Keep Calm and Kale On

January 15, 2014 3 Comments

As I’ve been researching surprising ingredients in various foods and products, I’ve learned some things that have turned my stomach.

And because I’m not interested in eating duck feathers or human/hog hair in my food, I’ve even had to swear off one of my favorite guilty pleasures: Dunkin Donuts. I realize there are much worse things than living without an occasional delicious, yet unhealthy treat. I have a crazy sweet tooth – and realizing I can’t eat Starbursts or Twix bars as a vegetarian was a tough blow.

But living without these things will make me a healthier person. The other day, I was joking with my husband about the fact that all of the foods I’ve recently sworn off are all in the junk food category. “It’s not like I’m finding out horrible things about kale,” I said.

A few days later, friends began sharing an article on Facebook that caught my eye: “The Dark Side Of Kale (And How To Eat Around It).”

kale

You’ve got to be kidding me! Kale? I couldn’t imagine what unsavory thing this story from Boston’s NPR station would reveal about kale. The article was precipitated by a recent opinion piece in the New York Times titled Kale? Juicing? Trouble Ahead. It turns out that like other cruciferous foods, kale can affect thyroid levels when consumed in larger–than-normal amounts—causing hypothyroidism or insufficient thyroid hormones. Wait – did you catch that? Larger-than-normal amounts. Sometimes we forget that even healthy foods should be consumed in moderation.

If you enjoy a serving of kale a few times of week, you should have nothing to worry about, even if you are taking medication for a thyroid disorder. (Of course, I’m not a doctor, so follow-up with your physician if you do have concerns.) However, if you are drinking a tall glass of kale juice every day or consuming the leafy green raw by the fistfuls, you might want to take a closer look at the “dark side” of kale and amend your consumption accordingly. For example, cooking kale reduces the effect it has on the thyroid. Another suggestion is to add seaweed to your diet; iodine-rich food can prevent iodine deficiency, which can lead to thyroid issues.

Filed in: Food • Tags: ,

About the Author:

Amanda Leff Ritchie is a Pittsburgh-based writer. You can follow her on Twitter @mermanda.
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Comments (3)

  1. Interesting! I got really into raw kale salads over the summer last year. Maybe I’ll try to mix in more cooked in between the raw. I love raw kale so muchhh!

  2. Katherine says:

    Try sweet Freedom bakery (.com)for your sweet tooth. At any rate, KALE RULES! Eat more Kale! as the kale guy from Vermont says.

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