How Lectin Proteins Can Wreak Havoc on Your Diet 

Lectins are a form of protein, which binds to sugar to form glycoproteins. They are found in abundant portions in grains, legumes and certain dairy products. Lectin has evolved as a defense mechanism in plants deterring animals from consuming the plants. Lectins form a defensive mechanism for plants against predators such as pests, insects and microorganism. Once the plant is ingested, the lectin triggers a reaction, which makes the predator to believe that the food is harmful.  

They are commonly referred to as anti-nutrients due to their potent ability in reducing the body’s ability in absorbing nutrients. Lectins are indigestible and passes through the digestive tract without being absorbed. Unfortunately, their ability to bind to the cell membranes of the digestive tract renders them dangerous. Heavy consumption of lectins leads to the following symptoms.  

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea Hormones alteration
  • Luminal membranes damage
  • Brain fog and fatigue
  • Disruption of carbohydrates, protein and lipid metabolism

It is imperative to take extra precaution if you are suffering from the following conditions since lectin consumption can cause them to worsen.  

  • Allergies  
  • Ulcerative colitis  
  • Celiac  
  • Asthma  
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)  
  • Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)  

High concentration of lectins is found in common healthy foods, which include:

  • Grains  
  • Legumes  
  • Grains  
  • Fruits and vegetables such as peppers, tomatoes, nightshade, berries and eggplants  

Given that our meals are plant-based, it is necessary to have adequate knowledge of the foods so that we can make well informed meal choices.  

Beneficial effects of lectins  

Though lectins lead to negative reactions in our bodies, they have a myriad of health benefits. Certain types of lectins help decrease the incidence of particular diseases such as lung and heart conditions. In addition, they help in programmed cell death, cell-to-cell adhesion, and inflammatory modulation.  

Ways of neutralizing or reducing lectins  

Unrefined legumes and grains are more nutritious when compared with the refined versions. Since these foods are heavily laden with lectins, overtime people have come up with ingenious ways to reap maximum benefits from the foods while reducing their adverse effects. A lectin- free diet tends to be very restrictive plan and difficult to follow for a long-term. This plan also cuts one of health and nutrition benefits of foods like beans, whole grains and certain vegetables.  

First, adherence to a lectin free diet is an easy way of avoiding lectins. There are wholesome diets, which are nutritious, and lectin free such as:  

lectin

  • Pasture raised meats  
  • Wild caught seafood  
  • Cruciferous vegetables  
  • Olives  
  • In season fruits  
  • Avocados  
  • Egg from un-caged chickens  
  • Leafy greens  

Since it is completely impossible to eliminate lectins in our meals, people have devised various means of reducing our lectin intake. Such as methods, include: 

Sprouting  

lectin
Plant sprouting

Sprouting beans, grains and seeds helps decrease their lectin content. In general, the longer the sprouting duration, the more lectins get deactivated. Lectins are found in high concentrations in the seed coats, when they germinate, the coat gets metabolized eliminating the lectins in the process.  

Fermentation  

Many people may not know the reason behind fermenting foods such as miso, tofu, tempoyak, natto and kimchi. It is surprising to note that, besides making the food tasty, fermentation boosts the digestive process. Fermentation allows the beneficial bacteria to digest and eliminate harmful substances in our meals. It also reduces the number of anti-nutrients in the meals. Though this process does not destroy the lectins completely, it helps reduce the stubborn lectins reducing their negative effects significantly.  

Soaking  

Soaking grains and beans before cooking them significantly reduces lectins level. Overnight soaking reduces the toxins hence reducing their ability and potency to cause undesirable effects in our bodies. After soaking, rinse the grains properly and cook them for the required time.  

Cooking Foods rich in lectin levels can be made safe for consumption by properly cooking them. Lectins are almost eliminated through cooking and proper processing. As a rule, stick to eating properly cooked meals unless it is safe when eaten raw. It’s advisable to avoid fads that advocate for consumption of raw diet since proper cooking helps reduce the levels of lectins in many foods  

Conclusion  

While lectins have caused considerable health damage, there is evidence that lectin rich foods are beneficial to our overall health and we can’t avoid them completely. It is advisable to consult your doctor in the event you notice adverse effects, especially while on a new diet. Ensure you make informed decision to enhance your health by reducing your lectin intake. 

