We decided to write this article after a lengthy conversation with our dietitian, who has been doing a lot of research into the levels of lectins her clients are exposed to.
There’s increasing evidence that lectins contribute to several health issues, including immune responses and even weight gain (more on these below).
And it’s this evidence that we think everyone should be aware of to help you avoid the harmful effects of lectins.
But before you just buy a supplement that promises to solve every problem, let us show you some natural lectin blockers we've been experimenting with.
How Do You Neutralize Lectins Naturally?
You neutralize lectins naturally by eating natural lectin blockers such as okra, bladderwrack, cranberries, crustaceans, kiwi, and pig's feet.
Okra is a rich source of raw polysaccharide, which is a type of carbohydrate that studies have shown to help with neutralizing lectins .
Scientists believe that these types of carbs bind directly to lectins to stop them in their tracks, making okra one of the best lectin blocker options.
Okra is also packed with antioxidants, which makes many dietitians list it as a preferred source of greens.
Most grocery stores will stock fresh okra, and they are very easy to add to your meal plan. I personally prefer adding them to a stir fry dinner or roasting okra in the oven.
We’ve also heard of people making a pickle with okra.
It sounds like a crazy name, but it’s just a humble type of seaweed.
Some research suggests that it may work well as a lectin blocker, and it’s surprisingly easy to get your hands on it .
Both the Atlantic and Pacific coastal areas of the U.S. have plenty of it along the shoreline.
Now, I know what you’re thinking.
There’s no way you’re going to start cooking with some smelly seaweed.
And I’ll be the first to spare you the experience as it’s not exactly a flavor that will have you coming back for more.
Instead, head to a health food store and get a powdered bladderwrack supplement.
It’ll work just as well for lectin blocking.
Now we get to a tasty lectin blocker, and it’s also one that is a lot easier to get into your meals than seaweed.
Cranberries are known to contain a good amount of D-mannose, which is an important sugary carbohydrate for the human metabolism.
Studies have shown that mannose may bind to lectin in your system and reduce its negative impact .
One word of caution. You might think that a supermarket cranberry juice is your best option.
But in most cases, those juices are too highly processed and full of added sugar and other crap.
Buy them fresh and add them to your breakfast or a fruit salad.
Crabs, lobsters, and prawns are all your friends for a healthy diet. But the shells of these could also prove to be a good way to act as a lectin blocker.
And here’s why.
The shells are full of glucosamine, and several studies have shown that this may be a good way to enhance lectin blocking abilities in your body .
But how are you going to eat those shells?
There are two options.
One is to keep shells and boil them off into a broth or stock that you can use for other meals.
Alternatively, you could grind up the shells into a powder and add them to a sauce. It’s simple and adds a bit more flavor as well.
5. Kiwi Fruit
Most people are aware that kiwis work wonders for your digestion. But not many people fully understand why that is.
Kiwi’s work to promote your bowel's ability to produce more mucin, which creates an important barrier in the lining of your stomach and bowels.
Scientists also believe that it may play an important role to act as a lectin blocker by stopping the lectins from being absorbed into your system.
There’s plenty of other benefits from a nutrition perspective, including a good dose of vitamins and antioxidants as well.
So, try to plan your breakfast to include some fresh fruit and add a kiwi a day.
6. Pigs Feet
Yes, this is an obscure one, and I very much doubt any of you will be rushing to a local butcher to buy some pigs’ feet.
Similar to shellfish, pigs' feet contain a lot of glucosamine in the cartilage and connective tissue.
My granny still talks of the old days when hardly any part of a pig was wasted. Most of what humans don’t buy anymore used to go into a stew or to create a broth.
As a result, they benefited a lot more from this lectin blocker and possibly didn’t suffer as many problems that lectins bring.
It’s pretty easy to introduce most of these foods into your diet, and they should work well enough to avoid problems.
But you could always take another step further to avoid lectins in the first place.
Reducing Lectins In Your Diet
As the saying goes: prevention is better than a cure.
While I certainly believe that the above lectin blocking ingredients may help you avoid some health issues, I think you should also be aware of ways to avoid lectins by being careful with your diet plans.
Other people will just point towards lectin blocker supplements, but avoidance and natural options might save you a bit of money.
Here are a few things you should consider limiting.
Highly Processed Grains
- White rice
- Potato chips
- Cakes and pastries
- Non-whole grain bread
- Cottage cheese
- Ice cream
- Green beans
- Bell peppers
Seeds and Nuts
- Sunflower seeds
- Chia seeds
Two things I have to say about this list.
First of all, it’s a list of the most common things that people tend to eat a lot of. But it’s not an extensive list of everything high in lectins.
Secondly, you can still plan these into your meals as long as you prepare them well. That means properly cooking them, ideally in a slow or pressure cooker.
The more they are cooked, the more the lectins break down before you eat them.
The Science Behind Lectins
I have to admit that I’m always cautious when I see sudden marketing campaigns highlighting all the evils of certain things and solving it all with products like a lectin blocker supplement.
And while some of that marketing is off the mark a bit, there is some science behind it.
Why Is It Important To Stay On Top Of Lectins?
It's important to stay on top of lectins because they are anti-nutrients that don't provide value. They can also inhibit the processing of other nutrients and food compounds.
According to the Harvard School of Public Health, the problem comes from lectins binding to carbohydrates .
Because they are resistant to the human digestive process, they then tend to linger and build up, which can cause some uncomfortable side effects.
Depending on how sensitive your stomach is, this could require the help of a lectin blocker.
So, what problems could you encounter?
Are Lectins Harmful For Athletes?
Lectins aren't necessarily harmful for athletes. In fact, I've worked with a few people now who swear that lectin blockers have helped with their weight loss and weight management.
All of these clients had reached a plateau that was way short of weight loss and cutting goals, and in some cases, they started to gain weight without increasing calorie intake.
They overcame that hurdle when they made minor changes to their meal plans and included a few lectin blocker ingredients.
What Should You Look Out For?
You should look out for adverse digestive reactions and weight loss difficulty caused by lectins.
In addition to weight issues, you might encounter a few other health problems that tend to vary a lot.
Some people seem more sensitive to lectins, both to their stomachs and immune system.
If you find that certain meals cause bloating and gas, or even cramping, and you’re also experiencing difficulty with weight loss, then a lectin blocker might be what you need to consider.
Is Oatmeal High in Lectins?
Raw oatmeal is high in lectins, but unlike wheat lectins, cooking oatmeal properly will break down the lectins.
That does tend to happen when using it as a breakfast cereal or for bread.
Do Bananas Have Lectins?
Yes, bananas have lectins, and the concentration tends to increase as they ripen.
One way to deal with this is to avoid overly ripe bananas, especially if you find that they cause gas or bloating.
Does Coffee Contain Lectins?
Yes, coffee contains lectins because it’s made from a seed. However, all the information we found tends to highlight that the concentration of lectins in coffee is relatively low.
Are Eggs High in Lectin?
Yes, eggs are relatively high in lectin. But unless you tend to eat raw eggs, the cooking process should break down enough of the lectins to not make them too much of a problem.
Are Carrots High in Lectin?
No, carrots are not high in lectins. Even when you eat them raw, the level should be low enough not to cause stomach issues.
Are Natural Lectin Blockers Effective?
Whether you’re a dedicated follower of the Plant Paradox Diet or you just want to make some small changes, the above natural lectin blocking foods should work well for everyone.
Our team has been experimenting with these for a while now, and clients have provided positive feedback as well.
Simply take a look at your daily food intake, and then make some minor adjustments. And don't forget to report back to us how it worked out.
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