why you should steam kale, broccoli + cabbage

I’ve been making salad and green smoothies with raw kale as I used to think you should eat kale raw to get the most out of this nutritious superfood. Oops. I may have been damaging my thyroid. It turns out steaming kale before adding it to smoothies and salads not only is healthier, but allows you to eat more of it, much more easily!



In case you aren’t eating this alkaline wonderdrug- here’s why you should: Kale has more iron than beef, more calcium than milk, is high in Vitamin A, K, antioxidants, and has incredible cancer and disease-fighting anti- acidic, anti-inflammatory properties.


However, raw kale has natural chemicals in it called goitrogens that block thyroid production. Same for all other cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli, and bok choy. You have to cook them to reduce the goitrogen levels, especially if you have any kind of thyroid issues, are TTC, pregnant or breast-feeding.


When you eat goitrogens, you need to increase your iodine levels so they don’t damage your thyroid gland. To reduce goitrogens by a third, steam crucifers until they are fully cooked. To destroy 90% of goitrogens, boil crucifers for thirty minutes, but that would be over boiling your veggies, and would destroy a lot of the nutrients as well, as nutrients leech into the water.


So if you eat kale a few times a week, the solution is to steam it for 5 minutes, make sure your multivitamin has iodine in it, or take liquid iodine drops. If you eat crucifers every day, I would suggest steaming them for longer.


Sadly, fermentation does not neutralize the goitrogens in crucifers. When foods like kimchi or sauerkraut are consumed in small amounts however, goitrogen levels are not harmful if you’re getting enough iodine.


Up your iodine intake by eating seaweed, and natural iodine drops made from kelp.I take liquid iodine made from kelp (you can buy a bottle for $3 at a health food store), a multivitamin with iodine in it, eat seaweed when I can, AND gently cook my cruciferous veggies.


The great thing is that it’s so much tastier to eat steamed kale salad than raw kale – the texture is less chewy, and it reduces in size, so you can easily eat more.


Next up- my Dream Body Green Goddess Smoothie recipe with steamed kale!

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  1. Hi, I have been buying kale for juicing, after reading the above info, please advise if I have to steam befor juicing or can I wash clean and insert into my juicer.
    appreciate yr kind advise.

    Thank you

  2. Hi NANZ, i would say it depends on how often you eat kale and other cruciferous vegetables like cabbage or broccoli. If you eat them weekly, and raw, then I would suggest steaming your kale. If you only occasionally eat these veggies (less than once a week), and you don’t have a thyroid issue you’re aware of, then I wouldn’t worry about it.

  3. i do have thyroid issues. i also have lymphoma and am focusing on eating the healthiest foods i can. this morning i decided to steam the kale i just purchased, but did not know how long to do it. i googled the question and there you were with more info than i requested, but that i needed to know. thank you so much.

  4. Now my GF and I are arguing…
    She says that boiling kale removes the vitamins and thus defeats a large part of the reason you eat it. We like to eat kale a few times a week and don’t have thyroid issues that we know of 🙂 Please help us!

    1. i hate to say it but you probably know this- your GF is right! steaming kale lightly is one thing, boiling quickly becomes over boiling and depletes a lot of nutrients. this is true of all vegetables. that’s why you don’t want to overcook them. so if you’re eating kale that often (wow- i couldn’t), i would suggest lightly steaming it for a few minutes only!

      1. Goins is spreading long held mythos about boiling. Boiling never goes BEYOND THE BOILING POINT. So if you keep a lid on the pot
        you will keep your nutrients in tact. THE ONLY WAY TO ‘OVER BOIL’ is to evaporate all the water and your product is burning the bottom of the pan.
        Do your research bloggers, you are possibly confusing people with your rhetoric. You may hate to say it, because you are unsure.

        1. what i mean by ‘overboiling’ is quite simple: the longer you boil veggies, the less nutrients they have, as they leech into the water. it doesn’t take a lot of research to figure that one out. that’s why steaming is healthier than boiling, duh. it’s not about the temperature of the water, obviously the boiling point is the boiling point! i’m not sure how you misunderstood what i wrote, but hopefully this clarifies my intent.

  5. Hi, I’m using a cup if kale in my smoothie 3 times a week and also use it for side dishes. How many minutes should I steam it ? Thank you.

    1. hi katherine, do you have any thyroid issues? if not, steaming it for 3-5 minutes should be plenty. you want to make sure it’s bright dark green, not overcooked and green/brownish!

  6. So if I want to eat let’s say 200 grams of raw cabbage a day (which I love and and is easy to do) then could I simply balance it out by taking 1/4 t of kelp powder. Would that be too much or not enough kelp. Is kelp powder as good as taking the kelp liquid you mention. How about one snack package a day of seaweed? Are the kelp and seaweed options better than taking something like Idoral? What about a T of spirulina each time I eat a couple cups raw /steamed crucierous? Is it a problem that I use celtic or pink salt? Are you concered about the apparent toxins in Himalayan salt? Should I be going back to commercial salt? THANK YOu so much for any feedback you can offer.

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