There’s a fruit out there that is so special, so good for you, that Dr. Gundry actually wants to encourage you to eat it every single day. And it tastes so good and buttery — you’re guaranteed to never get sick of it. It’s the avocado. But are avocados high in lectins?
Absolutely not! You’ve seen them before. From the outside, they don’t look like much. Their skins are usually a deep peaty green. They’re shaped like a pear or potato. And they have a bumpy outer texture. Inside, the avocado is so creamy and smooth — it’s an incredibly versatile ingredient that’s perfect for a lectin-free diet.
You can add avocado to any meal, seriously! Try to enhance salads by topping them with avocados. Add it to soups and smoothies. Simply, cut your avocado in half and eat each half with a spoon. There’s really no wrong way to eat an avocado.
New research has shown that consuming an avocado every single day could potentially support your weight loss goals, too, because they make you feel more satiated.1 Avocados contain a heap of good-for-you phytochemicals and essential nutrients. They really are supreme.
Are Avocados high in lectins? Not at all. They have low lectin content. A low lectin diet is great for your digestive tract and promotes weight loss.
Why Is A Lectin Avoidance Diet Important?
It’s tough to talk about a lectin-free diet without first going into detail about those toxic, sticky little proteins first. So, let’s take a look at the lectins in things like nightshades or most whole grains and why they’re harmful.
Lectins are proteins found in plants that can latch onto the outsides of the cells in your intestine. When they do latch on like that, they can cause the tight junctions in your intestinal cells to break apart and become damaged.
When this happens, your intestinal wall becomes permeated. It can feel like you have a leaky gut because things that aren’t supposed to get through can invade your system. These are often toxins, foreign particles, and bad bacteria. The result is an upset stomach, swelling, and discomfort.
Why Do Lectins Sometimes Lead To Upset Digestion?
Lectins happen to be a plant’s major system of defense. Since plants can’t ‘put up their dukes’, they try to poison those that come to eat them. If they succeed, the predators (like humans) likely won’t come back.
Lectins are found in many of the following foods:
- Lectin-rich grains
- Casein A1 cow’s milk
- Nightshade vegetables like peppers, squash, tomatoes, zucchini, and eggplant
It’s funny how some of the foods you’ve been taught to see as healthy your whole life really can do damage. But if you educate yourself about what fruits and vegetables are low in lectins — like avocados — you can reap the benefits of a plant-based diet without suffering the negative consequences of eating lectins.
Your low lectin diet should consist of many different types of delicious plant foods like leafy green veggies, cruciferous vegetables, extra-virgin olive oil, perilla oil, avocados, and avocado oil. And it always bears repeating: Avocados are good for you and chock full of healthy fats. Eat one every day.
NOTE: Avocados do contain a good amount of histamines which some people may be sensitive to. This is the only instance in which you might not want to consume avocados regularly. Check with your doctor or nutritionist to see if you might be susceptible.
The Lectin Free Diet Can Help Your Gut Bacteria
Now, think of this: If harmful lectins stick to the sugars in your body, wouldn’t it make sense to eat less sugar and also eat fewer lectins? Remember, when lectins agglutinate — or bind to one another — they can lead to some serious health issues.2
In general, plant lectins are thought to mess with your immune system and also lead to worrisome health concerns like swelling, weight gain, and heart health issues.3 But even if you’re not troubled by those threats, you could still be sensitive to lectins.
It’s no good when lectins make their way to your gut barrier and cause permeation or the loss of those very important white blood cells. When your system becomes weaker due to lectins, it can let even more lectins (and other toxins) enter your bloodstream.
This can lead to even more serious digestive issues — and maybe even some health concerns that have more to do with your bloodstream than your digestive health.4,5 Again, that’s why many claim that all health starts with your gut health.
You are literally the home to the helpful bacteria that live in your gut. And that’s a good thing — your gut needs those happy inhabitants to help your body function properly.
Things like prebiotic food sources, probiotic foods or supplements, and fermented foods can support a balanced, healthy gut. If lectins interrupt your digestive process, the good bacteria in your gut won’t be able to feed on the nutrients they need to survive. These are just some of the reasons why avoiding lectins is so important for your health.
Avocado Health Benefits
One of the best compounds in avocados is “good fat”. Now, Dr. Gundry suggests that about 60-80% of your daily caloric intake be derived from healthy fats. And avocados fit the bill.
The American Heart Association’s recent research states that when you consume a healthy diet that is rich in heart-healthy, cholesterol-supporting monounsaturated fats, you might be able to support the improvement of compromised cholesterol levels.
Furthermore, monounsaturated fats tend to alter lipoproteins even better than most carbohydrate-based foods can. One of the problems with carbohydrate-based foods is that they can sometimes increase your triglyceride levels, but decrease your HDL levels.
Remember, HDL is your good cholesterol and you want those levels to remain high and healthy.
But monounsaturated fatty acids — like those found in avocados — could be a significant tool for ensuring a low lectin diet that can also support healthy cholesterol levels.6
As is the case with that yummy extra-virgin olive oil, avocados are very high in monounsaturated fats. That’s why an avocado a day might be great for your heart health (and your wellness in general).
Avocado Benefits For The Health Of Your Eyes
There are other benefits to eating an avocado once a day. For instance, avocados contain both zeaxanthin and lutein. These helpful compounds are also called carotenoids. They can make a big difference in your eye health. Here’s how: zeaxanthin and lutein can make their way through your blood-brain barrier and help keep the macular areas in your retina healthy.
Avocados contain well-over 100 mg of zeaxanthin and lutein per serving. Again, you want these compounds to fill your system and help protect the health of your eyes.7,8,9
Avocados are also lower in oxalates — a compound in many plant foods that can cause calcium to build-up and create stones in your urinary tract. Since avocados — unlike other plant foods — are low in oxalate content, they could support the health of your urinary tract.10
An Avocado A Day Keeps The Doctor Away
In the end, you can’t eat too many avocados. A great rule is to eat an avocado each day when you’re on a low lectin diet. And avocados are the exception to Dr. Gundry’s rule about in-season fruit in moderation.
You can eat avocados year-round. They’re quite low in their caloric content. And they’re versatile, too.
If you’re a smoothie lover, add a whole avocado to your favorite smoothies. The texture is so creamy it will feel like you added, well, actual cream. You can also add a hearty avocado mash to any meal — top a salad with mashed avocado mixed with garlic or cumin, lemon juice, and a little extra virgin olive oil.
You can make dips for chips, spreads for breads, or even a creamy dressing to drizzle over sweet potatoes or an omelet. Again, you can do almost anything with the magical avocado. So the next time you’re at the market, pick up a few avocados to get you through your week. You’ll be glad you did.