Did you know it’s estimated that 27 million Americans have thyroid disease? And that about 13 million of them are undiagnosed? Women are seven times more likely than men to develop thyroid problems, and women over 50 are particularly susceptible to developing hypothyroidism (1,2).
In this ultimate guide I thoroughly cover juicing for hypothyroidism and also how to prevent getting hypothyroidism when juicing in larger amounts.
I’ve enlisted the help of top hypothyroidism and thyroid health experts in the field and have also done plenty of research to put together a thorough and complete resource.
Let’s get right to it!
Table Of Contents
If you have hypothyroidism or would like to know as much as possible about how to juice to avoid thyroid issues, then I’d recommend you read this entire article; however, it might be the case that you would like to return to this article from time to time and find something that was specifically mentioned. For this reason, I’ve created this table of contents below. This will help you to be able to easily find your way around and get to the exact section you’re looking for at any time. 🙂
What Is The Thyroid Gland?
The thyroid sits low on the front of the neck, right below the Adam’s apple, and is a butterfly shaped gland. The thyroid secretes hormones which influence body temperature, metabolism, and growth and development. Thyroid hormone is essential for brain development during infancy and childhood (3).
What Is Hypothyroidism?
What Causes Hypothyroidism?
Autoimmune disease (particularly Hashimoto’s thyroiditis), treatment for hyperthyroidism, thyroid surgery, radiation therapy, and medications.
Less often hypothyroidism may also result from congenital disease, pituitary disorder, during pregnancy, or from an iodine deficiency (4).
Why Be Concerned About Hypothyroidism When Juicing?
Juicing is a healthy way to get a whole lot of nutrition into your body that you might not otherwise be getting from your diet. Most people simply won’t eat the amounts of raw vegetables and fruits that you can fit into a glass of juice. Generally speaking, this is a great thing!
The main issue when it comes to juicing and hypothyroidism are substances called goitrogens which are found in specific vegetables and fruits. It’s not that these goitrogens alone will cause hypothyroidism. It’s that taking in a large amount of them combined with not getting enough iodine in your diet can contribute to hypothyroidism.
What Are Goitrogens Specifically?
Goitrogens are substances which are known to interfere with thyroid gland function especially in the absence of enough dietary iodine. They can be found in the environment, medications, and also foods (5). Our concern as it relates to juicing is of course the specific ingredients we juice that contain goitrogens and the amounts of them we juice.
I want to repeat this again because it’s something that gets overlooked in a lot of articles about this subject. In a person who has normal thyroid function and that takes in an adequate amount of iodine, through their diet or by supplementation, there is little need to worry about goitrogens. These mainly disturb the thyroid function of those who don’t take in enough iodine or those who already have hypothyroidism or other thyroid issues (6).
Ok, so what vegetables and fruits contain these goitrogens?
Cruciferous Vegetables Contain Goitrogens
Cruciferous vegetables are vegetables of the family Brassicaceae, also called Cruciferae, and include arugula, bok choy, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, chinese cabbage, collard greens, daikon radish, horseradish, kale, kohlrabi, maca, mustard greens, mustard seeds, radish, rapini (broccoli rabe), turnip, and watercress.
A Note About Watercress
There is a lot of mixed information out there about watercress because while it contains goitrogens, it’s also a good source of iodine. Many sites will include watercress in their juice recipes for thyroid health and cite its iodine content as the main reason. I’ve searched for a straight answer and have questioned experts who may have the knowledge, but I’ve not yet received a satisfactory answer as to whether watercress is good or bad for thyroid health.
Since the jury seems to be out on this one, I’d suggest you tread lightly with watercress if you have thyroid issues. If you do find solid information that proves that watercress is ok for those who suffer with hypothyroidism, I ask kindly if you’d point me in the direction where you found the information, because I’d like to include it here if it exists! 🙂
Why Cruciferous Vegetable Juice Is Still Important!
