It’s a new morning and I am here writing another post for my readers. When I was thinking about what to write suddenly I received a call from one of my clients, Shikha. She met excessive weight gain and the reason behind it was her thyroid. Shikha started with a lectin-free diet in order to heal her body and when things become more intricate, she came to me.

Well, now she has a healthy body weight and ideal thyroid level. But I think it is not a good idea to stick to a lectin-free diet on a whole, especially when you don’t have any idea about it. If you are following a lectin-free diet or planning to follow one, then first read this post to know the buzz about plant lectins.

What Exactly Are Lectins?

For those who don’t know, lectins are proteins present in the leaves, grains, rins, seeds, and skins of certain plants. They function as defendants against predators such as insects who are trying to eat those plants.

When we consume foods that contain lectin, these small plant proteins attach to carbohydrate molecules present in our blood cells, cells of our nerves, and cells in our gut lining. When lectins bind, they intervene with the cellular communication function between our immune system and cells. Also, they form tight junctions between cells present in the lining of our intestines. As a result, we develop an inflamed and leaky gut.

An unhealthy and inflamed gut show undesirable symptoms like digestive issues, fatigue, weight gain, brain fog, and more. If any such problem is left unchecked and untreated, then the inflamed and leaky gut can result in excessive weight gain, which would also put you on greater risks of chronic ailments, like diabetes, autoimmune disorders, and heart diseases.

The good thing is that our bodies have the power to handle lectins through the way of the mucus barrier lining present in our microbiome and intestinal tract. But the various factors from our modern lifestyle and unhealthy eating habits alter our resiliency to deal with such lectins in our diet. Some of these factors are:

  • Stomach acid blockers
  • Endocrine Damaging Chemicals
  • Artificial Sweeteners
  • High Exposure to Blue Light
  • GMOs

Due to constant exposure to these elements, our bodies become more vulnerable to unhealthy consequences of consuming lectins.

Which Foods Contain Lectins?

Sure, after knowing the truth you would want to know and avoid eating foods that contain lectins. But the sad news is that lectins are present in most of the healthy foods we consume. While there is a comprehensive list of such food items, which cannot be mentioned in one post, here I would like to name out some foods that are consumed daily in our families and by us.

  • Corn
  • Meat animals of animals that were given corn
  • Cashews and Peanuts
  • Legumes
  • Beans
  • Grains, like wheat and even gluten-free grains like quinoa contain it
  • Tomatoes
  • Peppers
  • Eggplant
  • Goji Berries
  • White Potatoes
  • Okra
  • Pumpkins
  • Acorn Squash
  • Butternut Squash
  • Summer Squash
  • Zucchini
  • And most importantly, Milk

How Can You Identify Your Lectin Sensitivity or Intolerance?

The truth is that anyone can get affected with lectins. But yes, there are some people who have a high tolerance against lectins as compared to the others. Your tolerance level depends completely on your health condition. If you have a healthy and strong gut defense system, implying that your microbiome is healthy and the tight junctions within your intestinal cells are tightly closed then you have a high tolerance against lectins.

On the other hand, if you regularly deal with problems like GI distress, high inflammatory markers on blood, and autoimmune ailments, then it is better if you follow a low-lectin diet. If still, you want to go on a lectin-diet and want to give it a try then remember, the negative health effects will start showing within two weeks.

Now, here I want to mention an important thing!

If you do not want to follow a low-lectin diet and still want to support your gut to deal with lectins and other elements that can be harmful, then here are some easy ways that you can adopt.

Best Ways to Reduce Lectins in Your Daily Diet

  1. De-seed and peel peppers and tomatoes always before consuming them. High levels of lectins are contained in seeds and peels of such foods. Hence, consuming them this way will reduce the lectin content in your diet.
  2. Try consuming seasonal foods rather than your yearly favorites. For example, stone fruits and berries in summer, apples in fall, and more. It is because such fruits contain a lesser amount of lectins when they ripe.
  3. It is better to consume white rice than brown rice. It is because the hull of brown rice contains high levels of lectins
  4. Sprout or soak gluten-free grains before cooking to decrease the lectin content.
  5. Always go for pasture-raised meat as it comes from animals that did not consume corn.
  6. It is better to rely on A2 casein dairy products like dairy from sheep and goats. Cow’s milk contains A1 casein, which is a lectin-like protein.

I hope this post is helpful to you! Lectins are not always harmful, but anything consumed in excess will definitely show negative health effects. So either go for a low-lectin diet or follow my tips to reduce lectin consumption in your everyday diet as this will keep your gut healthy.

Enjoy eating!