In my last post, I wrote about where lectins are found and what damage they sometimes can do to our bodies. In this blog I share some thoughts on how to handle them without necessarily having to redline half of what’s in the grocery store.
Here are 3 tips to lighten your lectin load:
Try the Be Well Cleanse Diet.
It takes out most of the problematic foods that are high in lectins, namely grains, beans, dairy, soy, peanuts, nightshades as well as GMOs, artificial sweeteners and preservatives which worsen leaky gut symptoms and exacerbate the effects of lectins. Or, simply choose not to eat a lot of foods with lectins, or cut way back on them – quantity makes a difference.
Handle with care.
If lectins are giving you trouble, here are a few classic techniques to help neutralize many of their deleterious effects:
- Cooking –heat helps breaks down lectins to a certain extent. Pressure cooking beans is particularly helpful.
- Soaking – it’s the classic lectin-taming way to prep beans and grains. Try soaking beans overnight and change the water often. Drain the water before cooking and add fresh water.
- Deactivating – adding kombu or baking soda to the soaking water will tamp down the lectin effect.
- Sprouting – helps deactivate some of the lectins as well. Generally, the longer the duration of sprouting, the more deactivation.
- Fermenting – it allows beneficial bacteria to digest and alter many of the harmful substances.
- Ripening – pick your fruits and veggies that have been picked when they are ready and ripe. When they are picked unripe, they’ll be higher in lectins.
- Refining – we have all bought into the health aspects of whole grains, but refined grains have fewer lectins than whole grains and are easier to digest. This is because most of the lectins are in the husk or hull, the outer hard layer. This maybe the reason why most cultures eat refined grains – in Italy, you get white pasta, in France, white bread, and in Asia, white rice. (To be clear: I am not recommending these, as they will spike your blood sugar levels.)
Get your gut in order.
A healthy, balanced gut will also help downshift the effects of lectins. Here are a few simple ways to get your gut in order:
- Eat a diet rich in prebiotics and fermented foods.
- An imbalanced microbiome will exacerbate the negative effects of lectins, so rebalance your belly bacteria with supportive supplements like probiotics and anti-microbials
- Help heal your leaky gut with restorative bone broth; a daily dose of L-Glutamine powder (take 5-10 gms/day); and a daily 2-4 gms of a high-quality fish oil supplement
- Ditch gut-weakening, microbiome-imbalancing meds like NSAIDs, PPIs and broad-spectrum antibiotics.
For more information, check out 10 Ways to Heal a Leaky Gut.