Cruciferous vegetables contain large amounts of anti-cancer nutrients, anti-inflammation properties, powerful detoxification benefits, and other important nutrients as well. Many cruciferous vegetables are well known super-foods!
You can read more here about some convincing reasons to drink cruciferous vegetable juice.
Other Vegetables & Fruit That Contain Goitrogens
Spinach, cassava (when crushed & not detoxified by soaking), strawberries, peaches, and sweet potatoes contain goitrogens but are said to generally contain them in milder amounts (7).
Other Foods That Contain Goitrogens
Millet, soybeans, peanuts, linseed, and pine nuts all contain goitrogens.
Nutritional strategist, Drew Canole from fitlife.tv cautions that soy is extremely high in goitrogens and since it is used as an ingredient in many foods, it’s wise to always look at the ingredients for anything you plan on putting in your body (8).
Tips For Lowering Your Intake Of Goitrogens In Vegetables and Fruits
You might want to reap the nutritional rewards that are contained within cruciferous vegetables, spinach, strawberries, and peaches, but you still might be concerned about the goitrogens inside. Here’s what you can do!
First off, you can drink the juice of these or eat them in the raw in smaller amounts. It is mainly suggested that those with an iodine deficiency avoid consuming LARGE amounts of cruciferous vegetables in their raw form. Smaller to moderate amounts are generally ok. The other vegetables and fruits listed contain less goitrogens, but if you have an iodine deficiency, it might be wise to juice or eat them in moderation as well.
I personally consume quite a bit of cruciferous vegetable juice, spinach juice, and strawberry juice and have not had a problem as of yet at all, but I also make sure I get enough iodine into my diet. I’ll talk more about how much iodine is enough and food sources of iodine soon!
If you do have thyroid issues, I would recommend that you speak with your doctor and a nutritionist, if a nutritionist is available to you, so you can find a comfortable amount of raw cruciferous vegetables, spinach, strawberries, peaches, and the other foods mentioned above that are ok for you to consume in the raw.
Generally speaking, if you have hypothyroidism, you’ll want to keep the amount of raw cruciferous vegetables you consume to a VERY low amount. The same goes with most of the other food items I’ve mentioned but again your health practitioner may recommend an amount of the other foods that would be acceptable for you to consume.
An option when juicing is to substitute another vegetable or fruit in place of the goitrogen containing vegetable or fruit in your juice recipe. I’ve put together a substitution list further down in the article for those of you who would like to do this.
Goitrogens Are Heat Sensitive
Cooking goitrogen containing foods will inactivate the goitrogens inside. This lowers the availability of them greatly after. It is suggested that if you suffer from deficient thyroid hormone production, you should cook most of your goitrogen containing foods before consuming them. This will help you to avoid any issues related to consuming them in the raw (9).
While the cooking of cruciferous vegetables lowers the goitrogens inside, it will also lower the availability of some of the good stuff that is in them. While this is true, there will still be some of the nutrients remaining. Since cruciferous vegetables contain powerful nutrients, it’s advisable to get them into your diet one way or another.
If you’re iodine intake is adequate and you don’t have any thyroid issues, you will get the most nutrients out of cruciferous vegetables by consuming them in their raw form. This is also true with the other goitrogen containing vegetables and fruits. This makes juicing an excellent way to get a good amount of their nutritional benefits into your body. You can also choose to eat them in their raw form.
A Few Other Hypothyroidism Dietary Considerations
It has been suggested by many that coffee and gluten may also negatively impact thyroid health. These two articles below offer a bit more information about these.
Alright, let’s dig into the whole iodine thing!
Why Iodine Is Important For Thyroid Health
Would You Believe This?
Before the 1920’s, people in many parts of the United States and Canada suffered from iodine deficiency. This problem was solved by introducing Iodized salt. To this day there are many parts of the world where people do not get enough iodine in their diet and iodine deficiency continues to be a problem. According to the American Thyroid Association, approximately 40% of the world’s population remains at risk for iodine deficiency (10).
