I’ve always felt a little overstuffed after eating chili or split pea soup. What about you? Some people have terrible bloating, gas, and even worse, vomiting and diarrhea! Have you ever made the lectin connection?
Animals have claws and teeth to protect themselves from predators. Plants… not so much. Instead, they have lectins to repel pests. Seeds are able to remain whole in animal and human bodies because of lectins. Humans can not digest lectins, so the seeds typically pass right through our systems.
However, if you already have some issue in your gut (do you know anyone who doesn’t?), lectins can move through your system, causing a host of inflammatory issues. Our bodies will produce antibodies to lectins that pass into our bloodstream, and then we produce an inflammatory response.
Lectins are proteins that keep two carbohydrate molecules together. Soooo…. Lectins are in many carbs, like beans, grains, and some veggies. Sometimes, they affect people poorly! Who? People with auto immune issues. People who have celiac or Chron’s, or other digestive issues. People who are sensitive to gluten.
What are lectins in:
• Most grains
• Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Peppers
The good news is that most foods can be (and are) prepared in a way to reduce the lectin content to a level that is manageable by many people. And if your foods have seeds, your best bet is to take the seeds out and peel them before use. Have you ever noticed that if the beans you eat aren’t cooked enough, your belly bloats? That’s improper handling of the lectins, or a lectin sensitivity. So, cook at least 30 minutes to banish the bloat!
If this doesn’t fix the issues, try an elimination diet and reduce the lectin rich foods in your diet. See how you feel!
If you're looking for a list of symptoms and which one of the many chemical constituents it might be, click this box.