A question we often receive revolves around the consumption of raw kale. “Why is raw kale not recommended? What’s the issue with including kale in smoothies?” To understand this, it’s important to delve into the cruciferous family of vegetables, which includes broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cauliflower, Chinese vegetables, kale, and others.
Kale, as with many vegetables in the cruciferous family, contains a variety of compounds beneficial to health. For instance, kale is high in protein. Additionally, it contains a compound named isothiocyanate, which are thiols and are beneficial anti-oxidant compounds with powerful health-boosting properties. However, the same isothiocyanates also target an enzyme in our body called TPO or thyroperoxydase. The TPO enzyme plays a pivotal role as it enables iodine molecules to attach to tyrosine, forming the backbone of the primary thyroid hormones T3 and T4.
The most active form of thyroid hormone is T3, and almost all cells in our body, excluding nail and hair cells, contain receptor sites for thyroid hormones. Hence, when someone has a thyroid condition, any part of the body can get affected. Raw kale, especially, has a strong impact on the TPO enzyme when consumed raw. When kale is heated, this ability of the isothiocyanate to affect TPO diminishes. Therefore, while cooking or steaming kale poses no issues, eating it raw can be problematic. Research has linked the consumption of raw cruciferous vegetables, particularly kale, to thyroid function disturbances. The term “goitrogen” is derived from this, signifying they can induce the thyroid to develop an enlarged form known as a goiter. The enlargement can occur if the thyroid doesn’t receive sufficient iodine, which can be impacted by isothiocyanates in raw kale.
|Broccoli||High in Protein||Raw intake may affect TPO|
|Brussel Sprouts||Anti-oxidants||Can impact thyroid function|
|Kale||Health-boosting||Raw form can affect thyroid|
|Chinese Vegetables||Diverse Nutrients||Potential goitrogens|
In conclusion, while the cruciferous family, including kale, boasts of numerous health benefits, it’s crucial to approach raw kale with caution due to its potential effects on thyroid function.
Disclaimer: This article provides general information and insights. Always consult with your healthcare professional before making any changes to your diet or health regimen.