400+ Foods High in Lectins and Lectin-Free Diet [PDF List]

Dieser Artikel basiert auf wissenschaftlichen Studien

Lectins are sticky proteins found in many plants, and they have gained attention due to their potential to affect gut health and overall well-being. In this article, I explore foods with lectins and their drawbacks based on recent studies.

By examining the role of lectins in different food groups, I aim to provide valuable insights and help you make informed choices about your diet. As you can see in the comments, this lectin-free food list has helped many people overcome severe health issues.

If you are curious whether raw red kidney beans, soybeans, or whole grains are high in lectins and poisoning, this article covers you. So, join us on this educational journey as we unravel the mysteries of lectin-rich foods and their impact on our bodies.

Download the free printable PDF list summarizing all the foods high in lectins (red) and foods for a lectin-free diet (green) in this article.

Table of Contents:

What Are Lectins?

Lectins are large, sticky proteins that can bind to glucose molecules. Plants use these toxins as a defense mechanism against predators.

While animals have teeth and claws to protect themselves against predators, plants do not handle such weapons. Moreover, they are rooted so that they cannot run away.

Therefore, plants have evolved to produce chemicals called lectins to ward off insects, microorganisms like fungi, and other predators (Dolan et al. 20101).

Accordingly, the concentration of these plant toxins is often exceptionally high in new pest-resistant crops (Macedo et al. 20152).

In our bodies, lectins adhere to sialic acid in the nerve endings of the intestine and brain, which inhibits communication and causes brain disorders.

These sugar molecules also exist in body fluids and blood vessel linings. Therefore, lectins can cause inflammation and even toxic reactions (Freed 19993).

Although people do not digest lectins, these sticky proteins can sneak into the bloodstream via the gut.

Lectins can damage the epithelium, impair digestion and absorption of nutrients, induce changes in bacterial flora, interfere with fat, carbohydrate, and protein metabolism, and alter hormonal status.

Eating high-lectin foods can inhibit our body’s ability to absorb essential minerals, such as zinc, iron, and calcium (Vasconcelos et al. 20044).

Hence, lectins are antinutrients.

Lectins also facilitate the attachment and binding of viruses and bacteria and help them reach their targets, such as organs. Therefore, some people more sensitive to lectins are more susceptible to viruses and bacterial infections than others.

Moreover, lectins, for example, in potatoes, promote the release of histamine, which can lead to excessive production of stomach acid (Pramod et al. 20075).

What Foods Are High in Lectins?

Grains, pseudocereals, legumes, nightshades, seed oils, and other processed foods are highest in lectins.

For example, you will find vast amounts of lectins in whole-grain products, margarine, and breakfast cereals.

Seeds, grains, leaves, bark, and shells are the parts of plants where the highest concentrations of lectins hide. You may have heard that people placed tomatoes before the pantry to keep insects away.

And with good reason. Tomatoes are among the foods highest in lectins. Hence, the concentration of lectins in the skin and seeds is exceptionally high. For example, these lectins can paralyze smaller insects.

When an animal eats a plant, lectins in the seeds help keep them intact as they pass through the predator’s digestive tract. After the animal has excreted the seed, it ensures the survival of the plant’s species.

However, lectins also bind to carbohydrates, especially complex sugars (polysaccharides), in the predator’s body after it has eaten the plant.

Accordingly, lectins target sugar molecules and attach themselves to them on the surface of the cells of other organisms, such as fungi, insects, and other animals.

Nevertheless, humans are predators of many plants as well.

Since we are significantly larger than insects, the effects of lectins are usually not immediately noticeable. But they appear over more extended periods.

Grains are foods high in lectins

Are High-Lectin Foods Bad for You?

Due to their binding properties, lectins can cause nutrient deficiencies, disrupt digestion, and cause severe intestinal damage.

The disruption of the integrity of the intestinal barrier is the gateway to various autoimmunities. Lectins can lead to cross-reactivity, forming antibodies to lectin and bacterial antigens, leading to autoimmune diseases (Vojdani 20156).

The heart surgeon Steven Gundry landed a bestseller with The Plant Paradox, where he points out adverse health effects that lectins can cause:

  • Acne
  • Age spots, skin markings
  • Allergies
  • Alopecia
  • Anemia
  • Arthritis
  • Asthma
  • Autoimmune diseases (such as rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and Crohn’s disease)
  • Bone loss (including osteopenia and osteoporosis)
  • Brain Fog
  • Cancer
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Chronic pain syndrome
  • Colon polyps
  • Cramps, tingling, and numbness
  • Cranial Nebula
  • Dementia
  • Depression
  • Diabetes, prediabetes, insulin resistance
  • Exhaustion
  • Fat in the stool (due to poor digestion)
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Gut problems (bloating, pain, flatulence, constipation, diarrhea)
  • Headaches
  • Heart disease, coronary heart disease, vascular disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Infertility, irregular menstrual cycle, miscarriage
  • Irritability and behavioral changes
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Joint pain
  • Little testosterone
  • Low levels of immunoglobulin G, immunoglobulin M, and immunoglobulin A
  • Low white blood cell count
  • Lymphomas, leukemias, multiple myeloma
  • Male pattern baldness
  • Memory loss
  • Migraine
  • Nutritional deficits due to malabsorption
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Peripheral neuropathy
  • Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
  • Reduction in dental health
  • Reflux or heartburn
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Skin rashes
  • The slow growth of infants or children
  • Vitiligo
  • Weight gain or loss

Many people could improve these ailments by following a lectin-free diet.

Are Lectins Bad for Your Gut?

Lectins can cause a leaky gut and other diseases by penetrating the intestinal wall.

The understanding of lectins fills some dark spots in conventional medicine that have been unexplained for a long time. And like so often, these harmful effects start in the second brain, our gut.

Leaky Gut

Leaky Gut Syndrome means the barrier separating the outside world (the contents of your gastrointestinal tract) from your body leaks.

