You may have heard the terms ‘lectins’ or ‘leaky gut’ thrown around a bit lately but what exactly do they mean? We talked to Dr. Steven Gundry, renowned cardiologist and author of ‘The Plant Paradox’ book series to find out the answers to these questions and how much control we have over our health and wellbeing by changing our diet.
Let’s begin by understanding our basics.
What in the world is a lectin?
Lectins are the proteins that plants use as a defense mechanism against being eaten. As plants want to live and reproduce, just like any of us, they must develop strategies to stay alive. Unlike animals, they can’t run away but they can use chemicals that cause adverse effects in the animals eating them. This clever protein acts like a poison that causes leaky gut. It creates inflammation in our digestive tract, permitting food particles to enter directly into our bloodstream.
What foods contain lectins?
As many of you may already know, one of the most well known lectins is gluten. That being said, many gluten alternatives actually contain worse lectins. Corn, brown rice, quinoa and beans are just a couple of examples. Peanuts, tomatoes, eggplants, potatoes and fruit are also some of the worst offenders.
How do lectins affect our bodies?
Lectins can cause a whole host of problems such as anxiety, brain fog, depression, insomnia, fatigue, autoimmune conditions and gut problems. They create leaky gut, which allows them to displace from the gut and attach to joint surfaces. Therefore, they attach to the inside of arteries and blood vessels causing inflammation and consequently illnesses such as coronary artery disease and arthritis.
What is leaky gut?
Leaky gut is caused when lectins affect the intestinal wall making it more permeable which allows certain bacteria and compounds from food to seep out and enter the bloodstream directly. This can cause a number of unwanted effects such as fatigue, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, brain fog, and skin problems. The good news is, it can be reversed, and you can get your health and vitality back.
How can you prevent leaky gut?
Both leaky gut is caused by the food we eat. Unfortunately pesticides, antibiotics and hormones, as well as natural plant compounds such as lectins have really done a number on our digestive systems and it’s affecting our health as a whole. By shifting your diet away from foods that contain lectins and opting for organic produce, you can actually see results in just a couple of months, even weeks. To learn more about what foods contain lectins and for some delicious recipes to get started, check out Dr. Steven Gundry’s book series, ‘The Plant Paradox’. He even has a cookbook called ‘The Plant Paradox Family Cookbook’ so you can make sure everyone is on board to a happier, healthier life.
If you’re suffering from autoimmune conditions, brain fog, anxiety or depression, leaky gut could be the culprit. Try experimenting with the foods you consume and mixing up your diet to better nourish your body. Remember, major lifestyle changes are not easy, but we are all in this together to support each other. So if you are looking for advice and a clear healing path, I invite you to try Your Daily® Health Coaching app and start changing your life.