspected ailment and when I saw my GP she was jumping for joy (literally) saying she'd found my cancer. She was so proud of herself I had to bring her down a peg or two and tell her that it was my insistence at having scans done and speaking to the ultrasound doctor that found the cancer because he'd put an urgent request in for the CT scan. My GP had been sending me for the wrong examinations (an x-ray and ultrasound) and in his words was wasting 'his time' because my GP didn't listen to me.

    Bye for now, I'm going to make tea.

    TT xx.

  • Great to see you back greygoose! You used to post some interesting things such as the list above and of course we missed your sense of humour. Please stay!

    How are you doing these days?

  • Thank you, cinnamon_girl, you're very kind.

    How am I doing? I don't know how to answer that question anymore. lol I suppose I'm still recovering from my illness last year, and am not yet back to normal - whatever that is! Still rather weak but at least I'm thinking much more clearly - I really did go out of my head for a while! lol Hope the sense of humour is still there but a bit rusty at the moment. There wasn't much to laugh about last year!

    And how are you? Don't see your name pop up very often. Are you keeping well? As well as can be expected, that is!

    Hugs, Grey

  • grey, I'm sorry that you're not completely recovered and it's obviously bad enough having a thyroid condition let alone another condition to deal with. You've not lost your sense of humour - I've been chuckling at some of your posts!

    I'm fine thanks, reckon I've turned a corner following a very stressful year with major life events. I do feel that having my many amalgams removed has made a big difference, in conjunction with a good vitamins and minerals regime. Also reduced my T3 although still on a large-ish dose.

    Take it easy and hope you make a full recovery.

  • :)

  • A friend of mine had gout in his foot and has to avoid goitrogens and foods with uric acid - I have a very painful foot and wondered if this is being triggered by legumes, kale and other cooked green vegetables

  • I've never heard of people with gout having to avoid goitrogens. I can't see why. The uric acid I can understand, but goitrogens only affect the thyroid, as far as I know. Interesting thing, gout. Think I'm going to have to find out more about it. Is he on statins?

    Being hypo can give you very painful feet. Some of it due to the fact that we don't absorb B12 and magnesium very well (a combination that has done wonders for my feet). But if your feet hurt when you eat goitrogenic vegetables then, yes, it could be that. Do you get any other symptoms when you eat them? Have you tried cutting them out to see if your feet feel any better? Might be Worth a try.

    Hugs, Grey

  • Thanks Grey. No I just assumed he had to avoid goitrogens but it was uric acid as he has gout. Thanks for explaining that. I am going to try and get a Floradix compound that includes Magesium and B12 - thanks for the tips. :-)

  • :)

  • Hi do goitergens block the thyroud from working? Or do they create goitres? or both?

  • Both. They impede the uptake of iodine by the thyroid, so that it has to work harder to try and produce more hormone, and that's what causes the goitre. :)

  • Do goitres grow quickly? Do they get better or once there are there forever?

  • I really don't know how quickly they grow, but they should disappear once you stop the goitrogens and they get enough iodine again, or once you are optimally treated on hormone replacement.

  • thanks!

  • :)

  • Greygoose, thank you for the guidance. If you don't suffer a reaction from eating the listed Goitrogens is it safe to assume you are ok? I try to avoid them but eat some - didn't know until I saw your list. I have hashimotos and can't reduce my antibodies. My levo dose has increased in 12 months from 50 mcg to 125 mcg. Antibodies have been - TG: 152 (0-115). Previous results were 475, 501, 240

    TPO: 229 (0-34). Previously: 273, 175, 117

    TSH: 0.45 (range 0.3-4.2). Previously: 5.28, 25.94, 2.79, 0.017, 1.09, 4.44.

    Am following a gluten-free diet as best I can. Had suffered significant fatigue until TSH came down to 0.45 when fatigue reduced. Libido has disappeared though. Any guidance or thoughts most welcome.

  • That's right. If you Don't get a reaction, carry on eating them. They Don't do permenant damage, anyway. People who eat tons of cabbage every day can develope a goitre. But when they stop eating the cabbage, the goitre goes away.

    Goitrogens have nothing to do with antibodies. What they do is impede the uptake of iodine by your gland. But avoiding them won't make your antibodies go away. Not the same as gluten. People give up gluten to lower their antibodies and/or dairy, but those aren't goitrogens.

    However, if you want to aviod the antibody attacks, you need to keep your TSH suppressed. Does your doctor only test TSH? Because that in no way is going to tell you if you're on the right dose. You need FT4 and FT3 tested, if you can. TSH is more or less irrelevant. But doctors Don't know that.

