Should you avoid lectins?

June 29, 2020

Should you avoid lectins?

The popularity of low carb diets like Keto and Paleo resulted in increased health concerns over carbohydrate-rich foods such as grains and legumes. One such concern is the presence of lectins, a family of proteins that can be found in almost all foods, but that are especially plentiful in grains and legumes. You may be wondering, why are some people so concerned about lectins? Should you be concerned too? Let's explore!


 Certain types of lectins may be toxic and cause harm when consumed in large amounts, which can lead to digestive distress and evensevere digestive issues such asabdominal pain, vomiting, and leaky gut (crazy right?). The tendency for lectins to interfere with the absorption of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients has earned them the status of “antinutrient.”


Although almost all foods contain some amount of lectins, it is estimated that30% of foods commonly consumed in large amounts in the United States contain significant amounts. Legumes such as beans, soybeans, and peanuts hold the most plant lectins, and although cooking at high temperatures may be effective in eliminating them, oftentimes these foods are not prepared in a way that decreases the lectin content.


 So, while it is certainly safer to make sure the lectin rich foods you eat have been cooked in some way, it is difficult to be certain that all risk has been eliminated. This means many people may opt to avoid all lectin rich foods in general, regardless of the manner of preparation.


Let’s be clear. We’re not saying foods that contain high lectin content are all bad. Whole grains and legumes are generally high in vitamins, minerals, and fiber, and completely eliminating these foods from your diet could potentially mean missing out on important nutrients. So, even though the choice to avoid high lectin foods may be a good call for people experiencing digestive issues, it is important for your diet to still maintain a diverse nutritional profile. 


We recently discovered that the Sacha Inchi seed, our “not-so-secret” ingredient in all Brass Roots products,has a low lectin content!. Choosing to eat the Sacha Inchi seed in place of legumes such as peanuts is perfect for those who are looking to avoid high lectin foods but wish to maintain balanced and nutritious eating habits. 


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