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Foods Rich in Lectins and How to Reduce Their Impact



In last week’s blog, you heard quite a bit about the adverse health effects of lectins. But do you have to avoid lectins in your diet?

It depends.

If you have an autoimmune disease, it's worth trying. Some other reasons to reduce or avoid lectins are:

  • gastrointestinal discomfort after eating lectin-rich foods (abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhea, bloating);

  • an intestinal disease (e.g., Crohn's disease or celiac disease);

  • inflammation;

  • joint pain;

  • skin rashes;

  • unexplained stagnation when trying to lose weight.

Let's look at foods with high lectin content and proper cooking techniques. When prepared correctly, lectin content can be significantly reduced!


The best preparation methods for lectin-rich foods:


Peeling and deseeding

Lectins in fruits such as tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, hot peppers, chilies, or eggplants are mainly found in the peel and seeds. Remove these whenever possible. Also, the lectin content is highest when the fruits are not yet ripe. By the way, this is another good reason to try eating seasonally.


For lectins in grains, legumes, and seeds (e.g., wheat, kidney beans, lentils, soybeans, and peanuts):


Heat: boiling, stewing, roasting

High heat can deactivate lectins for the most part. If possible, use a pressure cooker for beans and the like, as this will achieve higher temperatures. Slow cooking/low-temperature cooking is not recommended for lectin-rich foods, as the temperatures in the slow cooker are not high enough to destroy the lectins.


Soaking in water

Lectins are water-soluble and usually found on a food's outer surface. Soaking in water for several hours can flush out most lectins. It is very important to remove this water and rinse the lectin-rich foods well. So let's remember the preparation methods of our grandparents - they may not have known precisely what was happening biochemically in the process. Still, their experience was spot on in minimizing digestive discomfort from lectins. Exception: Chia and flax seeds form a gel when you soak them. The lectins don't rinse off well that way.


Sprouting

Let seeds, grains, or legumes sprout to reduce their lectin content. Lectins are mainly found in the seed coat. When you add water, the seeds germinate, and the hull breaks down - along with the lectins. Generally, the longer the germination time, the more lectins are inactivated.


Fermenting

In most cultures, fermented foods are part of the traditional diet. In Japan, for example, fermented soy products such as miso, tempeh, and natto are found; in Europe, there are sauerkraut and kvass; in India, there are dosas made from fermented lentil and rice dough or lassis with fermented milk. Sourdough bread, beer, yogurt, and chocolate are also fermented foods. During fermentation, beneficial bacteria break down many compounds that are difficult to digest, including lectins.


And last but not least, keep in mind: People are sensitive to lectins to very different degrees. And above all, you should act according to what is good for you!


Food Table from my book: FOOD FOR HEALTH


Download the food table as a free high-quality print PDF here: https://www.metabolismandhealth.com/product-page/lectin-rich-foods


 

Find more nutrition facts and tips in my book FOOD FOR HEALTH, available now in the shop and on all Amazon Marketplaces!





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