As a result, there is a loophole in the gut mucosal lining through which bacteria and toxins can enter the bloodstream from the gut and cause inflammation and diseases.

If you want to keep Leaky Gut Syndrome in check, it is crucial to eliminate the cause of the holes in the unicellular intestinal wall: Foods high in lectins.

According to studies, it is precisely lectins in grain that can cause injuries to the intestinal wall.

Above all, it is gluten that can cause a “leaky gut” because it makes up an incredible 80% of the proteins in wheat.

This concentrated load of foods high in lectins, such as wheat, can cause considerable damage to the intestinal wall (Haupt-Jorgensen et al. 20187).

What makes gluten so dangerous is that it can trigger a process in the cells of the intestinal wall that destroys the proteins holding it together (Sturgeon et al. 20168).

Hence, they create a gap in the intestinal wall. Besides gluten, it is mainly wheat germ agglutinin that damages the intestinal wall.

Because it is not a large protein like other lectins but a tiny one, it easily passes through loopholes in the intestinal wall.

Therefore, bacteria and viruses, such as influenza, can overcome the barrier of the gut mucosal lining with the help of lectins (Dalla Pellegrina et al. 20099).

Thus, lectins in grains make it possible for a wide variety of harmful substances and pathogens to trigger many diseases.

Whole grain bread is full of aggressive lectins

Weight Gain

Besides diseases, foods high in lectins can trigger weight gain.

Again, wheat and wheat germ agglutinin (WGA) causes additional pounds on your scale.

For this reason, wheat has helped humanity to hibernate successfully over and over again. Due to WGA, whole grain bread is extraordinarily fattening.

Because, unlike gluten, WGA is a lectin primarily contained in the bran. For this reason, white bread contains gluten but no wheat germ agglutinin.

Accordingly, the supposedly healthy wholemeal bread is among the foods highest in lectins.

Since WGA can bind to insulin and leptin receptors, it promotes weight gain. Therefore, it promotes the effectiveness of the storage hormone insulin and helps store body fat more efficiently (Shechter 198310).

On the one hand, WGA increases insulin resistance, leading to even more weight gain (Kamikubo et al. 200811).

On the other hand, insulin resistance is a condition that sooner or later leads to type 2 diabetes and other modern diseases.

Some physicians even suggest that WGA prevents glucose from entering the muscles. As a result, the body stores glucose as body fat instead of burning it in the muscles.

On top of that, wheat germ agglutinin causes inflammation.


Since they trigger an immune response, lectins have also been linked to autoimmune inflammatory conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and type 1 diabetes.

Not only does it penetrate the intestinal wall more quickly, but WGA can also bring free radicals to the gut mucosal lining, which can damage this thin wall.

Besides WGA, peanut agglutinin (PNA), jacalin in jackfruit, and other lectins in legumes can cause kidney inflammation. Thus, these lectins promote nephritis (Engel et al. 199712).

Autoimmune Diseases

Lectins can induce the formation of antibodies against healthy cells. Thus, they can cause autoimmune diseases (Saeki et al. 201413).

Since immune cells confuse proteins in healthy cells with lectins, these antibody attacks are called molecular mimicry.

Since they are pretty new to our nutritional cycle, some assume that lectins contained in foods from the New World, such as tomatoes, are more likely to cause this confusion.

Accordingly, lectins are associated with the following autoimmune diseases:

  • Arthritis
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Dermatomyositis
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Hypothyroidism (Hashimoto’s disease)
  • Lupus
  • Microscopic colitis
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Psoriasis
  • Raynaud’s syndrome
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Scleroderma
  • Sjögren’s syndrome (dry eyes and dry mouth)
  • Systemic sclerosis
  • Ulcerative colitis

The surgeon and bestselling author Steven Gundry even further claims that lectins promote all autoimmune diseases. Therefore, he thinks autoimmune diseases can be treated with a lectin-free diet in general.

According to Gundry, drugs, especially antibiotics, can also change your gut microbiome and intestinal mucosal lining in the long run.

They weaken the barrier of the intestinal wall daily, allowing lectins to penetrate.

Scientists suggest three factors are crucial for the development of autoimmune diseases (Ferroli et al. 201214):

  • Genetic preconditions
  • Leaky Gut
  • Lectins

Therefore, not everyone can get an autoimmune disease from lectins, but everyone with a genetic precondition will.

Nevertheless, it is interesting that lectins cause two of the three factors by damaging the intestine.

In conclusion, a lectin-free diet is a promising remedy to improve or even cure autoimmune diseases.

Parkinson’s Disease

Lectins can cross the blood-brain barrier and migrate from the gut to the brain, damaging the midbrain and causing Parkinson’s disease (Zheng et al. 201615).

They can climb the vagus nerve from the gut to the brain and accumulate in its control center.

The vagus is the longest of our cranial nerves and represents a direct connection from the gut to the brain. Hence, the gut is called the second brain for a reason.

Accordingly, patients with vagus nerve cut had 40 percent less Parkinson’s disease since lectins could not reach the brain directly (Svensson et al. 201516).

For this reason, Parkinson’s disease also occurs more frequently among vegetarians since they eat more plants and thus more foods high in lectins.

How to Reduce Lectins in Food

You can peel, core, soak, sprout, ferment, boil, and pressure cook plant foods to reduce their lectin content.

However, these methods can vary highly in effectiveness. Most cannot entirely neutralize lectins.

Since a vegan diet is a global trend, consuming foods high in lectins has increased enormously.

Vegetarians and vegans often build their diets on legumes and nightshades due to limited alternatives and a lack of protein sources.

Reducing lectin in foods is vital for people limited to plant-based protein sources. But watch out, some methods circulating on the internet promise to neutralize lectins easily, while their effect is minor.

Use the following science-backed methods to reduce lectins effectively:

Peeling and Coring

Nightshades, such as eggplants, potatoes, peppers, goji berries, and tomatoes, come from the New World.

Therefore, as late as 400 years ago, after Columbus discovered America, they could enter our food chain and guts for the first time.

