What is responsible for many of the food poisoning cases in the United States? Lectin poisoning from beans. Lectins are the proteins “mother” plants produce to protect their babies from predators. Lectins are dangerous because they destroy our gut wall and kill off our good gut bacteria. If you’re going to eat beans, pressure cook them. Pressure cooking decreases levels of phytohemagglutinin, an extremely toxic lectin for humans.
Where are most of the lectins found in plants? They are in the peels and seeds of the night shade family and squash. If you’re going to eat night shades or squash, peel and deseed them. Lectins are also found in the hulls of grains. Unfortunately, the pressure cooker does not kill the lectins in grains the way that it does with beans. Some lectin-free grains are millet and sorghum. Check out the “yes list/no list” below for more substitutions.
Gluten is one of the most well-known lectins. The following is a recap of foods that contain lectins:
- night shades: potatoes, eggplant, peppers, tomatoes
- squash: zucchini, butternut squash, pumpkin
- grains: brown rice, barley, oats, wheat