Reading time: 2 minutesPublished: February 11, 2018
Most of us trying to follow a healthy diet have heard about gluten. We are aware that it causes problems for some people especially those with coeliac disease who must avoid gluten completely in order to remain symptom free. But what exactly is gluten? Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, rye and oats which causes inflammation in the body. And whilst gluten does cause problems for some it is now known that gluten is just one variety of a common yet highly toxic plant based protein called lectin.
Lectins are found in many vegetables, nuts and seeds and are designed by nature to protect plants from predators. And like it or not from an evolution stand point, we are predators.
Fortunately, we have evolved alongside the plants we eat and are able to deal with them in our diet. Eating foods in season, as our forbears would have done, is key to keeping lectin damage at a minimum. Also, eating foods from within our geographical area is important. I notice that I do best on a mixture of European and Indian foods which is no surprise, as that is my ethnicity. I don't feel good when I eat kiwi fruit, for example, but more to the point I don't particularly like them. Non of my ancestors would have ever come across them so I am happy to swerve them.
Problems arise when we eat lectins because they wage war on the body in 3 major ways:
Firstly, they permeate the gut wall by prising apart the tight junctions in the mucosal wall lining of the intestine. Since this lining is only 1 cell thick this means that the lectins can then pass though the gut wall and enter the blood stream.
Secondly, the lectins confuse the immune system by mimicking the proteins in the body and cause the body to attack itself.
Thirdly, lectins are able to disrupt cellular communication. They can cause the wrong information to be given to the cells or block the release of the correct information.
All of these issues can cause untold damage within the body including auto-immune disease, leaky gut syndrome, diabetes, allergies, depression neuro-degenerative disorders and many more health conditions.
Of course, with proper treatment we can eat an abundance of foods and at the same time keep our bodies happy and healthy. Take bread for example. In the USA commercial bakers have replaced yeast with transglutaminase, which is a binding agent. It is also known as "meat glue" and can improve the firmness, viscosity, elasticity and water-binding capacity of food products. In mainland Europe, bread is fermented with yeast. The yeast digests the lectins in the wheat and by doing so lessens their effect. Gluten, however, still remains an issue. Sourdough bread is the kindest of all to eat and many people who are gluten intolerant (not coeliacs) are able to eat sourdough breads without much issue. When I was diagnosed as a coeliac I began to eat gluten free bread. Nowadays, I steer clear of breads all together, including gluten free varieties, as I am aware that transglutaminase is used to give them a more fluffy texture.
Getting the right information on food, diet and health can be time consuming and confusing. At lifetrainme we understand this so we have created the lifetrainme academy. This is a member only platform where you can go for lots of information on food and many health issues. One of the topics we cover is plant lectins. Brad is one of our nutrition experts and he talks about how to deal with them and the problems they could be causing for you.
Informative video articles are available to members covering a wide range of health topics and new material is uploaded regularly to keep the content fresh, relevant and exciting. Click here to join and keep up to date with all the latest research and information.
Please remember that the information provided is based on our team research and is our opinion only. We are not doctors.
Written by: Mimi