The scoop on dietary lectins

Dinner Diva
The scoop on dietary lectins

By: Leanne Ely

Dietary lectins are most likely not on your radar screen. Not unless you’re fairly heavily involved in the world of food science and/or nutrition in general, anyway.
Most everyday people don’t know about lectins and neither do many doctors! Considering the damage these nasty little boogers can do, that’s really not so good.
So what are lectins anyway?
Lectins are proteins that bind to carbohydrates, cells and tissues. These proteins do not break down easily, and consequently cause inflammation in the body. Not only do they cause inflammation, they can be toxic and resistant to digestive enzymes.
This resistance to stomach acid means that lectins are free to latch on to the wall of your stomach where they can then contribute to the erosion of your intestinal barrier. That, my friends, is known as leaky gut and it’s about as pretty as it sounds.
With the gut lining being damaged, other proteins can sneak through into the body in an undigested state it causes an immune response which in turn, may cause all kinds of other problems including:
• Colitis
• Crohn’s disease
• Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
• Coeliac-Sprue (celiac)
• Insulin-dependent diabetes
• Rheumatoid arthritis
• Ulcers
• Food allergies and sensitivities
• Low energy
• Weight gain
When lectins are out there circulating through your bloodstream, they’re then free to bind with any tissue in your body. This includes the pancreas, thyroid and even the collagen in your joints. That binding to important tissue triggers your white blood cells to attack the tissue that the lectin has attached onto, effectively then destroying it. Lectin protein in wheat, for example, is known to cause rheumatoid arthritis as it attaches to joint collagen!

So what’s the big deal, Leanne?
The big deal, is that lectins are found in a lot of the food we eat, like:
• Legumes
• Dairy
• Grains including wheat, wheat germ, rice, oats, buckwheat, rye, barley, corn, millet and quinoa
• Nightshade foods: tomatoes, potatoes, cucumbers, eggplant and capsicum
• Some seafoods
So why are some people able to tolerate these foods and others aren’t?
Some people do seem to be able to tolerate lectins better than others while some folks have severe lectin sensitivities. If you’re in this category, your body is unable to stop lectin from binding to cells in your body and you must eliminate lectins from your diet.
Truth be told, I think we’d all benefit by eliminating at least some of these lectin-bearing foods from our diet, especially grains and maybe even dairy (especially non-fermented dairy). Once these are eliminated, a lot of people feel the benefits with improved energy, better sleep and a better overall feeling of well-being.
Check out our Paleo Primer and see if a paleo lifestyle (which will remove lectins from your diet) is something you might be interested in pursuing!

Saving Dinner Fundraising’s Top 5 Foods for Your Heart

By: Daniel Munns

As you probably know by now, Saving Dinner Fundraising is a healthy online fundraising program. The program was designed to give schools, individuals, and organizations a better alternative for raising funds. No more cookie dough, no more chocolate or bake sales, and no more pizza fundraisers. It’s time for a healthier option, one with products (Saving Dinner meal planning packages) that you can use.
Speaking of healthy, below is a list of five foods that are good for your heart, courtesy of the Dinner Diva herself, Leanne Ely:
1. Oatmeal
Nothing starts the day off right better than a hot steaming bowl of oats. They are full of omega-3 fatty acids, folate, and potassium. This fiber-rich superfood can lower levels of LDL (the bad) cholesterol and help keep arteries clear which makes for a happy healthy heart.
Go for steel-cut oats over the instant varieties and learn to eat it without sweeteners. Looking for an extra fiber bonus? Top your oats with a banana all sliced up; you just added another 4 grams of fiber. Good for you!
2. Salmon
Did you know that eating two servings of salmon per week might reduce your risk of dying of a heart attack by up to one-third? Read that sentence again–ONE THIRD! Salmon is also effective at reducing blood pressure and keep clotting at bay–it’s all those super-rich omega-3 fatty acids. When fishing for salmon at the supermarket be sure and cast your line toward the wild salmon and not farm-raised variety. Wild salmon is how you get those omega-3?s, farmed is not.
3. Berries
Blueberries, raspberries, strawberries—whatever berry you like best—are chocked full of anti-inflammatories, which reduce your risk of heart disease and cancer. Toss a few berries on your morning oatmeal or into your smoothie and you’ve got a super-heart-healthy start to the day, not to mention a fiberlicious one as well! 3/4 cup of raspberries will get you 5 grams of fiber.
4. Legumes
Fill up on fiber with lentils, chickpeas, and black and kidney beans. Packed with omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, and soluble fiber, these babies are good for the heart, plus you score extra points in the budget department as they’re cheap, filling and easy to prepare, SCORE!
5. Spinach
Spinach can help keep your ticker in top shape thanks to its stores of lutein, folate, potassium, and fiber. Add a handful of baby spinach leaves to your morning smoothies for an extra dose of fiber (no one will ever know if you use blueberries as your foil, snicker!). Add a second handful to your evening dinner salad each night or sauté up a huge mess of it with garlic, yum!
By the way, with the start of school just around the corner, how many of you are members of a PTA/PTO and will be hearing all about your fall 2012 fundraisers soon? If you would like a custom presentation on how the Saving Dinner Fundraising program can help your organization raise funds this fall, send us a message HERE.

0 Responses

  1. Leann, This page is an example of why there is so much confusion about what we should eat to be healthy.  As I scrolled down on this page, I read about avoiding foods that contain  lectins – grains, dairy, legumes, night shade foods, and some seafood.  Then I scroll down and read about foods good for my heart and read that I should be eating the following – oatmeal, salmon, berries, and legumes.  See the contradiction?  How frustrating is it to see the exact same foods (grain/oatmeal, legumes, seafood/salmon) on each list!  So do I eat it or not?!?  Actually, I am only recently pretty comfortable with my decisions I have made about my own health, so I am not looking for an answer personally.  But I would expect a single website to be consistent with what they recommend.

  2. Help me understand Leanne – so should we eat oats, legumes and seafood or not?  Your article seems to contradict itself and I am left confused and unsure of what you are advocating.   Please clarify. 

  3. I don’t understand – the top part says no grains and no legumes and the heart part says eat oatmeal and beans

  4. Yes, please help me to understand all of this. I have Crohns Disease and eat oatmeal porridge every morning for breakfast. I thought it was good for me and helps keep bad cholesterol down, but could it be doing me more harm than good as far as inflammation goes ?

    1. Kate this is a great question for Leanne on her Blog Talk Radio show. You can submit the questions at dearleanne at saving dinner dot com. Or you can call in live and ask, the show is on the air Wednesdays at 12:00 EST. Please email customer service if you need any more information about Blog Talk Radio or would like to submit a request for assistance. (use the contact us tab on the site)

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