Beans, legumes, and other plant-based foods such as whole grains, and select vegetables contain proteins known as Lectin. This protein has been associated with various positive and negative health effects in humans.
Lectins can impact the health in many different ways ranging from chronic disease risk to digestion and other health issues such as red blood cells clustering. The protein is categorized as an anti-nutrient because of its nature of blocking the absorption of other important nutrients in the body.
Plant-based food that are high in Lectins can produce adverse health issues if eaten uncooked, and even if they’re properly cooked, those sensitive to the protein may still see signs of upset stomach, nausea, and other problems. Read more at http://lectinfoodsbase.com.
For people who are sensitive to Lectins, it is often recommended to follow a diet consisting of low Lectin Foods. But this is easier said than done because there are an impossible number of foods that contain Lectins. The key is to find plant-based foods that have naturally low Lectin or lose most of their Lectins when properly cooked.
Since these proteins can cause inflammation, celiac disease, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis, a lot of people tend to follow Lectin-free diets. Though Lectin-Free diet is good to follow, it is not suitable as a long term plan. Thus many nutritionists recommend cutting off on foods that are high in Lectin but not entirely giving them up because in some research studies, it is shown that Lectins can also help in identifying and diagnosing cancer.
Lectins are mostly found in vegetables and fruits which also have other health benefits associated with them. So entirely giving up on all fruits and vegetables just to save you from Lectins is definitely not a good idea.
If you are Lectin-intolerant, try to find plant-based foods that have low Lectin. We have compiled a list of food items that are naturally low in Lectin. You’ll also find a list of foods that have the highest amount of Lectins below so you can easily make a personal diet plan out of it.
Low Lectin Foods
- Sweet Potatoes (cooked)
- Any pasture-raised meats
- Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and other cruciferous vegetables
- Onion and garlic
- Green and leafy vegetables like spinach
High Lectin Foods
- Lentils, peanuts, peas, and other legumes
- Eggplant, tomatoes, peppers, potatoes or any other nightshade vegetables
- Most fruits but only when not eaten in moderation
- Corn-fed animal meat
Plants are naturally high in Lectins and it would be hard for you to find any plant-based food that does not have high Lectins in it. However, with proper cooking techniques, you can easily reduce the amount of Lectins present inside.
For example, cooking legumes such as kidney beans under high pressure cooking will result in most of the Lectins immediately eliminated from the food, thus making kidney beans a low Lectin food.
Lectins must not be completely avoided due to the fact that they also have plenty of positive health benefits.