Using Probiotics Supplement to Fight Bloating After the Holidays 

It always feels good to spend quality time with your loved ones during the holiday season. However, after the holidays, it’s common to find many people complaining about stomach upsets. Some of the foods that you eat during the holiday season contain chemicals that promote digestive problems like excessive gas and bloating. While some people choose to let their problems run its course, others have already realized how probiotics can aid in their issues. Read on to learn how to deal with bloating. 

What’s the Solution? 

Having an ideal plan before the holidays can help you reduce or avoid experiencing excessive gas in your system. It’s wise to avoid foods that are known to cause bloating and gas, for example: 

  • Whole grains
  • Peas, lentils, and beans
  • Sodas
  • Carbonated drinks
  • Fiber supplements containing Metamucil
  • Vegetables like cauliflower, cabbage, and broccoli

Also, you should try to mix foods that promote stomach upset with the ones that are useful in getting rid of excessive gas and bloating. For example, cinnamon, and home-made concoctions of baking soda and lemon juice can help. When you wake up before you take anything you are advised to add this concoction or cinnamon to a glass of water and drink it. This way, no matter what you eat after, you will be protected from gas and bloating. Water plays a very important role in almost all functions of your body, including digestion. In this light, you should try to stay hydrated at all times. 

probiotics
Fruit infused water keeps you hydrated.

Another trick to try is to consume more tea. Tea such as Peppermint, Ginger, and Chamomile contains special chemicals that help with digestion problems. Peppermint contains menthol that is ideal for muscle relaxation of the digestive system, and Ginger contains gingerols and shogaols, which helps relieve excessive gas. Chamomile is a special tea that helps users to relax. Additionally, if you feel like you need more, adding cinnamon to your tea can help you to relax and relieve gas and bloating. 

It’s also important to note that your body may disagree with more than one type of food. Sometimes, the problem in your gut could be more serious than you imagined. Probiotics can help you bring your gut to the normal level. 

Probiotics Explained 

What exactly are probiotics? They are one of the bacteria that live in our bodies, in areas such as the stomach, colon, mouth, and more. Honestly, this may seem scary to some people, but it’s the truth. Studies show that there are more microorganisms in the human body compared to vital cells (ratio of 10:1). A collection of these microorganisms in the body, including the different types of probiotics, forms a mini-ecosystem known as the microbiome. The microbiome varies from each other completely, even if they are identical twins. 

As mentioned earlier, the microbiome is like a small eco-system that exists in our bodies. Its formation starts small and can be compared to the creation of a baby. The foods that you eat play a very important role in the growth and development of these microbes. Scholars from all over the world have done lots of research to find out how microbes help in the digestion process. It was discovered that microbiomes are important when it comes to the digestion of foods that we consume and processing nutrients. Now you understand why certain foods are said to be promoters of gas and bloating. 

probiotics
Functions of probiotics.

Fortunately, probiotics are designed to solve these problems. They produce special types of bacteria that help balance your body’s ecosystem. By doing so, common digestive problems, such as irritable bowel disorder is fixed. Additionally, probiotics have other health benefits, including mood booster and improved immunity. Also, some of them are ideal for a particular group of people, like pregnant women. Given that microbes are found everywhere in our bodies, it makes sense to introduce a special type of bacteria to help fight them. 

In some situations, stomach upset can disappear on its own, but other times, an active approach is needed to relieve it. If you feel like you have excessive gas in your system, you are advised to consider adopting some of the tips mentioned above to deal with digestion issues. Also, like they say, if the problem persists, you should visit your physician. They are trained to deal with these kinds of issues and are also better placed to tell if there are any underlying conditions that are making you feel uncomfortable in your gut.