Moreover, Europeans did not want to eat tomatoes for more than 200 years – and rightly so, as they contain countless lectins. It was not until the end of the 19th century that dishes such as tomato sauce and pizza were adapted and made famous in Italy.

However, even today, real Italians still peel and core tomatoes when preparing tomato sauce. Since peels and seeds contain the most lectins, this is still an effective way to reduce lectin content.

How to remove lectins from tomatoes:

  • Add tomatoes to boiling water
  • Peel them
  • Cut the fruits in halves
  • Squeeze out the seeds

This peeling and coring of tomatoes reduce lectins. However, this does not mean that the tomatoes are entirely lectin-free.

Removing seeds and skin can also help reduce lectins in other nightshades and cucurbits.


While soaking can reduce antinutrients, its effect is often overestimated. To be generally effective, combine it with another method, such as boiling, fermenting, and sprouting (Shi et al. 201817).

This way, you can reduce legumes and grains’ lectin, oxalate, and phytate content (Noonan et al. 199918).

However, there is no evidence soaking could reduce gluten or wheat germ agglutinin in cereals.

Soaking results vary significantly depending on the crop.

While lectins in pigeon peas and cowpeas can be significantly reduced by soaking, they can hardly be reduced in kidney beans, field beans, and soybeans (Onwuka 200619Dhurandhar et al. 199020Liu et al. 198721Sharma et al. 199222).


Sprouting is an induced process (germination) that hatches the plant from the seed.

It can reduce antinutrients and increase the bioavailability of nutrients in seeds, grains, and legumes (Singh et al. 201523).

To induce germination, you must soak the cleaned seeds in cold water for 4-12 hours.

After that, you need to rinse the seeds and put them in a germination container (sprouter) that should not be in direct sunlight.

Sprouting works best if you wash and drain the seeds every 10 hours. Repeat the process three times.

However, this process is not very effective.

Sprouting soybeans decreases the content of lectins only slightly (Bau et al. 199924).

In other legumes, sprouting may increase the lectin content.

Scientists even suggest feeding animals with sprouted beans and grains can cause cancer (Buchmann et al. 200725).


Fermentation is the most effective method to reduce lectins in food. It is an ancient method that makes foods last longer.

This natural process uses bacteria or yeast fungi to digest carbohydrates in food. These bacteria also metabolize indigestible compounds such as lectins.

For example, the Japanese have fermented soy products such as miso, tempeh, and natto. Eastern Europeans also have sauerkraut or kvass, a fermented drink made from beet.

Indians make dosas by fermenting lentils, rice dough, and lassis with fermented milk.

Another example is Tabasco sauce, for which peppers are peeled and cored before fermenting.

There is strong evidence that fermentation reduces lectins. For example, fermentation in sourdough neutralizes gluten (Rizzello et al. 200726).

Fermentation for more than 72 hours can even destroy most of the lectins in lentils (Cuadrado et al. 201027).

Traditional tempeh production from soybeans can reduce lectins by up to 95% through fermentation (Reddy et al. 199428).


Regular Boiling is not very effective for lectins.

For most legumes, boiling them in water can help reduce antinutrients such as oxalic and phytic acid (Shi et al. 201829; Noonan et al. 199930).

Lectins are more resistant to heat denaturation than animal proteins.

Wheat germ agglutinin and oilseed lectins, such as peanut agglutinin, are extremely heat stable. Normal boiling fails to inactivate them (Pusztai et al. 199831).

Another disadvantage of boiling is that it removes water-soluble minerals from foods.

Pressure Cooking

Steam cooking in a pressure cooker is more effective than boiling, steaming, or baking.

Many people like to use pressure cookers because it is the gentler cooking method. Nevertheless, minerals such as iron and calcium are also lost with this method.

The method effectively reduces lectins in legumes (Deol et al. 201032).

It may also help reduce lectins in some pseudo-cereals, such as quinoa.

However, the pressure cooker cannot neutralize wheat, rye, barley, and oat lectins. And yes, that is foods high in lectins containing gluten.

List of Foods High in Lectins

Legumes, cereals, nightshades, seeds, and processed foods are generally high in lectins.

More important than knowing all the lectin-free foods is to remember which ones are highest in lectins and can harm your health.

Get the printable PDF of the following list of foods high in lectins PDF to stop guessing when you go grocery shopping.


Avoiding legumes is essential since they contain large amounts of lectins:

  • All beans, including sprouts
  • Chickpeas
  • Edamame
  • Green beans
  • Hummus
  • Legumes
  • Lentils
  • Pea Protein
  • Peas
  • Soy Protein
  • Soy
  • Structured vegetable protein
  • Sugar Peas
  • Tofu


Among fruits, especially the families of nightshades, cucurbits (both are fruits, not vegetables) and melons are highest in lectins:

  • Chili’s
  • Cucumbers
  • Eggplants
  • Goji Berries
  • Melons (all types)
  • Peppers
  • Pumpkins (all types)
  • Tomatoes
  • Zucchini

Processed Foods

Lectins are not exclusive to whole foods. On the contrary, it is precisely industrial processing that makes lectins – usually paired with refined carbohydrates – even more concentrated and thus harmful:

Grains and Pseudo-Grains

Cereals and grains contain very high amounts of lectins.

Furthermore, you will find pseudo-cereals, such as quinoa, among these foods highest in lectins:

  • Barley
  • Barley Grass
  • Brown rice
  • Buckwheat
  • Bulgur
  • Corn
  • Corn products
  • Cornstarch
  • Einkorn
  • High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS)
  • Kamut
  • Oats
  • Popcorn
  • Quinoa
  • Rye
  • Spelt
  • Wheat Grass
  • White basmati rice
  • White rice
  • Wild rice

Nuts and Seeds

Besides seeds, it’s strictly speaking legumes (not nuts), such as peanuts and cashews, that are exceptionally high in lectins:

  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Chia seeds
  • Peanuts
  • Cashews

Seed Oils

The following seed oils contain not only vast amounts of lectins but also omega-6 fatty acids that promote inflammation:

  • Canola
  • Corn
  • Grapeseed
  • Peanut
  • Safflower
  • Soy
  • Sunflower
  • Partially hydrogenated


Northern European cows give milk containing A1 beta-casein instead of the protein A2 beta-casein. And this A1 beta-casein is converted into a lectin-like protein called beta-casomorphin during digestion.

