Overconsumption of Kale & Thyroid Health
Since kale is a cruciferous vegetable, many people question how it affects thyroid health due to its goitrogen content. Goitrogens are naturally present in certain foods, like cruciferous vegetables, and can block iodine from getting into the thyroid. This can be an issue for those with an under-active thyroid as iodine is a necessary trace mineral that helps promote the production of thyroid hormones.
The concern comes in with excessive goitrogen intake, especially with foods like raw cruciferous vegetables. The good news is that there is a way to bypass this so that you can get the health benefits kale has to offer. Cooking kale, and other cruciferous vegetables can help decrease this goitrogenic effect. The overconsumption risk can affect anyone dealing with an under-active thyroid, and this is especially true for over-consuming raw kale.
Too much raw kale for someone with an under-active thyroid could be problematic. So, just be sure to cook your kale, and balance your kale intake with plenty of other non-cruciferous vegetables such as zucchini, bell peppers, sweet potatoes, and asparagus.
How to Buy Kale: Stick to Organic!
When shopping for kale at the grocery store, you want to stick to organic whenever possible as kale has found its way onto EWG’s 2019 Dirty Dozen List.
It’s been found to be strongly contaminated with pesticide residue. So, shop for organic kale to reduce your pesticide exposure when possible.
How to Prepare Kale
Tip#1: Wash Your Kale: Kale tends to be pretty dirty when you bring it home from the store. The solution? Washing it really well will help remove all the dirt that’s built up on the leaves. The easiest way to wash kale is to remove the stems and then run the leaves under cold water. If your kale is really dirty, you can soak it in a bowl of cold water with a little vinegar, and then rinse, or you can even use a store-bought vegetable wash spray.
Tip #2: Remove the Bitterness: Some people may notice a bit of a bitter taste, especially with raw kale. The good news is that this is easily fixed by adding something acidic like freshly squeezed lemon juice or raw apple cider vinegar. Kale is available through most of the year, but did you know that if you want a less bitter tasting kale, the best time of year to enjoy it is in the colder months? Low temperatures are thought to help kale convert starch into sugar which can result in a less bitter taste.
Tip #3: Massage Your Kale: You may have heard of the term “massaging your kale” when it comes to making a kale salad. Massaging kale with a healthy fat like olive oil helps to soften the leaves and make them easier to chew. Simply massage the leaves with olive or avocado oil for 1-2 minutes before enjoying.
Tip #4: Use a Recipe: Scroll to the bottom of this page to read 3 quick & easy Kale recipes you can try right now.
How to Store Kale at Home
You will find kale in the refrigerated area of the produce section, so be sure to keep it refrigerated at home as well.
Also, as with most vegetables, don’t pre-wash your kale. You’ll want to wash the kale right before you cook it or add it to salads.
Washing kale and then storing it may cause the leaves to wilt and the vegetable to spoil before you get a chance to enjoy it.
How to Grow Kale & Avoid the Pesticides
Want to grow kale yourself and bypass the pesticide issue altogether? It’s best to plant your kale in the spring or summer, but it can tolerate the winter frost.
With the right care, it’s fairly low maintenance, and you may be surprised to have fresh kale available to you all year long.
You will want to water you kale regularly and pick the leaves when they are the size of your hand.