Greetings. It’s New Zealand naturopath, Eric Bakker. Thanks for checking out my video. I’m the author of a book called Candida Crusher and the formulator of a range of supplements called Canxida. Thanks for checking out the video.
A question I get asked all the time from patients and I’ve just noticed on YouTube, I’ve had quite a few people coming in there asking me the same question. “Eric, why don’t you recommend raw kale? What’s the problem with kale? Why can’t I have kale in my smoothies? What’s the issue with it?”
Think about kale and think about the cruciferous family in general, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cauliflower, Chinese vegetables, kale, and I think there’s kohlrabi. There are very many other kinds of vegetables that belong to the cruciferous family. I grow a lot of broccoli. I love eating fresh broccoli. We grow large cauliflowers. We grow Brussel sprouts. We grow lots of kale. In our garden, we grow the Russian red curly kale and we grow the green kale. Coming from Holland, Dutch like me eat a lot of kale. When I grew up, my mom would often have mashed potatoes and then meat with gravy and a lot of kale with it. This is a typical winter dish in Holland that we eat.
Raw kale is not good and I’ll tell you why. The cruciferous family of vegetables contain many different beneficial to your health compounds. We know, for example, kale is very high in protein. But it also contains a compound called isothiocyanate.
That’s a bit of a tongue twister isn’t it. Isothiocyanate. These are called thiols and these are actually very beneficial anti-oxidant compounds. They have very powerful health building properties to the body. But the isothiocyanates, unfortunately, also attack an enzyme in your body called TPO or thyroperoxydase. The TPO enzyme is very important because it allows iodine molecules to attach to tyrosine. We’ve got two main thyroid hormones. We’ve got T3 and T4. T3 is called triiodothyronine, so it’s actually three iodine molecules attached to the amino acid tyrosine. T4 is called thyroxine, so that’s four molecules of iodine bound to a thyroxine backbone.
The body splits off one iodine molecule to turn T4 into T3, the active thyroid hormone. There are other thyroid hormones as well. We’ve got T2. We’ve got reverse T3, and we’ve got many other kinds of thyroid hormones. But the basic ones that our body will utilize are T3 and T4. T3 is the active form of the thyroid hormone. It’s the one that all the cells of body use to activate.
T3 they reckon is about 80 percent active and about 20 percent not so active. T4 on the other hand is about 20 percent active and 80 percent not so active. It needs to be converted. The body’s quite clever. It can utilize T3 and T4, but T3 is what it really wants to power up all the cells of the body. All of your cells of your body apart from your cells in the nail and hair contain receptor sites for the T hormones. This is why when a person has a thyroid condition, just about any part of the body can play up, the heart, the eyes, the skin can play up, all the organs, your joints, the muscles, the nerves, they can all play up because they all have receptor sites for the T hormones.
Raw kale, in particular, has a very powerful effect on the thyroperoxydase enzyme, particularly when it’s raw. When you heat kale up, you destroy the ability of the isothiocyanate to react to TPO. Cooking kale, no problem. Steaming kale, no problem.
Eating it raw, problem. Go to Google and type in “raw kale and thyroid” and you’ll find over a million pages that will come up. There are lot of really good science pages you can read on the ability of the cruciferous family to affect thyroid function. This is why we call them goitrogens. They can promote the thyroid to develop a goiter or become enlarged, so goitrogen. Now you know what the word “goitrogen” means. Goiter means enlarged thyroid. The thyroid can become enlarged if it doesn’t get enough iodine. It doesn’t get enough iodine if the thyroperoxydase enzyme is going to be affected by isothiocyanate. Now, you understand why kale, especially raw, is not really good.
Any raw cruciferous vegetables are not the best, but apparently kale is the worst. I’ve got a good friend in Australia who is an expert in cruciferous vegetables. She’s done quite a lot of research and studies into these cruciferous vegetables and has always said to me, “Eric, raw broccoli’s fine. You’re not going to eat a whole bathtub full of raw broccoli because that’s how much you would need to affect the TPO enzyme. But if you’re going to eat raw kale, you need a lot less of it to create the same effect.” Raw kale is not a good food. I don’t care what these darn vegans tell me. The research shows that raw kale can create thyroid dysfunction. Please avoid any kind of raw kale.
I hope this really answers your question about raw kale, why it’s not so good for your health.