The effects of beta-casomorphin are very similar to those of true lectins. Milk containing A1 beta-casein causes digestive problems, inflammation, and subtle cognitive impairment (Jianqin et al. 201633).

Unfortunately, Northern European cows are mainly used for milk production, as they give more milk and are therefore more profitable than Southern European cows. You can find this milk in dairy products that are not from France, Switzerland, or Italy, such as:

  • Cottage cheese
  • Cheese
  • Ice cream
  • Ricotta
  • Yogurt (incl. Greek)
  • Yogurt ice cream

Foods on a Lectin-Free Diet

Fish, meat, green vegetables, and berries are the foods lowest in lectins.

Here you will find a complete list of lectin-free foods:


Besides leafy greens, most sorts of cabbages are native to Europe and low in lectins:

  • Algae (Nori)
  • Artichokes
  • Arugula
  • Asparagus
  • Basil
  • Beets
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Chicory
  • Chinese cabbage
  • Chives
  • Cilantro
  • Fennel
  • Garlic
  • Jerusalem Artichoke
  • Kale
  • Kohlrabi
  • Leeks
  • Lettuce
  • Mint
  • Mushrooms
  • Mustard leaves
  • Okra
  • Olives
  • Onions
  • Pak Choi
  • Parsley
  • Perilla (Shiso)
  • Purslane
  • Radicchio
  • Radish
  • Radishes
  • Lettuce
  • Sauerkraut
  • Seaweed (Kelp)
  • Spinach
  • Swiss chard
  • Watercress
  • White and red cabbage


Although most fruits are high in sugar, that is not true for avocados, which shine with healthy fats and nutrients. Additionally, berries and citrus fruits are low in lectins and fructose and excellent sources of antioxidants:

  • Avocado
  • Blueberries
  • Blackberry
  • Strawberry
  • Raspberries
  • Citrus fruits (no juices)
  • Lemon juice

Nuts and Seeds

Unlike seeds, many nuts do not contain high amounts of lectins:

  • Brazil nuts
  • Coconut (not water)
  • Coconut milk
  • Flax seeds
  • Hazelnuts
  • Hemp seeds
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Pecans
  • Pine nuts
  • Pistachios
  • Psyllium
  • Sesame
  • Walnuts

Oils and Fats

Among lectin-free oils, coconut oil should be the first choice for frying, as it has the highest proportion of heat-stable saturated fatty acids:

  • Algae
  • Avocado
  • Cod Liver
  • Extra Virgin Flaxseed (cold-pressed)
  • Extra Virgin Olive
  • Hemp seed
  • MCT
  • Macadamia
  • Red Palm
  • Shiso (Perilla)
  • Virgin Coconut
  • Walnut
  • Fish
  • Krill

Fish and Seafood

On the lectin-free foods list, the following fish can be a great protein and omega-3 source if not farmed:

  • Anchovies
  • Butterfish
  • Carp
  • Clams
  • Crabs
  • Hake
  • Halibut
  • Lobster
  • Mackerel (North Atlantic)
  • Mullet
  • Oysters
  • Prawns
  • Saithe
  • Salmon
  • Sardines
  • Scallops
  • Sea Wolf
  • Squids
  • Trout
  • Tuna
Fish and meat are foods low in lectins


If the animals were not excessively fed with grains, corn, or soy and treated with antibiotics, the following options represent foods with zero lectins:

  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Duck
  • Goose
  • Pheasant
  • Pigeon
  • Quail
  • Ostrich
  • Pork
  • Lamb
  • Deer
  • Elk
  • Wild boar
  • Grass-fed beef
  • Bison
  • Prosciutto


In contrast to Northern European cows, goats, sheep, buffalo, and Southern European cows still produce casein A-2 milk, which is contained in the following lectin-free foods:

  • From France/Italy/Switzerland
  • Buffalo (Italy)
    • Butter
    • Mozzarella
  • Casein A2
    • Cheese
    • Cream
  • Heavy cream cheese
  • Ghee
  • Coconut yogurt (no dairy product)
  • Parmesan
  • Pecorino
  • Sour cream
  • Grass-fed butter
  • Goat and sheep
    • Kefir
    • Butter
    • Yogurt
    • Cheese
    • Milk
    • Cream

Resistant Starches

Resistant starches are not suitable for weight loss, but for a lectin-free diet:

  • Baobab fruit
  • Celeriac
  • Green bananas
  • Green papaya/mango
  • Khaki
  • Konjac Tuber
  • Millet
  • Palm lily blossoms
  • Parsnips
  • Plantains
  • Sorghum Millet
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Tapioca
  • Taro root
  • Tigernuts
  • Turnips
  • Yam bean
  • Yams


Not only in the low-carb and keto cuisine but also generally, the following lectin-free foods enjoy great popularity as flour substitutes low in lectins:

  • Almond flour
  • Arrowroot flour
  • Chestnut flour
  • Coconut flour
  • Flax flour
  • Flour from green bananas
  • Hazelnut flour
  • Manioc flour
  • Sesame flour
  • Sweet potato flour
  • Tigernut flour


Besides these lectin-free condiments, you can also enjoy Tabasco sauces in moderation:

  • Vinegar (without added sugar)
  • Herbs and spices (not chili)
  • Mustard
  • Pepper
  • Sea salts (pink Himalayan, Celtic, Redmond)
  • Miso


As with losing weight, no juices are allowed in a lectin-free diet, no matter if marketed as organic or natural. Instead, drink the following beverages to maximize health benefits:

  • Water
  • Mineral Water
  • Lemon water
  • Herbal Tea
  • Green Tea
  • Black tea
  • Coffee
  • Red wine (one glass a day)

The Bottom Line

Foods high in lectins, such as various grains, ensured the survival of humanity since they were most effortless to store before refrigeration.

