These days, most people are aware of gluten and that it can be bad for your health. Of course, not everyone is “gluten intolerant”, but many people are.
What’s interesting is that lots of people who go on a “gluten-free” diet do, see, and feel an improvement in their health – but it’s minor.
Gluten IS A Lectin?!!
And the reason for this is that gluten is a mild form of a Lectin. And thus, the REAL problem is Lectins and that’s what today’s topic is going to be about.
So getting rid of gluten from your diet for better health is a nice start, but your REAL goal should be to reduce or eliminate lectins from your diet.
And just like gluten, not everyone has “lectin intolerance”, however… many people do. And if you have any form of digestive problems, inflammation, autoimmune disease, or you’re trying to lose weight, then make sure you read today’s article because I’ll quickly discuss:
- What Lectins are
- Why they’re bad for you
- How to avoid them
- And what you can and should eat for better health, fitness, and longevity
I’ll keep it short and simplify it all for you.
My Personal History With Lectins
Now, I’ve known about Lectins for over 25+ years.
And the reason I’ve been so knowledgeable about it is mainly through indirect reasons — primarily because of my involvement with professional and Olympic athletes.
Over the decades, I discovered that when people ate certain Lectin-rich foods – they looked and felt worse. Slowly they lost muscle, gained fat, felt tired, had more aches and pains, and even their brain and cognition suffered as well.
Except, 25+ years ago, I and most experts, didn’t know the specific reason was due to Lectins back then. We just knew to avoid specific foods that made us look and feel older! And these just happened to be foods high in Lectins.
What Are Lectins
A lectin is a type of protein (susceptible to various diseases, bacteria, and viruses) that forces carbs (sugars, starches, and fibers) to clump together and attach to certain cells in your body when you eat them.
They’re found in lots of different foods, seeds, grains, and the skin of certain vegetables and fruits.
It’s actually a “defense” mechanism of the plant or vegetable. If you eat it, you’ll get sick and you won’t eat that food again.
That’s the simple overview.
Also, not all lectins are toxic. And not all people are lectin “intolerant” as I stated already.
Why Lectins Are Bad For You
On the surface, lectins can cause pain and physical discomfort such as:
- Leaky Gut
- And other digestive problems
However, things can get worse.
Lectins, which are also sometimes called “sticky proteins”, get in the way of communication between cells. When that happens, the body’s response is usually inflammation or some other type of reaction to toxicity, like nausea, diarrhea, or vomiting.1
Also, a break in cellular communication can result in symptoms like fatigue or forgetfulness.
Additionally, lectins can cause you to gain weight. This is the frustrating part for most people because the foods we think are “healthy” for us, also happen to be high in lectins and if you are intolerant, then you’ll have all of the side-effects, INCLUDING WEIGHT GAIN!
Foods High In Lectins
So here are some of the typical foods that are high in lectins:2-4
- Grains — wheat, quinoa, wheat germ, rice, oats
- Nightshades — tomatoes, eggplant, potatoes, goji berries, peppers (unless you peel the skins and deseed them)
- Beans — lima, red kidney, split peas, lentils (unless you pressure cook them)
- Various Seeds
Of course, now you’re probably thinking that you can’t eat anything.
This only really pertains to you if you happen to have a high intolerance to lectins. If you don’t do well with Gluten, you for sure won’t do well with Lectins.
If you want to have grains, white rice is best. And you can have beans, just cook them in a pressure cooker.
Foods With No Lectins
Of course, there are lots of foods you can eat, such as:
- Pasture-raised, grass-fed meats and eggs
- Wild-caught, low mercury seafood (Salmon, anchovies, haddock, sardines, and trout)
- Fermented veggies, like kimchi and sauerkraut
- Fruits (especially berries)
- Dark, leafy vegetables (celery, kale, spinach, romaine lettuce)
- Pressure-cooked legumes
- Good fats (olive oil, avocados, coconut, flaxseed, macadamia)
Your goal should be to try and avoid the Lectin foods and eat the non-lectin foods, “most” of the time. I’m not here to tell you to NEVER eat this or that you “always” have to eat that food.
If you want to go have some food that’s high in lectins, then go ahead. ENJOY the meal. Treat yourself.
If you don’t feel good afterward or have some digestive problems, just know that for next time and then get back to eating healthier foods.
What’s REALLY Important To Understand
Now, there’s one thing to all of this and that comes down to your genetics and hormones.
You can’t change your genetics, but you CAN control your hormones with your lifestyle and your thoughts.
Many people who are trying to lose weight and can’t, blame it on their genetics. Yes, genetics does play a big role in everything.
However, the foods you eat or don’t eat can turn on or off the thousands of genetic “triggers” you have in your body.
For example, IF you happen to be lectin intolerant and you eat foods that you think are “healthy” for you on a regular basis … but they are high in lectins, then they will trigger your “fat gaining” genetics to turn on.
What you want to do is the opposite and to turn on your fat BURNING hormones and one simple way is to be mindful of today’s information.
However, if you want more details on how to turn on your fat burning genes and hormones, while also speeding up your metabolism like when you were younger, then read this article: How to Turn ON Your Fat Burning Genes.
You’ll also discover why 93% of diet and exercise programs fail and how it’s probably NOT your fault!