Do we need to avoid lectin in our diets? Dr. Steven Gundry thinks so. He has made a case for this in his book The Plant Paradox where he argues that it’s not gluten but lectin that we need to avoid. It can be hard to keep up as more and more foods come under the spotlight and are found to cause problems.
What are lectins
Lectins are plant proteins found in grains, legumes, and plants. Beans, seeds, grains, nuts, tomatoes, peppers and eggplant all contain lectins. They are supposed to cause a similar response to the one some people find when eating gluten but the physiological process is a bit different.
The health benefits
Many health benefits are to be found in foods that contain lectin. They are full of fiber and antioxidants and should definitely not be eliminated from your diet unless absolutely necessary.
If you feel symptoms such as bloating, brain fog, lethargy, skin irritations and digestive problems, you may need to see a registered dietician to find the root of the problems. It is possible that you could be having an immune response to lectin. This can take its toll on the body if you consistently eat lectin-filled foods every day.
Sensitivity to lectin
Food sensitivities are usually tested by trying an elimination diet and then gradually reintroducing foods. If you do discover that you have a sensitivity to lectin, you can prepare foods in a pressure cooker as this decreases their level.
Foods that are lower in lectin can be eaten, including dark leafy greens, fennel, broccoli, avocado, millet, taro root, yucca and sweet potatoes.