When food was scarce, the lectins in grains and beans could provide body fat to survive rough winters.

However, today, in times of abundance, the same effect works against us.

Since the supermarket does not close from November to March, the fattening effect of foods high in lectins is redundant.

Especially since they promote a variety of diseases, it makes sense to avoid foods high in lectins. Besides harming gut health, lectins can cause autoimmune, Parkinson’s, or mental diseases like depression and anxiety.

Although they are not the only factor in developing diseases, a lectin-free diet can be decisive for curing them.

Comment below if you overcame a serious health condition with a low-lectin diet, as many others already did.

foods high in lectins and lectin free food list pdf

Frequently Asked Questions

What foods are the highest in lectins?

Nightshades (e.g., potatoes, tomatoes), cucurbits, legumes, grains, and processed foods are highest in lectins.

What are the worst foods for lectins?

Nightshades, seeds, legumes, grains, and bakeries contain lectins you better avoid.

Are eggs high in lectin?

Eggs aren’t high in lectins, especially not if they are pasture-raised.

Are lectins bad for your gut?

Lectins can damage the gut mucosal lining, causing a leaky gut. Furthermore, they can bring bacteria and viruses into your body when overcoming this intestinal barrier. As a result, lectins can cause inflammation, autoimmune and other diseases.

Do lectins cause inflammation?

According to studies, lectins can cause inflammation.

Is oatmeal high in lectins?

Yes, oatmeal is high in lectins and other antinutrients.

What are the 3 foods Dr Gundry says to avoid?

Goji berries, chia seeds, and wheatgrass are the 3 superfoods Dr. Gundry says to avoid.

Are bananas high in lectins?

Although conventional 🍌 bananas contain lectins, green bananas are lectin-free (resistant starch).

Do carrots have lectins?

No, 🥕 carrots are considered lectin-free foods.

Are lectins good or bad for you?

Lectins can cause several health problems, such as obesity, diabetes, autoimmune diseases, inflammation, or Parkinson’s disease.

Are tomatoes high in lectins?

The skin and seeds of tomatoes contain many lectins.



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12Engel, U., Breborowicz, D., Bøg-Hansen, T., & Francis, D. (1997). Lectin staining of renal tubules in normal kidney. APMIS : acta pathologica, microbiologica, et immunologica Scandinavica105(1), 31–34. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1699-0463.1997.tb00536.x

13Saeki, Y., & Ishihara, K. (2014). Infection-immunity liaison: pathogen-driven autoimmune-mimicry (PDAIM). Autoimmunity reviews13(10), 1064–1069. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.autrev.2014.08.024


14Ferroli, P., Caldiroli, D., Acerbi, F., Scholtze, M., Piro, A., Schiariti, M., Orena, E. F., Castiglione, M., Broggi, M., Perin, A., & DiMeco, F. (2012). Application of an aviation model of incident reporting and investigation to the neurosurgical scenario: method and preliminary data. Neurosurgical focus33(5), E7. https://doi.org/10.3171/2012.9.FOCUS12252

15Zheng J, Wang M, Wei W, Keller JN, Adhikari B, King JF, King ML, Peng N, Laine RA. Dietary Plant Lectins Appear to Be Transported from the Gut to Gain Access to and Alter Dopaminergic Neurons of Caenorhabditis elegans, a Potential Etiology of Parkinson’s Disease. Front Nutr. 2016 Mar 7;3:7. doi: 10.3389/fnut.2016.00007. PMID: 27014695; PMCID: PMC4780318.

16Svensson, E., Horváth-Puhó, E., Thomsen, R. W., Djurhuus, J. C., Pedersen, L., Borghammer, P., & Sørensen, H. T. (2015). Vagotomy and subsequent risk of Parkinson’s disease. Annals of neurology78(4), 522–529. https://doi.org/10.1002/ana.24448

17Shi, L., Arntfield, S. D., & Nickerson, M. (2018). Changes in levels of phytic acid, lectins and oxalates during soaking and cooking of Canadian pulses. Food research international (Ottawa, Ont.)107, 660–668. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodres.2018.02.056

18Noonan, S. C., & Savage, G. P. (1999). Oxalate content of foods and its effect on humans. Asia Pacific journal of clinical nutrition8(1), 64–74.

19Onwuka, G.I. (2006) Soaking, Boiling and Antinutritive Factors in Pigeon Pea (Cajanus cajan) and Cowpea (Vigna unguiculata). Journal of Food Processing and Preservation, 30, 616-630.


20Dhurandhar, Nikhil & Chang, Kow-Ching. (2006). Effect of Cooking on Firmness, Trypsin Inhibitors, Lectins and Cystine/Cysteine content of Navy and Red Kidney Beans (Phaseolus vulgaris). Journal of Food Science. 55. 470 – 474. 10.1111/j.1365-2621.1990.tb06789.x.

