In the past few years, lectins have gotten immense attention because nutritionists suggest eating a lectin-free diet.
But what are scientific claims regarding lectins and why lectin-free diet is important?
In this post, you’ll learn about lectin-free nuts and their importance in our diet.
Before diving deep into the topic, let’s first discuss what you need to know about lectins.
What are Lectins?
Lectins are the proteins that bind to carbohydrates in the human body. There are different kinds of lectins that serve various functions. They mediate cellular interactions in your body.
Plants use lectins as their defense mechanism, protecting them from various kinds of bacteria and fungi.
Besides plants, lectins are present in animals and microorganisms.
Some centenarians (including those living in Italy and Greece) use lectins as a staple food.
Lectins are present in almost 30% of foods that we consume usually. These foods include:
Why is it important to have a lectin-free diet plan?
There has been controversy as to whether lectins should be included in the healthy diet or not.
Researchers have found that a lectin-free meal plan can boost health and benefit people having some health concerns.
Studies have also shown that eating a plant-rich diet, including lectins are important for a healthy mind and body.
However, if you’re already suffering from a medical condition like inflammatory bowel disease, bacterial infection, or auto-immune disease, consuming lectins can be problematic.
It is ideal to consume a lectin-free diet in those conditions.
Reports show that intake of dietary lectins modulates the immune cells in such a way that it worsens diseased conditions in Rheumatoid arthritis patients.
It has also been found recently that people suffering from lectin sensitivity, obesity, insulin resistance, and gastrointestinal disorders should go for a lectin-free diet.
Moreover, studies have supported the fact that a lectin-free diet helps in the improvement of autoimmune diseases. Conversely, a lectin-rich diet progresses autoimmune disorders.
Furthermore, eating raw lectins can lead to gastrointestinal distress in your body. Adverse effects of lectins can be avoided by inactivating them.
There are certain ways by which lectins are inactivated. These include:
- Soaking in water
- Dehulling (removing the outer hull)
Some nuts like peanuts and almonds have high lectin content. They are included in the high-lectin foods chart. Several nutritionists including America’s renowned Dr. Gundry recommend avoiding them.
Lectin-free nuts are an easily available dietary component of a lectin-free diet. Scientists have found that lectin-free nuts are a source of enhancing your general body health.
Studies on epidemiology have found that the consumption of nuts benefits your cardiac health. It also lowers hypertension, gallstones, inflammation, and cancer.
Moreover, it helps in managing and preventing oxidative stress.
Let’s look into some lectin-free nuts!
Types of Lectin-free nuts
Various nuts are included in the lectin-free diet plan. Here we will discuss their qualities.
Additionally, pecans provide iron, protein, dietary fiber, zinc, magnesium, and some other minerals beneficial for health.
They have been reported to alleviate levels of blood sugar, blood pressure, blood lipids. It also manages body weight.
Pecan nuts are experimentally proven to impart positive health effects in intestinal, cardiac, and prostatic health.
2. Flax seeds
Flax seeds are lectin-free and have gained importance as functional foods. Functional foods are beneficial and healthy.
Flaxseed is also called linseed. They are obtained from the flax plant.
They provide soluble fiber, lignin, alpha-linolenic acid, omega-3, and omega-6.
Intake of flax seeds in optimal amounts is beneficial for reducing cardiac disorders, cancer, and obesity. It also aids in certain inflammatory conditions like ulcers, lupus, and headaches.
3. Sesame seeds
Another nutritionally rich lectin-free nuts are sesame seeds. They contain nutritionally important bioactive compounds.
Sesame seeds are a rich source of lignins, phytosterols, and poly-unsaturated fatty acids. They have got extensive pharmacological and medicinal properties.
Sesame seeds are reported to provide beneficial health effects in lowering blood pressure, reducing the antioxidants, and inhibiting the growth of tumor cells.
According to a study, it inhibits the growth of colon cancer cells. Furthermore, it offers protective effects in breast cancer. Sesame seeds may induce allergic reactions and asthma.
Pistachio nuts are also included in lectin-free diet plan.
Among all the nuts, pistachios are considered to have a low amount of fat and energy. They contain phenols, proteins, carotenoids, and minerals that enhance human health.
Due to the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant characteristics of pistachio nuts, they have potential health benefits. They also aid in controlling sugar levels and body weight.
5. Pine nuts
Pine nuts are anti-inflammatory and enhance the function of white blood cells, which strengthens the body’s immune system. A strong immune system helps the body fight infections effectively.
Although further research is required, the data until now supports the beneficial health effects of pine nuts.
6. Hemp seeds
Another type of lectin-free nuts is hemp seeds, which have been legally approved to be cultivated and consumed in the United States.
Studies on animal and human models have found that hemp seeds improve cardiovascular health.
7. Brazil nuts
Reports show that intake of Brazil nuts may lower cellular levels in cancer and cardiovascular diseases. They have antioxidant and anti-proliferative activity.
Among plant-based sources, Brazil nuts are the best source of Selenium.
Diet rich in lectins can cause severe health issues. However, they are not consumed in large quantities.
Furthermore, they are properly cooked before consumption so the amount of consumed lectin is far too little to affect our bodies.
People who are already suffering from a diseased condition should avoid lectin-rich food and take a lectin-free diet.
Lectin-free nuts are easily accessible and provide enormous benefits to human health, thereby strengthening it.
Hence, it is important to add lectin-free nuts to your healthy diet.