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Why You Need to Cook these Vegetables for Maximum Nutrition

You know you should eat your vegetables - but are they better cooked or raw? Raw vegetables of all kinds are great sources of vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants, and fiber. However, the finest vegetables available are of no value to you if you cannot properly digest them - a key issue with some raw vegetables.

Eating raw cruciferous vegetables actually suppresses your thyroid's hormone production, creating fatigue, coldness in your body and a slowing of your metabolism. Cruciferous vegetables include broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, mustard greens, radishes, rutabagas and turnips.

Cabbage and its cousins in the cruciferous vegetable family are nutrient-rich, but unless you cook or ferment them, they could slow down your metabolism.

So, how can you get the benefits of these great cruciferous vegetables without all the negative effects?

When eating cruciferous vegetables, it's important to cook them to avoid the thyroid-suppressing properties. But what if you are committed to a raw food diet (or you simply want to enjoy them raw)?

Body Ecology's system of health and healing has a solution for raw foodists who want to eat cabbage, kale and collards … ferment them! This gets rid of the thyroid-suppressing effect and maximizes nutrition.

Many people enjoy cooked vegetables - and now raw foodists can enjoy collards, kale, cabbage and other cruciferous vegetables safely too. Actually, raw, fermented vegetables are a great way for everyone to eat raw, and they also provide an abundance of necessary plant-based enzymes that ease digestion and populate your stomach with good bacteria. The fermentation process supports the growth of these good bacteria -- and once in your body, they prevent viral and fungal infections, boost immunity and increase the nutrient value of your food.

Even better, raw, fermented vegetables are easy to make at home! It's as simple as mixing chopped veggies with any of our Body Ecology Starters and letting them ferment at room temperature for about a week.

The Body Ecology website has step-by-step instructions that explain the whole process. If you'd like more information on which fermented food starter to use, check out the article in this week's newsletter.

Once you've made your own raw, fermented vegetables, add a ½ cup serving to each meal to aid your digestion and populate your digestive tract with healthy bacteria. Additionally, the fermentation process 'pre-digests' the vegetables and makes the nutrients more easily absorbed. So if you've had trouble digesting raw vegetables in the past, try fermented vegetables!

Vegetables should be a key staple in your diet -- 80% of what you eat overall! Whether you are a raw foodist, a veggie lover or you want to get more benefits from the foods you eat, fermenting vegetables provides a delicious way to improve your health.


  • Ali Forman says:

    Any Registered Dietician and also Dr. Joel Fuhrman (author of Eat to Live, etc.
    have All indicated that there is NO scientific evidence to support claims that cruciferous vegetables have such goitrogenic effects on thyroid and that a person would need to consume massive amounts on regular basis for cruciferous vegetables to have such an effect on thyroid.

    Posted on Sep 12 at 9:58 am

  • Kylie says:

    Remember also thought that cooking cruciferous veggies can suppress some of the great cancer- fighting properties. Frozen broccoli is a good example. It is unable to produce sulforaphane because of the blanching process. I assume that cooking it could do the same. If you eat cooked broccoli, eat some raw radish with it to restore some of the lost nutrients.

    Posted on Jun 23 at 1:31 pm

  • Ellie says:

    Thanks for this article! I was recently diagnosed with hypothyroid and I was beyond upset to read that cruciferous vegetables are bad for people with thyroid problems. They are my favorite vegetables and I was having a hard time thinking of other veggies to eat. Seriously, I would eat a whole bag of broccoli for a meal sometimes. I also ate tons of kale, cabbage and cauliflower. I was looking at a diet with few veggies because those were my staples. So thanks, now I'll just make sure to cook them well and enjoy my food!

    Posted on Jun 10 at 11:59 am

  • Maria says:

    I have a question regarding cruciferous vegetables. Donna has written that these have a suppressing effect on the thyroid when eaten raw. What is the effect upon someone without a thyroid whom is taking a hormone replacement such as Synthroid?

    Posted on Aug 23 at 7:35 pm

  • Fermentation does NOT reduce the goitrogens content in cruciferous veggies, but actually INCREASES it. Cooking reduces the content by around 30%.

    Don't worry though -- the only way it could ever lead to thyroid suppressing effects is if you already suffer from an iodine deficiency.

    Eat plenty of legumes, fish, seafood and eggs to get plenty of iodine and you'll be fine.

    Posted on Feb 21 at 3:52 am

  • shneas says:

    Right, so basically I'm just gonna eat what makes my body feel energised, and not take advice from people who claim to know the specific effects of certain foods on the digestive systems of all ...

    I love my broccli raw...with a bit of hummus ... and yeah, I get gas, but I'm single so no worries.

    Posted on Dec 6 at 5:41 am

  • Vi says:

    What is the answer to the question below?

    Other nutritional experts say that cooking reduces (by 2/3 to 3/4)
    the goitrogenic effect of cruciferous vegetables,
    and that fermenting does NOT reduce the goitrogenic effect.
    How can I know who is correct?
    What studies have been done on this?

    Posted on Jul 11 at 12:14 pm

  • Alvin says:

    What about blending? Do green smoothies (via my Vitamix) with Kale or Mustard Greens digest as well as cooked or fermented?

    Posted on May 27 at 11:28 am

  • Piper says:

    It would be great to have an answer to Elsa's question.

    Posted on Apr 20 at 1:13 pm

  • Elsa Hallowell says:

    Other nutritional experts say that cooking reduces (by 2/3 to 3/4)
    the goitrogenic effect of cruciferous vegetables,
    and that fermenting does NOT reduce the goitrogenic effect.
    How can I know who is correct?
    What studies have been done on this?

    Posted on Feb 24 at 8:35 pm

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