Lectins​

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Lectins are toxic proteins that bind with sugars, thus considered anti-nutrients. 

Lectins are produced by plants as a defensive mechanism against insects, moulds, and fungi.

We do not have enzymes to digest lectins; therefore, they easily enter blood circulation and can cause health issues in some people.

Lectins affect our health by disrupting the digestion, by damaging the delicate lining of intestine, by causing auto-immune disorders, by causing leaky gut. Lectins trigger the inflammation and activate immune response, thus can cause allergic issues, gut dysbiosis,
rheumatoid arthritis and hypersensitivity in some people [1] . Foods high in lectins are nightshade family vegetables (potatoes, tomatoes, eggplants, peppers), legumes, beans, peanuts, corn, grains, produce from grain fed animals.

Among heat processing such as soaking, boiling, cooking, sprouting, fermenting, autoclaving or extrusion cooking, autoclaving (based on high temperature and under pressure which is equivalent to pressure cooker in domestic kitchens) are some methods to remove lectins. 

Autoclaving/pressure cooking is found to be the most effective in removing lectins and other anti-nutrients [2] .

Soaking and pressure cooking makes beans softer and other nutrients become more bioavailable which means body can absorb the nutrients properly and can make use of them efficiently [3] . Fermentation is another way to effectively remove toxins and anti-nutrients from foods [4,5] .

Seeds in bell peppers, tomatoes and eggplants can be removed if one is allergic to those foods.

References:

  1. Vojdani A (2015) Lectins, agglutinins, and their roles in autoimmune reactivities. ALTERNATIVE THERAPIES 2: 142.
  2. Revilla I (2015) Chapter 40 – Impact of Thermal Processing on Faba Bean (Vicia faba) Composition. In: Preedy V, editor. Processing and Impact on Active Components in Food. San Diego: Academic Press. pp. 337-343.
  3. Preet K, Punia D (2000) Antinutrients and Digestibility (in vitro) of Soaked, Dehulled and Germinated Cowpeas. Nutrition and Health 14: 109-117.
  4. LAL N, BARCCHIYA, J., RAYPURIYA, N., & SHIURKAR, G. (2017) ANTI-NUTRITION IN LEGUMES: EFFECT IN HUMAN HEALTH AND ITS ELIMINATION. Innovative Farming 2: 32-36.
  5. Thompson HJ (2019) Improving human dietary choices through understanding of the tolerance and toxicity of pulse crop constituents. Current Opinion in Food Science