21Liu, K., & Markakis, P. (1986). Effect of maturity and processing on the trypsin inhibitor and oligosaccharides of soybeans. Journal of Food Science, 52(1), 222-223. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2621.1987.tb14012.x

22Sharma, A., & Sehgal, S. (1991). Effect of processing and cooking on the antinutritional factors of faba bean (Vicia faba). Food Chemistry, 43(5), 383-385. https://doi.org/10.1016/0308-8146(92)90311-O

23Singh, A. K., Rehal, J., Kaur, A., & Jyot, G. (2015). Enhancement of attributes of cereals by germination and fermentation: a review. Critical reviews in food science and nutrition55(11), 1575–1589. https://doi.org/10.1080/10408398.2012.706661

24Bau, M., Villaume, C., Nicolas, P., & Méjean, L. (1996). Effect of Germination on Chemical Composition, Biochemical Constituents and Antinutritional Factors of Soya Bean (Glycine max) Seeds. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, 73(1), 1-9. https://doi.org/10.1002/(SICI)1097-0010(199701)73:1<1::AID-JSFA694>3.0.CO;2-B

25Buchmann, C. A., Nersesyan, A., Kopp, B., Schauberger, D., Darroudi, F., Grummt, T., Krupitza, G., Kundi, M., Schulte-Hermann, R., & Knasmueller, S. (2007). Dihydroxy-7-methoxy-1,4-benzoxazin-3-one (DIMBOA) and 2,4-dihydroxy-1,4-benzoxazin-3-one (DIBOA), two naturally occurring benzoxazinones contained in sprouts of Gramineae are potent aneugens in human-derived liver cells (HepG2). Cancer letters246(1-2), 290–299. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.canlet.2006.03.013

26Rizzello, C. G., Angelis, M. D., Cagno, R. D., Camarca, A., Silano, M., Losito, I., Vincenzi, M. D., De Bari, M. D., Palmisano, F., Maurano, F., Gianfrani, C., & Gobbetti, M. (2007). Highly Efficient Gluten Degradation by Lactobacilli and Fungal Proteases during Food Processing: New Perspectives for Celiac Disease. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 73(14), 4499-4507. https://doi.org/10.1128/AEM.00260-07


27Cuadrado, C., Hajos, G., Burbano, C., Pedrosa, M., Ayet, G., Muzquiz, M., Pusztai, A., Gelencser, E. (2002). Effect of Natural Fermentation on the Lectin of Lentils Measured by Immunological Methods. Food and Agricultural Immunology. 14. 41-49. 10.1080/09540100220137655.

28Reddy, N., & Pierson, M. (1993). Reduction in antinutritional and toxic components in plant foods by fermentation. Food Research International, 27(3), 281-290. https://doi.org/10.1016/0963-9969(94)90096-5

29Shi, L., Arntfield, S. D., & Nickerson, M. (2018). Changes in levels of phytic acid, lectins and oxalates during soaking and cooking of Canadian pulses. Food research international (Ottawa, Ont.)107, 660–668. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodres.2018.02.056

30Noonan, S. C., & Savage, G. P. (1999). Oxalate content of foods and its effect on humans. Asia Pacific journal of clinical nutrition8(1), 64–74.

31Pusztai, A., & Grant, G. (1998). Assessment of lectin inactivation by heat and digestion. Methods in molecular medicine9, 505–514. https://doi.org/10.1385/0-89603-396-1:505

32Deol, J. K., & Bains, K. (2010). Effect of household cooking methods on nutritional and anti nutritional factors in green cowpea (Vigna unguiculata) pods. Journal of Food Science and Technology, 47(5), 579-581. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13197-010-0112-3

33Jianqin, S., Leiming, X., Lu, X., Yelland, G. W., Ni, J., & Clarke, A. J. (2016). Effects of milk containing only A2 beta casein versus milk containing both A1 and A2 beta casein proteins on gastrointestinal physiology, symptoms of discomfort, and cognitive behavior of people with self-reported intolerance to traditional cows’ milk. Nutrition Journal, 15. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12937-016-0147-z

Mag. Stephan Lederer, MSc.

Mag. Stephan Lederer, MSc. is an author and blogger from Austria who writes in-depth content about health and nutrition. His book series on Interval Fasting landed #1 on the bestseller list in the German Amazon marketplace in 15 categories.

Stephan is a true man of science, having earned multiple diplomas and master's degrees in various fields. He has made it his mission to bridge the gap between conventional wisdom and scientific knowledge. He precisely reviews the content and sources of this blog for currency and accuracy.

Click on the links above to visit his author and about me pages.

This Post Has 56 Comments

  1. Deirdre

    Thank you so much for this very comprehensive information – as an Auto Immune person I had NO idea of this deeper Lectin problem. Thought my Quinoa was being very healthy. Shall refer regualrly to educate and also make sure I am not causing myself more health problems in the future. Doctors caused problems with the wrong Diagnosis and Self-Diangosis/food based synergised treatments have made my recovery possible and my innards incredibly youthful after 23 years of undiangosed Systemic Candidiasis.

    But to have this information to make sure i am not tempting a new set of health problems is crucial to well-being.

    Sincere appreciation for all you work.

    D Ryan

    1. Thank you so much, Ryan!

      Your appreciation means a lot to me! I’m pleased my work turned out helpful to you 😊
      With this in mind, I aim to put up lots of new articles in 2021, providing helpful knowledge to my readers.

      Make sure to subscribe to my newsletter to get informed when new stuff is up.

      I wish you a great and healthy start in 2021.


    2. Shane

      I just started studying lectins this week. It has been an eye-opener and has definitely created that “AHA!” moment for me. I have been sharing this information with anybody that I think needs to hear it. This was a great article. It was very well written for the layman. Thank you!

      1. Hi Shane,

        Great that the information in this article was helpful to you! Thanks for the cheerful words and sharing 🙂


  2. Yevette

    Thank you for the information I will put it to use immediately

  3. Israel

    Food and food-like Industries constantly bombard us with misleading marketing and wrong information. I am so thankful that right information like this can be found.

  4. Sam DiFrancis

    Great work. Truly appreciate your well presented, worthwhile and useful observations about diseases linked to lectins. I can favorably agree with your deductions because you back them up with references. Now you got me curious; where are more links to more sources of information ? Seeking a bigger lectin listing including more spices.

    1. Hi Sam, great to hear the content could help you out.
      I really much appreciate that you share this idea with me. Although it will be tough to back up the lectin content and impact of exotic spices by science, I will check if I can tackle the topic in the future. In the meanwhile, I would avoid spices based on seeds.
      Have a great day!

  5. Joey

    My doctor just said that I have a lectin build-up in the hollows of my pelvic bone and that is compressing my bladder causing me to feel like I need to urinate all the time. I’ve had the urination feeling on and off for years but always thought it had something to do with Gluten ( because I’m allergic to it ) or sugar. I would never have thought that my issue was coming from foods that I thought were good for me. What you wrote about will help me a lot. Many thanks, Joey.

