Saturday, January 18, 2014

How Broccoli and Smoking Cause Goitres

Goitre refers to the swelling of the thyroid gland in the neck caused by an iodine deficiency. This can also be caused by regularly eating foods that can encourage goiter growth. There are reportedly 200 million people around the world who are suffering from this condition.

There are certain foods that contain goitrogens which stop the body from using iodine to make thyroid hormones. These foods actually produce thiocyanate and interfere with the iodine absorption by the thyroid glands. When these goitrogens are regularly consumed, the thyroid glands have to work overtime to function normally and this in turn results in the thyroid glands getting enlarged and thus resulting in a goiter.

The most common foods that are goitrogenic are broccoli, cabbage, spinach, cauliflower, kohlrabi, radish, rapeseed oil and peanuts. This does not mean that one should stop eating these things, because these products may otherwise be very healthy. If they are cooked and eaten in small quantities, then the goitrogenic activity gets lowered and no serious harm is done.

It is not only important to take care of the foods that are eaten; it is also to take care of our lifestyle and the habits thereof. Habits like smoking can also cause goiter even in the absence of the above food products. This is because cigarette smoke contains goitrogenic derivatives and also something called thiocyanate which also acts as a deterrent for iodine conversion in the body.

Iodine consumption needs to be monitored closely because not only does the absence of iodine cause problem, if it consumed in excess that can also be equally troublesome.

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