Danger of Lectins in Beans and Legumes

Beans and legumes are high in minerals and fiber without the saturated fat that is found in animal proteins. Eating beans and legumes as part of a heart healthy diet and lifestyle can help improve your blood cholesterol, and reduce the likelihood of heart disease.

However, beans and legumes have some of the highest concentration of lectins which can cause a variety of health problems, from digestive distress and skin irritations to brain fog, chronic fatigue and inflammation.

In his recent book “The Plant Paradox,” Dr. Steven Gundry refers to lectins as “edible enemies,” partly because they help plants defend themselves from insects and other animals, but also because lectins bind to carbohydrates (especially sugars) in the body, “which means they can interrupt messaging between cells or otherwise cause toxic or inflammatory reactions.”

Lectins can be a common and hidden source of health problems and weight gain, even if you eat an otherwise healthy diet. According to Healthline, “The ‘stickiness’ of lectins makes them prone to attaching to your intestinal wall. This is the main reason why excessive lectin intake causes digestive distress.”

High levels of lectins are found in beans, grains and legumes, as well as dairy and vegetables within the nightshade family. Many other foods contain lectins, at lower and less potentially toxic amounts, Because they resist digestion, lectins have a detrimental effect on your gut microbiome by shifting the balance of your bacterial flora.

Dr. Steven Gundry suggests some plant lectins can contribute to leaky gut by binding to receptor sites on your intestinal mucosal cells, thereby interfering with the absorption of nutrients across your intestinal wall.

Grains and legumes such as black beans, kidney beans, lentils, lima beans and soybeans contain the highest amounts of lectins. They can contribute to health issues such as arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, irritable bowel syndrome, obesity and thyroid dysfunction especially Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.

Pressure Cooking Destroys Lectins in Beans and Legumes

The best way to neutralize lectins when cooking is by using a pressure cooker. Gundry says, “If you’re cooking with beans, tomatoes, potatoes and quinoa, the pressure cooker is your best bet.” Avoid slow cookers since the low cooking temperatures are insufficient to remove some lectins.

Pressure cooking seems to be particularly effective at inactivating lectins. One study found that cooking beans for only 7.5 minutes in a pressure cooker was enough to inactivate their lectin activity. 

The recommended pressure cooker is the Instant Pot. Click on the image below to get more info and ordering instructions.

Pressure Cooking with Instant Pot

Questions? Contact Amin Shah


Email: aminshah@shahclan.net