What Are Good Food Sources Of Iodine?
Sea Vegetables: Kelp, arame, hiziki, kombu, and wakame all contain iodine. Some of these can contain up to four times the daily required amount of iodine in one small serving!
Fish and Other “Seafood”: Scallops, cod, shrimp, sardines, salmon, and tuna are among many fish and other seafood that contain iodine. The amounts vary, but if you eat seafood regularly, you’re most likely getting a lot of your iodine needs met.
Vegetable and Fruit Sources: Watercress, strawberries, baked potatoes, cranberries, and navy beans have been mentioned as the top vegetable and fruit sources for iodine. It’s important to note that the amount of iodine in each vegetable and fruit will vary depending on the quality of the soil it is grown in and how much iodine is to be found there. It’s also important to note that watercress and strawberries contain goitrogens. This won’t be a big deal for you if you don’t have an iodine deficiency; however, if you do or you have thyroid issues it’s something to keep in mind.
Eggs: The reported amount of iodine in eggs varies but roughly speaking it is held that you can get about 10%-18% of the daily recommended amount per large egg.
Milk and Yogurt: These are both listed as a source of iodine. This iodine comes from the feed that the cows eat and is also introduced into cow milk by the use of iodophor disinfectant in premilking and postmilking teat dips and udder washes (11).
Supplements: There are plenty of iodine supplements out there! Be aware that iodine supplements can interact with certain medications so be sure to check with your doctor if you are on any medications before taking iodine supplements.
How Much Iodine Is Enough?
This information was taken directly from the National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements website (12).
The amount of iodine you need each day depends on your age. Average daily recommended amounts are listed below in micrograms (mcg).
Life Stage Recommended Amount
Birth to 6 months 110 mcg
Infants 7–12 months 130 mcg
Children 1–8 years 90 mcg
Children 9–13 years 120 mcg
Teens 14–18 years 150 mcg
Adults 150 mcg
Pregnant teens and women 220 mcg
Breastfeeding teens and women 290 mcg
As you can see, pregnant teens and women as well as breastfeeding teens and women need more daily iodine. This is because they are feeding for two, and iodine is an essential nutrient for the development and growth of children! It is especially important for their bone and brain development.
How Much Iodine Is Too Much?
It’s important to mention that you can also potentially develop a milder form of hypothyroidism from taking in too much iodine (13). As with too low of an intake, taking in too much iodine can also lead to a goiter; an enlarged thyroid gland. It can also lead to inflammation of the thyroid and thyroid cancer.
The upper limits for iodine are listed below. These levels do not apply to people who are taking iodine for medical reasons under the care of a doctor.
Iodine and Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis
I wanted to mention briefly that while Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis can be a precursor to hypothyroidism, it is dealt with in a different way. One of the main differences is that restricting or lowering your iodine intake can actually be a good thing when you have Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. So, while Iodine can be a good thing for preventing hypothyroidism and for those who have regular hypothyroidism, it can be fuel for the fire if you’re suffering from autoimmune thyroid problems such as Hashimto’s Thyroididitis (14).
Bromine Interferes With The Metabolism Of Iodine
What’s Bromine you might be wondering? Well, bromine is a chemical element with the symbol Br and atomic number 35. This element is a fuming red-brown liquid at room temperature and is noted to be toxic as well as corrosive. Bromine competes for the same receptors that the thyroid gland uses to capture iodine. This means it inhibits thyroid hormone production (15).
Guess where you can find this wonderful sounding stuff!?!?!?!?
Soft Drinks: Many soft drinks, cola, soda pop, or whatever you may call them where you live, contain bromine in the form of brominated vegetable oils (16). Some companies have begun to remove bromine from their products but there are many who have not! Yummy!
Baked Goods: Some baked goods use a “dough conditioner” called potassium bromate (16).
Some Pesticides, plastics (like those used to make computers), some medications, fire retardants used in mattresses, carpets, upholstery, fabrics, and some hot tub as well as swimming pool treatments include bromine (16).
