Lectin is a type of protein that binds carbohydrate. As a result, the nutrients stick to the cell membranes found on the digestive tract. Lectin can be found mostly in plant and animal foods. The highest concentrate of lectin can be found in vegetables, dairy products, barley, quinoa and rice. Some of them are toxic while others are not.
Although there are not a lot of studies yet on the effects of a lectin free diet, a lot of people find it to be a good idea. Reducing the consumption of these foods or eliminating them completely is perfect for people who have food sensitivities.
Generally speaking, not having a variety of nutrients in the food you eat is not a good idea. Therefore, the complete elimination of foods with lectin which also contains other nutrients might not be the best choice. However, if you are someone who usually has gastrointestinal distress, it could be useful. Apart from that, there are other benefits to this diet technique.
Avoid toxic foods
Vegetables with high lectin levels can be poisonous. Kidney beans, for instance, when eaten raw is unsafe as it contains high levels of lectin.
Cooking destroys most of the lectin found in food. Soaking the vegetables might help, but boiling them would still be preferred.
Reduce peptic ulcers
A study was conducted in rats where they suffered from the negative consequences of lectin intake. Bacterial growth spiked among them.
Lectin can strip away the mucous found on the small intestine as a layer of defense. It leads to peptic ulcers.
Avoid digestive tract problems
Other researches revealed that lectin could also lead to digestion disruption. As a result, you might suffer from intestinal damage.
If you eat large quantities over time, you could end up with severe health issues. You would rather eliminate them completely than wait until it is too late.
A few down sides
There are also some risks that come with a lectin free diet. To begin with, most of these studies conducted were on animals.
There needs to be more researches done on humans for the results to be conclusive. Another problem is that this form of diet could be lacking fiber which is essential for your nutrition.
Since you also need the nutrients from those sources, it might be difficult for you to stick to this diet technique.
Foods you can eat
Among the foods you can include are onion, broccoli, mushrooms, pumpkin, carrots and asparagus. For fruits, cherries, strawberries, apples and oranges are safe choices.
All forms of animal protein are also allowed, including fish, chicken and beef. Good fats found in avocado and olive oil are also allowed.
A few reminders
If you want to succeed with this diet technique, you need to stick with the list. You also need to prepare food in a pressure cooker to significantly reduce the lectin levels.
If you are uncomfortable with this technique, you can try it first and see if gastric distress will start going away.
You can continue with this plan if you feel the positive impact on your health.