    1. Hi Joey,
      thank you for sharing your story with us, showing that we have to be aware of that there is actually harmful plant-based food. I am flattered to hear that my article is helpful to you.
      Get well soon! 🙂
      P.S.: Keep us posted how diet changes affect your quality of life

  6. john marshall

    dang! i’m a cheesy rice and beans person from who flung the chunk! Guessing rye is bad too? thought fiber was supposed to be good for you….no wonder im fat. this list is depressing….but so very appreciated. ive got a lot of dietary changes to make. what about garlic and onions? corn starch? you didnt really touch much on fish. (sigh…all those years i spent learning to cook quality italian). Thank you so much for this. going to give it my best shot.

    1. Hi John, I very much appreciate your friendly comment 🙂

      While the common perception of health is depressing, we can actually do something about it leveraging better knowledge.

      Fiber in whole foods has its point since it dampens the blood sugar and insulin response. If you remove the fiber from natural carbs you will get processed carbs. So fiber is a necessary thing in natural whole foods, but has no point as additive. In contrast to common belief too much fiber is causing constipation since it’s the non-digestible part of plant foods adding bulk to your stool.

      Well, rye and other grains are full of lectins and great to gain fat fast. However, garlic and onions are great and versatile parts of healthy dishes – have a look:
      10 Health Benefits of Onion
      13 Health Benefits of Garlic

      Since cornstarch is the thing used to make high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) it’s super fattening – better eliminate it from your menu.

      Fish is great in general – the fetter the better since you exclusively find the most potent omega-3 fatty acids in seafood 🙂

      I the information above can help you, thanks for your time and have a great day!

      Br, Stephan

  7. Kathy

    Thanks for this helpful information. I’m trying to find out if locust bean gum, guar gum, and xanthan gum contain lectins. I assume they do because locust bean gum is extracted from ground seeds, guar gum is from a legume, and xanthan gum may be fermented on wheat. And what about sunflower lecithin? It’s a fatty acid but comes from sunflower seeds – would there be any lectins lurking that weren’t removed during processing?

    1. Hi Kathy, locust bean gum, guar gum and sunflower seeds are high in lectins as you already concluded. There is a chance for xanthan gum to be lectin-free if it is not based on barley, corn, dairy, soy, or wheat. But you have to be lucky to find the substrate on the ingredients list.


  8. Leopold Gering

    What a well written and informative article, I have bookmarked it and will be sharing with friends and family. Also, great job on responding to your readers questions, many authors post and then abandon their work.

    Great Job,


  9. Em

    What about acacia senegal soluble fiber? It’s from tree in the legume family.

    1. Hi Em,

      According to studies, Acacia Senegal is generally considered a safe dietary fiber, and its probiotic effects increase Bifidobacteria, Lactobacteria, and Bacteroides.

      There is no evidence of high lectin content, and even Dr. Gundry uses it in his products. I hope that helped.


    2. Carol

      I have a book which says acacia is lectin free.

  10. Nati

    Hallo, wie bekomme ich die PDF-Liste. Mehrmals versucht durch mail angabe die zubekommen, leider ohne Erfolg!
    Leide an MS und weiss das dies mir weiterhelfen kann.

  11. DentalDraconianismDefier

    Thanks for the detailed list! Tomato puree is low in lectins right?

    1. Hi Kyle,

      please check out the section about “How to Remove Lectins From Tomatoes” above. If you buy processed tomato puree, it will be very likely high in lectins. You have to do it yourself, if you want to get a proper result.


  12. Preeti Bhengra

    Thankyou for all the information here. I thought I was healthy on my diet until recently diagnosed with Psoriasis and then now arthritis…. could not figure out the cause. I had thought legumes and sprouts and spelt flour , quinoa were all good options for me but I know why I am in so much pain. Thanks a million

    1. Hi Preeti,

      Thank you so much for your appreciation! I am delighted that the information on this site is helpful to you!


  13. Rob Padgett

    Well, after seeing Dr. Gundry on YouTube and peaking my interest , I find this article highly informative, and have passed in on to several friends with serious health issues lectin free would definitely help (certainly including me – RA and Insulin resistant). A comment on pressure cooking. I love beans, Though I’m not vegetarian, I see them as a valuable source of Protein. I have found the Brand Name Eden (I have no monetary attachment to them) says their beans are pressure cooked pre-canning. So, ergo, can I consider this a good source for beans lectin free or lectin reduced? – primarily black-eyed peas and garbanzo beans)

    1. Hi Rob,
      Thanks for your appreciation. I am delighted that the information on this was helpful to you and your friends.

      My opinion on beans: Legumes are one of the worst protein sources out there, and I would not eat them. According to this study, black beans have a protein efficiency of 0. If you want highly bioavailable protein, eat eggs – it’s that simple. They are also full of healthy fat and vitamins. Legumes, on the other hand, are full of antinutrients. And that’s not just lectins. Their phytic acid content even inhibits the absorption of essential minerals and vitamins. The whole “beans are a healthy source of proteins” thing is just marketing. They are not.


      1. Will

        Thank you does not come close. I appreciate you for your work, this is the most comprehensive article I’ve come across ever. It is a life changer. I’m no one , but I know this will change everything for me and my family. I will lift you up and let him know. Every good deed covers a multitude of sin. Will This article will be a blessing to so many

        1. Hi Will,

          I am delighted that the article was that helpful to you. Thank you for the cheerful appreciation – it made my day! 🙂

          Kind regards,

  14. Hi Matilde,

    What’s your purpose for substituting gluten? I need to understand the context to answer the question. There might be better options as well.


