Lizzard77

Cauliflower Bad for us?

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I came across this "article" today and my feathers are a little ruffled.  I would love to hear everyone's take on this.  I tend not to agree but then again I have had heated debates with friends about the harms of phytic acid and why they shouldn't be eating legumes or grains.  I guess to each their own but I refuse to believe cruciferous veggies should not be on my plate! 

 

http://www.nutritionbynature.com.au/1/post/2013/01/potato-pancakes.html

 
Potatoes get such a bad rap. Nutritionally-speaking, they're an excellent source of vitamin C, B6, thyroid-supporting carbohydrates, some usable protein, and are one of the vegetables that contain the least natural plant toxins*. What's more, they're an excellent vehicle for other tasty and nutritious foods – butter, salt and cheese (you think I'm kidding, but I assure you I'm not).   
 
The backlash of the humble spud's negative press and general fear of carbohydrates has been the rise of the ‘tater haters', and a disturbing number of “faux potato†recipes (cauliflower mash/cauliflower pancakes/other crime against delicious food). Most people would agree that using cauliflower as a potato substitute makes for woefully inadequate dishes taste-wise (and how do you get past the dirty socks-smell?!), but I think probably few people realize that potato is actually better for you than its cauliflower understudy.

Cauliflower (and it's mate, broccoli, along with other cruciferous vegetables like kale, cabbage and Brussels sprouts) contain plant chemicals known as goitrogens, which can block the formation of active thyroid hormone, down-regulate thyroid function and essentially slow metabolism. Not a great thing if you're trying to heal your metabolism, increase your core body temperature/metabolic rate, lose weight or achieve overall better health. Yes, cauliflower and broccoli contain lots of viable micronutrients and on-paper look like brilliantly healthy foods – but as foods for humans their nutrient profiles translate very differently in the body. Aside from the goitrogens, they contain large amounts of insoluble fibre (cellulose, which we humans can't digest) that can be quite irritating to the gut (which is why these vegetables can cause bloating and flatulence) and also inhibit the amount of nutrients you absorb from these foods and any others ingested in the same meal.

By all means, if you love cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower and have a well-functioning metabolism (your digestion is spot-on, you are free from constipation, your hair, nails and skin are perfectly healthy, you're generally ‘warm' with little effort, you're not over-exercising and you're not under-eating), then go right ahead and consume them in moderation – just make sure they're very well-cooked (raw kale smoothies are most definitely a no-go!) and that you're avoiding other concentrated sources of goitrogens such as soy.

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I tend to ignore such "this veg is good but this one is bad" articles. Potatoes arent bad. They are not excellent for me (I am speaking of post W30 of course) because they truly are a vehicle for butter cheese and sour cream which are things I choose to no longer eat. As far as cauli, broc etc..eat a large variety of vegetables and you won't get too much or too little of one nutrient.

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From what I understand, cruciferous veggies that are cooked (just lightly steamed is fine) no longer contain goitrogens so they are fine.

 

Also, I do agree with one aspect of the article - potatoes are awesome! However, the Whole30 rule is no white potatoes so they are out of my life for a little while. And trying to make cauliflower into a mashed potato is SWYPO to me - of course it's perfectly fine for Whole30 so I'm not telling anyone to not do a cauli-mash.

 

I have never thought of potatoes as just a vehicle for butter and cheese. Potato salad, potatoes roasted with carrots and garlic, potato cakes, hash browns,  plain baked potato topped with the juices from a steak and sprinkled with salt........yum, the first thing I want after my Whole30 is going to be a plain old potato!

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Eh. People like getting clicks on their websites. Some people are bothered by this class of veg, but for most I agree that a mix of veg is a good thing.

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It's kind of funny to me; didn't "they" say not too long ago that cruciferous veggies helped prevent cancer? I love broccoli, brussels sprouts, and cauliflower and if I'm not supposed to eat them you can pry them from my cold, dead hands.

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I think it's interesting how just about anything can be bad depending on the eyes you are looking through.  I too am looking forward to a potato but am very much enjoying the large mix of veggies i am getting each day!

 

Simply curious on other's take on this :)

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Interesting ... I think you just have to use the rule of "moderation".  I have been eating a ton of the veggies mentioned above (and cooked well) but I think the large increase of insoluble fiber is messing with my digestive system.  I think you just have to be in-tune with your body and make adjustments as necessary.  Overall, veggies are good for you!  That article was probably sponsored by potato farmers ;)

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I find some cruciferous veggies bother me raw, but are fine cooked.  Cabbage bothers me regardless.  I think this falls under the category of "to each, one's own," and cannot be generalized as all good or all bad.

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I did a tiny bit of research via Google Scholar and one article I found said that:

 

 

The active antithyroid agent in these vegetables has been identified as goitrin...Cooking destroys this enzyme and thus negates its goitrogenic potency by preventing the liberation of goitrin from progoitrin. Although the ingestion of considerable quantities of goitrogenic foods may contribute to the development of goiter under certain circumstances, it is very difficult to incriminate them as an etiologic factor in the vast majority of goitrous patients.

 

And a book (Thyroid Handbook) mentioned goitrogens in cauliflower and other vegetables, but then said:

 

 

Goitrogens are usually active only if iodine supply is limited and intake is of long duration. (emphasis theirs)

 

So, I don't think we have anything to worry about, as long as our iodine levels are fine (and for most of us, they probably are, since you can get iodine from eggs, shrimp, and fish).

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I don't eat cauliflower because it's a FODMAP (although it doesn't bother me in moderation) but the whole goitrogen is blown out of proportion. From what I understand, if you cook these foods, most of the thyroid activiatng properties are removed. And even then, it's not going to make a  difference. Unless you have a thyroid problem (I have that too, but I would eat cooked cauliflower).

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I used to worry about this a bit since I have Hashimotos and I don't want to do anything else that might hinder my thyroid function. However, Chris Kresser addressed this on one of his podcasts recently and the takeaway for me was that I'd have to be eating way more goitrogenic veggies than I ever possibly could in order for them to be problematic.

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