The Lectin-Free Diet & Foods High In Lectins


New member
Nov 21, 2018
In this post I want to share some information on the lectin-free diet. It revolves around avoiding, reducing, or completely removing foods that are high in lectins from the diet and can be very effective for reducing inflammation and can also be quite nutritious.

Gluten is actually categorized as a lectin, so gluten is generally avoided on the lectin-free diet. It's similar to the paleo diet but there are some key differences.

Lectins are essentially anti-nutrients that can be found in many foods and have several negative properties. One of those properties is the ability to interfere with the immune system and set off hypersensitivity reactions. Another quotable quote is that “in the past two decades we have realised that many lectins are (a) toxic, inflammatory, or both” which is from this pub med article about dietary lectins potentially causing disease.

Even though lectins are often reduced by cooking, avoiding high-lectin foods can definitely prove highly beneficial for some people especially those who want to reduce inflammation or obviously who have lectin sensitivity reactions. This was suspected in the case of rheumatoid arthritis. The reactions can be up to 72 hours later, which can make it pretty hard to notice especially if the person is eating the foods every day. This was one of the biggest things that jumped out at me.

One of the biggest differences between the paleo diet and this diet is that nightshades are high in lectins. Tomatoes, green and red bell peppers, paprika, eggplant, and potatoes are all nightshades and so are key foods to look out for. Other foods to look out for are legumes, like beans and peanuts. Peanuts are not actually a nut, they are a legume, so other nuts are generally included, just like in paleo (walnuts, almonds, macadamia nuts, etc.). Additionally, other foods to look out for include grains, pseudo-grains, and dairy.

Foods that are low in lectins to include are vegetables, fruits, nuts, and meats. Sweet potatoes are not technically potatoes so they are often included. There are some great dinners you can add sweet potato to as a great addition, instead of potatoes, pasta, or other grains or pseudo-grains. They go well with pretty much every meat, especially red meat like hamburgers. You can even make sweet potato hash browns, which is pretty delicious by the way. You can also use white rice, which is the lowest in lectins of rice choices. Lectin Foods Base has quite a bit of information on the foods that can be very helpful. Since those four food types (veggies, fruits, nuts, and meats) are generally considered super healthy and nutritious, the diet typically is highly-regarded in that sense. There are lots of anti-inflammatory vegetables added, like leafy greens, and foods considered to be inflammatory removed.

One of the big differences with the gluten-free diet is that oftentimes people will use potato as a substitute for bread, but potatoes are a nightshade and so are often avoided. This is true also in lots of gluten-free breads which contain potato, for example with potato buns for hamburgers and hot dogs. Other than that, it's quite similar, which is essentially because the gluten-free diet is a subset of the lectin-free diet. That being said, not everyone who eats gluten-free adopts a strict lectin-free diet, but some people do end up cutting out only certain lectin foods or for some of the time and find that they feel better. It is certainly stricter, but given that people go gluten-free for how they feel, it can be an easy transition.

Another thing to consider is sprouted foods are often considered very highly in paleo and just in general, because they are higher in nutrients and lower in antinutrients. They are also lower in lectins (which are an antinutrient), so they can be a good choice (or potentially a better choice) and can be easier to digest. Grass-fed foods and organic foods are also generally lower in lectins, so if you are getting dairy, meats, quinoa, etc. this can be an added bonus to whatever benefits you're already getting from eating organic. Just a side note but still pretty interesting.

As a means of naturally reducing inflammation, the diet is quite awesome. Some people will find it significantly more beneficial than a paleo diet or gluten-free diet, especially if they feel better without certain lectin foods.

This has been really helpful for me and many others, so hopefully it's helpful.


New member
Jul 10, 2018
What do you think of turmeric as a way to support a healthy inflammation response in the body?