  15. Laurie Rasmussen

    Thank you for the information on Lectin. My life changed over night. For the first time in 30 years I feel amazing.
    Doctors, hospitals and dieticians could not not treat my reflux, my weight gain, my swollen painful stomach or my incredible joint pain. I lost my sore stomach and 15 Kilos in 5 weeks and my weight settled at 68 kilos, the same as when I was 40, now 73. thank you Dr. Stephen. god bless you.

    1. Hi Laurie,

      Thank you so much for sharing your experiences with us! Hearing that the information could help to change your life for the better is terrific 🙂

      Feel free to share more of your experiences and ideas with us – here or by emailing me: [email protected] 🙂

      Have a great day,

  16. Niamh

    I’m a bit confused about natto and tempeh. Are they considered to be too high in lectins? I find them more convenient than meat because there are no bones stinking up the kitchen (although I don’t eat them every day.)

    1. Hi Niamh,

      Thanks for the question!

      Most cultures knew how to prepare food not to upset your gut. Fermentation is part of a detoxification process like the Incas used to prepare low-lectin Quinoa (soak, ferment, cook). In like manner, fermented soy products are way better for your gut. Tempeh, Natto, and Miso should be fine 🙂


  17. Lissa

    Wow I’m three weeks into a paleo, keto, lectin free diet
    It’s hard.
    Unbelievably so but like everyone here you have to be been quite poorly to undergo such a radical change and I don’t say this lightly as I was already gluten and dairy free …100 per cent for 2 and a half years.
    I can’t wait for the weight loss to happen . Weight that I’ve gained from what I thought was eating healthily as so many here have stated.
    This new eating plan has occurred on account of gut issues that have been becoming more and more severe.
    How did I get into this mess?
    God alone knows but I’m hoping to revert now to becoming a healthy human being once again.
    I’m in for the long haul
    Thank you for such a detailed plan

    1. Hi Lissa,

      Thank you so much for your kind words! 🙂

      I hope you are doing well on your journey. Keep us posted with some updates 🙂


  18. Tess Talley

    Hello Stephan!

    Thank you so much for gathering all this data! When it comes to cucumbers and other pickled items. Does the pickling process or the vinegar remove the lectins? We are just starting on this diet change and looking to see if some of our pickled foods can be included.

    Thank you in advance for your assistance!

    Mrs. T. Talley

    1. Hi Tess,

      In my opinion, pickling is a start. To have an impact, Lacto-fermentation is the better option.
      The simplest method of Lacto-fermentation is to submerge a food that naturally contains lactic acid bacteria, such as cucumber (or cabbage, i.e., kimchi), into a brine of water and salt.

      So if you put your cucumbers into a brine of water, salt, and vinegar, the lectin content was lowered drastically. Fermentation reduces lectin content (i.e., fermented soy like natto).


  19. Kathleen Hay

    This is very interesting and informative. I will consider it seriously. Thank You.

  20. G. R.

    I don’t understand how industrial processing ” makes lectins.”
    Is there a link that explains some of the process relating to the items you’ve listed?

    1. Hi G. R.,

      Thanks for the exciting question 🙂

      As the text above says, “processing makes lectins more concentrated.” Industrial processing alters natural foods, for example, by removing plant parts like fiber. As a result, you can get unnatural high doses of plant compounds that may harm your health. The best example is table sugar.

      Best regards,

  21. Paul Schneider

    Have you considered writing a blog on the topics of phytic acid and oxalic acid? They are found in edible botanical products and can be quite harmful to human health.

  22. Dani

    Thank you for the full and comprehensive article on lectins! I appreciate the care you put into your work and the many good references! Also, the lectins list, as I will need to refer to it often now that I am trying to heal my autoimmune self. I am new to lectins, and so sad to see all my squash friends on the list. I do have a question: do you know how much lectins remain in oil, since those are pretty refined? Also, not to sound silly, but is “dishpans” (on the resistant starch list) a type of vegetable? I can’t find it on the web, but there are many vegetables I haven’t heard of before. I’m not trying to be a jerk at all, but I can’t tell if it was a joke or not!

    1. Hi Dani,

      Thanks for the appreciation and for mentioning the typo 🙂

      Refined vegetable oils are among the worst things for health. Do yourself a favor and never buy inflammatory seed oils again. Here’s a list of healthy fats you can use instead.


  23. Judy

    I’m keen to source not only the list of foods high or low in lectins, but more specifically the amount. Is there a database similar to the USDA Food Central database for micronutrients, that for a certain quantity of food item it precisely provides the lectin constituent amount?

    1. Stephan

      Hi Judy,

      thanks for your question. Unfortunately, there is no such database.

      Best regards,

  24. Kate

    Thankyou very much for all the helpful information. Scrolling on the internet–one site says such and such food(s) have no lectins and then just below that site another site lists the same foods and states they have lectins. And there is even a site that says you should eat lots and lots of lectins/the more the better. Is there a definitive laboratory that is totally precise/accurate in determining which foods have lectins!

    1. Stephan

      Hi Kate,

      I am pleased that my content is helpful to you. Contradictory diet advice is the reason I started this site 🙂


  25. Martina

    Hi there Stephan,

    thank you so much for this important information. Me and my handycapped son are diagnosed with Hashimoto and even though we have the “right” blood results, after using the medication for years, we do not feel well.
    Lectines seem to hava a big part in this.

    Do you have a list of which spices are lectin free? Do poppy seeds have lectines?

    You are doing a great job. God bless you!

    1. Hi Martina,

      Thanks for your question and appreciation. I am glad my work is helpful 🙂

      Poppy seeds do not contain lectins such as flex or sesame seeds.

      The spices you have to watch out for are red chili flakes and anything that includes the seeds and skin of chilies or peppers.

      Oregano, parsley, peppermint, black pepper, and nutmeg can contain lectins, but usually in small amounts. So, most experts think they are okay.

      Please note that neither I nor this site is giving any medical advice. Please talk to your healthcare provider before considering diet changes.


  26. geo

    does pressure cooking white basmati rice, chickpeas, and lentils help remove the lectins?
    Thanks for this article I must try a new diet apparently. I do like eggs 🙂

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