    Yours goes up and down because of the antibodies - which is why it should be suppressed - but it seems to me that you need an increase. Hormones are all interdependant, and having one go wonky, will have an effect on the others - including the sex hormones. Hopefully, when you are optimally treated for your thyroid, the others will sort themselves out.

    Having said that, how are your adrenals? If yours are struggling, your sex hormones might be low, because the adrenals make them. Pamper your adrenals by getting plenty of rest, taking plenty of vit C and eating plenty of salt. Are you eating enough good fat? Because you need fat to make hormones, so fat-free diets or lo-fat are going to have an effect on your hormone levels.

  • Thanks Greygoose, great advice. My FT3 and FT4 levels have been as follows: FT3: 4.6 (2.8-6.8). Previous 3.9, 3.5, 5.76, 3.96

    FT4: 17.13 (12-22). Previous 9.16, 10.46, 20.3, 14.86.

    My adrenals were tested by Genova Lab last year and the thyroid specialist doctor said the results were fine. I was taking thyroid support syrup at the time. I have three bottles left. My libido was ok then. It was last October 2014 when my libido switched off completely and when my TSH hit 25. I had stopped the thyroid syrup. I have been on a low-fat diet for years thinking this was healthy for weight etc. I rest well and exercise (brisk walking, jogging) 30-40 minutes 5-6 times per week. However I am an anxious person and get stressed easily. Work is high stress although is improving. I supplement daily with vitamin D, K2, vitamin C and B12. I add salt and pepper to every meal. My blood pressure is low at 100-110 / 65-75. I'll do anything to get better.

  • Well, start eating some fat, then! lol No, we've all been conned over that. The recommendations were based on bad science, and now they've had to eat their words. And if anything, the opposite is true about weight, the less fat you eat, the more weight you put on. And that makes sense because you need fat to make hormones, so if you avoid fat you will have less hormones!

    What is thyroid support syrup? I've never heard of that. Does it have a name? It looks like you need another increase in your dose, because your frees are always pretty low.

    I would imagine your libido would disappear with a TSH of 25! Pretty much everthing else stopped, as will, I should think. It's going to take time for everything to get going again, and you're still not on an optimal dose of thyroid hormone.

    I think you're over-doing the exercise there! Exercise uses up your T3, and you haven't got very much to begin with. How about trying slow walking - or maybe gentle swimming - for about half an hour a few times a week. Leaving yourself short of T3 is going to make you worse.

    But even so, I think you really do need an increase in your dose. You won't get well without that. And when you've been on that for 6 weeks or so, we'll have to have a look and see if you're converting properly. Can't really tell at the moment. :)

  • The only one on that list that I actually feel the effects of almost instantly are chickpeas. I tend to avoid Soy but I dont know how it would affect me.

    Just a heads up. The one time I tried Quorn, I thought I was dying the next day. It really shut down my thyroid, almost overnight.

  • I've never tried Quorm, but I've read about it. That was enough! It sounds ghastly. I've never read about it having and effect on the thyroid, but anything's possible. I Don't know how anybody could eat it.

  • I've just found your poster GG, what a fab resource - thank you!

    I'm going to ask my lovely partner to make it into a poster for my fridge too.

    And as you suggested I am going to try things one at a time to see if I have a reaction to them. Some things I already know give me problems so I'll give those my usual wise berth.


  • Glad to be of help, Lizzie. :)

  • How can we tell if a goitrogen food affects us? What are the symptoms?

  • Well, I can only speak for myself, but it's a bit like going down with a bout of the flu that never quite developes. Feeling cold, tired, miserable, achey. That's how I felt, anyway - and not just on one occassion, so I know it wasn't coincidence. Sometimes I got an upset tummy, too.

  • Thanks for the reply greygoose.

  • You're welcome. :)

  • Oh my God what a list. I've recently eliminated gluten soy dairy eggs pork and all oils but olive..

    Which helped immensely with my long 4 yr history of explosive diarrhea.It was recommended that I each at least a cup a day of wild blueberries, asparagus, cilantro and spinach. I'm uncertain how to determine which food on your long list my body will tolerate.

    Hints about how to start figuring this out?

  • If your body doesn't tolerate any of them, it will tell you. It won't suffer in silence! Try them, one at a time, and see how you react. If you start to feel bad - aches and pains, drop in temperature, sleepiness, etc. - a little while after eating them, then don't eat them again. :)

  • Thanks for info!

  • You're welcome. :)

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