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Why You Should Cut Toxic Lectins from Your Diet

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Why You Should Cut Toxic Lectins from Your Diet

Why You Should Cut Toxic Lectins from Your Diet 

Plants are a miraculous thing. Not only do they supply much of our food but they’re also a living, breathing entity that ensure that we always have enough oxygen to survive. 

Plants can’t move or fight back to protect themselves like most living things, yet mother nature is far too smart to let that be an issue. And so many plants have a unique defense mechanism against predators that seek to harm them – a protein called lectin. 

Dr. Steven Gundry of Gundry MD has studied this phenomenon for some years and created an entire dietary system around these principles. As one of the world’s leading experts on heart surgery, who’s had great success treating chronically sick and overweight patients for years, Dr. Gundry believes that the secret to weight-loss and optimal health is in understanding how plants operate. His book, and diet, The Plant Paradox digs deeply into how some plants can actually harm our health. 

Today, many people blame their digestive issues on lactose or gluten intolerance without ever having been tested. But, more likely than not, it’s actually lectins that are making them ill. 

What are lectins? 

Lectins are plant proteins that occur in some edible plants and they act as a toxin to anything that might try to eat the plant. For humans that can appear as nausea, diarrhea, and other digestive stress. 

Gluten is a prime example of a lectin and it can create great digestive havoc in some people. Gluten is primarily in the grain family which is why it mostly affects people through the consumption of breads and cereals. 

But there are other types of lectins that lurk in some pretty common foods. If you’ve been suffering from ongoing digestive issues, one or more of those foods could actually be behind it. 
 lectins

Why eating plants in-season is so important 

But plants also need to ensure that they can spread their seed for the survival of their species. When it’s the correct season they bloom in beautiful colors and smells that entice us (and other animals) to eat them. The idea is that once we digest them, we will spread their seed back into the ground. But, here’s the catch. If we eat their fruits in season they actually have fewer lectins because they need our help. But if we eat them out of season, we mess up the life cycle and … the plants punish us for it with lectin-overload! (which sounds a little like something out of a horror film!) 

The symptoms of lectin-sensitivity 

Lectins are like little barnacles that cling to our cells and prevent efficient communication between our cells and our immune systems. They then tear little holes between the cells that line our intestines which leads to Leaky Gut Syndrome. Leaky gut is behind many digestive complaints and even some autoimmune issues. When we consume too many lectins we can experience everything from heartburn, fatigue, and inflammation, to a wide variety of digestive problems.  

As humans, we’re taught which plants are safe to eat from an early age but unfortunately “safe” is a broad term. Just because lectins don’t kill us on the spot doesn’t mean that they aren’t causing us damage. 

Limit these lectin-rich foods in your diet 

  • Beans and legumes – beans, peas, lentils, cashews and peanuts 
  • Grains – Limit/eliminate grains from your diet. Alternatives include: coconut, almond and other lectin-free flours. 
  • Squash family – squash, pumpkins, zucchini. The seeds and peels of these foods are particularly rich in lectins. If you must eat them, get rid of the seeds.  
  • Nightshades – eggplant, peppers, potatoes, and tomatoes.  
  • Unseasonal fruits – Limit to in-season fruits but eat even those in small quantities as they are fruits are loaded with sugar (even though it is natural). 

Completely remove these lectin-rich foods  

  • Corn and corn-fed meats – Avoid ‘free-range’ meats which means that the cattle are being fed corn. Say yes to pasture-raised meats. 
  • Casein A1 Milk – Most store-bought milk contains casein A1 milk and it’s a big cause of digestive upset, even though most people will say they are “lactose intolerant”. Only cows in Southern Europe are still able to make milk without this protein (they contain casein A2) so seek out Southern European cow, goat or buffalo milk at your local health food store. However, still consume in moderation. 
     

If you’re worried about cutting down on these foods, don’t forget that there are many other amazing plants that offer wonderful health benefits without hurting our immune systems. For example, start adding more tubers (like sweet potato), leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables, avocados and extra virgin olive oil to your diet instead. Your body will thank you for it! 

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