Everything You Need to Know About Lectins and What You Should Avoid
Have you ever experienced digestion issues or general irritation after eating certain foods? If you notice that beans, whole grains, and/or so-called “nightshade” vegetables trigger gastrointestinal discomfort, lectins, a potentially harmful component of these foods, may be the culprit.
If you already have a digestive condition, such as irritable bowel syndrome, you are even more likely to be sensitive to lectins.
Beans, whole grains, and vegetables are all crucial parts of a healthy, well-balanced diet, so they can be hard to avoid. However, if you know your body reacts poorly to lectins, GoBiotix Lectin Defense is here to help!
For everything you need to know about lectins and Lectin Defense, keep reading!
What Are Lectins?
Lectins are a family of proteins that are considered “anti-nutrients,” meaning they prevent proper absorption of certain types of nutrients. Lectins are specifically thought to slow the absorption of calcium, iron, phosphorus, and zinc.
These proteins that are known as lectins are present in many different animal and plant species. The lectins found in animals are involved in various processes within the body and allow the animal to function normally. Lectins found in plants potentially function as a protective barrier against plant-eating entities.
Foods that contain a high amount of lectins include whole grains, beans/legumes, and nightshade vegetables (eggplants, tomatoes, potatoes, and peppers). Lectins are especially present in the raw forms of these foods.
The six foods that hold the most lectins are:
As you may have noticed from this list, lectin-containing foods are generally considered to be healthy. For one, these foods are rich in many essential nutrients, such as protein, fiber, vitamins (especially B vitamins), minerals, and healthy fats.
Foods that contain high amounts of lectins also slow down digestion as a result of their high fiber content. This allows for more stable blood sugar and insulin levels. Finally, people that eat lectin-containing foods are at a lower risk for obesity, cardiovascular disease, and type 2 diabetes.
Unfortunately, lectins have also been linked to chronic inflammation, autoimmune diseases, and overall poor gut health. So while lectin-containing foods have many advantages, they can also potentially damage your digestive system and cause you irritation.
Why Are Lectins Bad?
Lectins are claimed to facilitate poor digestive health and chronic inflammation, and fuel autoimmune disorders. This is partially because some lectins can be toxic, especially when you eat too many of them.
Raw red kidney beans, for example, contain a lectin called phytohaemagglutinin, which can cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea when consumed even in small amounts. This lectin may even cause red blood cells to clump together, which is potentially dangerous.
The human digestive system and its powerful enzymes do not know how to deal with lectins, and so it is entirely possible for lectins to pass through the body without being broken down.
Once inside the digestive tract, lectins may bind to the cells that line it. This is where lectins get their name as an anti-nutrient -- by binding to the cells in the digestive tract, lectins slow the absorption of minerals like calcium, phosphorus, zinc, and iron.
Lectins may trigger an autoimmune response or chronic inflammation because they can remain attached to the cells in the digestive tract for long periods of time.
You are most likely to experience irritation and allergy-like symptoms after eating lectins if you have another digestive or inflammation-related condition. The best way to tell if lectins are the cause of your discomfort is by cutting lectin-containing foods out of your diet for a couple of weeks and observing whether or not your symptoms change.
How To Minimize Exposure To Lectins
The most important thing to recognize when working with foods that have a high amount of lectins is that cooking the food well will get rid of most if not all active lectins.
Let’s say that you are cooking red kidney beans, which are thought to have the highest concentration of lectins out of any commonly-eaten food. This high number is talking about red kidney beans in their raw state, not in their cooked state.
Lectins are water-soluble, so soaking your red kidney beans overnight should get rid of many of the surface-level lectins. Next, cooking your beans in water and high-heat for a couple of hours will further remove a significant amount of lectins from the beans. In fact, the amount of lectins in the red kidney beans will drop from 20,000-70,000 hemagglutinating units (HAU), to 200-400 HAU.
The key here is making sure the beans are exposed to constant water and high-heat over a somewhat long period of time. Once this is done, the amount of lectins still present in the beans will be low enough that you should not experience any adverse side effects. Undercooked dried beans, on the other hand, will still have a high number of lectins and can cause just as much harm as raw beans.
Canned beans are pre-cooked and stored in liquid so they are relatively low in lectins from the get go. You can also decrease the number of lectins in a bean product by sprouting or fermenting the beans.
If you are someone that experiences regular discomfort after eating lectin-rich foods, you may want to consider an anti-inflammatory diet (similar to the Mediterranean diet). This diet features fish, fruits (especially berries), vegetables (especially dark leafy greens), nuts/seeds, olive oil, fiber-rich foods, and antioxidant-rich foods (onion, turmeric, green tea, etc.). It also limits all processed and salty foods, as well as excessive alcohol.
There are certain supplements available that can lessen the effects of lectins, which is especially important since lectin-containing foods offer many essential nutrients to the body.
GoBiotix Lectin Defense
If you cut beans and whole grains out of your diet, you will have few options in terms of valuable fiber-rich carbohydrates. To avoid the digestive discomfort caused by lectins without sacrificing the benefits these foods have to offer, try GoBiotix Lectin Defense, a supplement that is specifically tailored to protect the body from digestive irritants.
GoBiotix Lectin Defense contains powerful ingredients like N acetyl-glucosamine, bladderwrack, and okra, all of which bind to lectins to keep them from binding to the digestive tract. MSM helps alleviate any discomfort caused by lectins, while vegetable peptase allows for better digestion of pesky lectins.
This supplement is sure to help strengthen your GI tract, promote better digestion of lectins, soothe any irritation you may be experiencing, improve energy levels, and minimize any gas or bloating. The best part? All GoBiotix supplements are third-party tested and produced in a GMP certified facility, so you know you are getting the highest quality.
Don’t wait any longer to bolster your digestive health -- try GoBiotix Lectin Defense today!
Lectins may negatively affect the absorption of essential minerals, like calcium, zinc, iron, and phosphorus. They have also been linked to digestive irritation, chronic inflammation, and autoimmune disease. Lectins are especially present in beans, whole grains, and nightshade vegetables.
Cooking beans thoroughly under high-heat can ensure that the majority of lectins are removed from the beans, making them healthy to eat. However, if you experience constant discomfort from eating lectin-containing foods, consider an anti-inflammatory diet or the GoBiotix Lectin Defense supplement.