Migraine Trigger: Lectins
Lectins are found in most plants and they want to kill you (study link).
They are a natural defense mechanism that protects plants from predators like you and me.
Lectins are anti-nutrients that can bind to the gut and block other nutrients from being absorbed (study link).
Lectins are not good for migraines.
Three reasons why lectins may trigger migraines:
1. Gut Damage
Gut symptoms will increase migraine probability (article link).
2. IBS Symptoms
A 2013 study found that 49 percent of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) patients reported lectins to cause gut symptoms (study link).
3. Increased Histamine
Lectins can increase histamine levels.
Lectins Kill Lab Rats
Kidney beans contain the most infamous lectins because they regularly make people sick when they are undercooked (study link).
Lab rats die in just two weeks from a diet that includes just one percent of raw kidney beans (study link).
Beans should be cooked at high temperatures to limit this risk.
Soaking beans overnight will also help remove lectins; however, some lectins are resistant to cooking and digestive enzymes.
Lectins Give you Gas
We all know beans can give people gas—that’s from the lectins.
Foods with Lectins:
Beans, wheat, soy, lentils, and nuts may cause lectin symptoms in the gut.
While many people do fine with the high levels of lectins found in beans, some have reactions to the limited amount of lectins found in spinach, tomatoes, potatoes, and rice.
Reactions to lectins are highly individualized.
Should I stop eating all lectins?
No, that would be ridiculous.
Some diet experts will recommend eliminating all foods that contain lectins, but many healthy foods contain lectins.
Others suggest cooking all foods to limit lectins and ease digestion.
However, cooking food will result in the loss of some of the nutrients and migraine sufferers are more likely to have nutrient deficiencies.
Limit Excessive Amounts of Lectins
I suggest limiting consumption of excessive amounts of foods with high levels of lectins. Don’t eat a giant bowl of beans.
Take your chances with other foods and document them in a food diary.
Foods that cause negative symptoms, especially a migraine, within three days of consumption should be removed from your diet.
Limit excessive amounts of lectins to reduce migraines.