Selenium and It’s Importance In Thyroid Health
Selenium is a trace element that is naturally present in many foods, added to others, and available as a dietary supplement. It plays critical roles in reproduction, DNA synthesis, infection, protection from oxidative damage, and last but not least thyroid hormone metabolism (17)!
It’s a fact that the thyroid gland is the organ with the highest concentrations of selenium in the body! As mentioned above, and just like iodine, selenium is noted to have important functions in thyroid hormone synthesis and metabolism (18).
How Much Selenium Is Enough?
The info below was taken directly from the National Institute of Health Office of Dietary Supplements website (17).
Table 1 lists the current Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA) for selenium in mcg. For infants from birth to 12 months, the FNB established an Adequate Intake for selenium that is equivalent to the intake of selenium in healthy, breastfed infants.
Table 1: Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) for Selenium 
Age Male Female Pregnancy Lactation
Birth to 6 months 15 mcg* 15 mcg*
7–12 months 20 mcg* 20 mcg*
1–3 years 20 mcg 20 mcg
4–8 years 30 mcg 30 mcg
9–13 years 40 mcg 40 mcg
14–18 years 55 mcg 55 mcg 60 mcg 70 mcg
19–50 years 55 mcg 55 mcg 60 mcg 70 mcg
51+ years 55 mcg 55 mcg
How Much Selenium Is Too Much?
The most common sign of high selenium intake is hair and nail loss or brittleness. Other symptoms can include nervous system abnormalities, skin rashes, mottled teeth, lesions of the skin and nervous system, fatigue, irritability, diarrhea, and nausea.
Some early indications of excessive intake can be a “garlic odor” in the breath and a metallic taste in the mouth.
Table 3: Tolerable Upper Intake Levels (ULs) for Selenium *
Age Male Female Pregnancy Lactation
Birth to 6 months 45 mcg 45 mcg
7–12 months 60 mcg 60 mcg
1–3 years 90 mcg 90 mcg
4–8 years 150 mcg 150 mcg
9–13 years 280 mcg 280 mcg
14–18 years 400 mcg 400 mcg 400 mcg 400 mcg
19+ years 400 mcg 400 mcg 400 mcg 400 mcg
*Breast milk, formula, and food should be the only sources of selenium for infants.
Food Sources Of Selenium
Brazil Nuts: While Brazil nuts are one of the best sources of selenium, be sure not to over consume them! Brazil nuts contain large amounts of selenium (68-91mcg per nut) and cause selenium toxicity if consumed regularly. Literally, eating a Brazil nut or two a day could be better than taking a supplement, but too much is too much (19).
Fish and Other “Seafood”: As well as containing iodine, fish and other seafood contain decent amounts of selenium. Some of the top noted sources are tuna, halibut, sardines, shrimp, salmon, and oysters.
Seeds: Sunflower seeds and chia seeds are decent sources of selenium.
Eggs: As well as containing iodine, eggs also contain selenium.
Meats: Chicken, beef, and pork are sources of selenium.
Vegetable Sources of Selenium: Mushrooms are one of the top vegetable sources of selenium. One cup of sliced mushrooms (70g) contains roughly 6.5 micrograms of selenium. Asparagus, spinach, broccoli, and brussels sprouts are other vegetables that contain selenium. These contain roughly between 2-4 micrograms (mcg) per cup.
Do keep in mind that spinach contains a lower to moderate amount of goitrogens, and broccoli as well as brussels sprouts are cruciferous vegetables which contain higher amounts of goitrogens.
Other Essential Nutrients For Hypothyroidism
First off, I would strongly recommend that you read this article about 10 Nutrient Deficiencies Every Thyroid Patient Should Have Checked.
Dr. Mark Hyman also mentions in his article 6 steps to heal your thyroid that other key nutrients for a healthy functioning thyroid are zinc, vitamins A and D, and omega 3 fats.
Hypothyroidism and Thyroid Friendly Juicing Substitution List
Below is a list you can use to substitute in other vegetables and fruits in place of those that may present issues if you suffer from hypothyroidism or similar thyroid problems.
Vegetable/Fruit Substitute Possibilities
- Arugula: Cilantro, Parsley, Basil, Other Herbs.
- Bok Choy: Romaine Lettuce, Other Lettuce, Beet Greens, Chard.
- Broccoli: Asparagus, Zucchini, Celery, Beets (use a smaller amount of beets in place).
- Brussels Sprouts: Asparagus, Zucchini, Celery, Beets (use a smaller amount of beets in place).
- Cabbage: Romaine Lettuce, Other Lettuce, Cucumber.
- Kale: Romaine Lettuce, Other Lettuce, Beet Greens, Chard.
- Cauliflower: Asparagus, Zucchini, Celery, Beets (use a smaller amount of beets in place).
- Chinese Cabbage: Romaine Lettuce, Other Lettuce, Cucumber.
- Collard Greens: Romaine Lettuce, Other Lettuce, Beet Greens, Chard.
- Radish: Celery
- Rapini (Broccoli Rabe): Asparagus, Zucchini, Celery, Beets (use a smaller amount of beets in place).
- Spinach: Romaine Lettuce, Other Lettuce, Beet Greens, Chard.
- Turnip: Beets
- Watercress: Cilantro, Parsley, Basil, Other Herbs.
- Strawberries: Blueberries, Raspberries.
- Peach: Pear
You can of course come up with your own substitute ideas as well! We based our list on a couple of different factors. These were flavor similarities and nutritional similarities. That doesn’t mean they are a perfect match for either, but they may fit into a recipe with said ingredient better than other ingredients will. You’ll just have to try for yourself!
Don’t be afraid to be creative! That’s how some of our best juice recipes were born! 🙂
Can You Heal Hypothyroidism With Juicing Alone?
As much as I would love to say yes, from everything I’ve discovered, I don’t believe that juicing alone is going to heal your hypothyroidism. But, by using all of the tips in this article you can juice in a way that’s still healthy for you and will support your overall hypothyroid healing plan.
If you’re trying to avoid getting hypothyroidism but want to juice in large amounts, you can use the tips in this article to help out with that. The substitution list above can be a very helpful ally when planning out your hypothyroidism safe juice recipes. I want to mention one last time that if you get plenty of iodine in your diet, you most likely will not have much to worry about relating to juicing and hypothyroidism.
Hypothyroidism and Thyroid Friendly Juice Recipes
Below are 10 juicing recipes that are hypothyroidism and thyroid friendly. Click on each recipe title to be taken directly to where its ingredients are listed. Also, feel free to browse through all of our juice cleanse recipes as there are more hypothyroidism and thyroid friendly juice recipes to be found! These 10 recipes below are just a sample. Enjoy!
Scroll down to recipe #17. on the page.
#2. Cantaloupe Crush
Scroll down to recipe #5. on the page.
#3. Romaine Love
Recipe #1. on the page.
#4. Smooth Operator
Scroll down to recipe #4. on the page.
Scroll down to recipe#7. on the page.
Scroll down to recipe #2. on the page.
Scroll down to recipe #4. on the page.
#9. Rise and Shine
Scroll down to recipe #5. on the page.
#10. Mango Tango
Scroll down to recipe #8. on the page.
Juicing and Hypothyroidism Infographic
Further Thyroid Health Resources
If you’re wanting to know more about hypothyroidism, thyroid health in general, or other related thyroid disease such as, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, these resources below are an excellent place to start!
The information on this page is what I’ve found through extensive research, by reading the experiences of other people, by reading and questioning the literature of other top names in the hypothyroidism field, and from well known studies. With that being said, the information on this page is for educational use only and is in no way intended to be medical advise, nor is it intendedto replace medical advice. I advise you to run anything you’ve read here by your doctor or health care practitioner before making any changes to your diet.
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