Science

Are Vegetables Bad For You? (The Truth Behind Anti-Nutrients)

Yaseen Sadan
3 months ago
Are Vegetables Bad For You? (The Truth Behind Anti-Nutrients)

We live in a world where vegetables are considered perfect little angels. Say anything wrong about them, and it’s considered blasphemy. The truth is that vegetables can cause health problems and could lead to severe complications if left untreated.

Today we’ll be diving into the truth behind vegetables, what anti-nutrients are, and what health problems they might cause.

Plants Don’t Like Being Eaten

Some vegetables are harmful, as they contain natural toxins, which are hard-to-digest sugars, and this may cause gastronomical diseases. 

Vegetables are carriers of many pesticides and contaminants; though you wash your food items, complete removal of these pesticides, insecticides, and chemicals is impossible. Several studies suggest that these chemicals cause several health problems. 

Living things don’t like being eaten. We have this extreme desire to live long lives and pass our genes onto the next generation. Plants are no different.

If someone tries to eat us, we can fight them or run away. Plants don’t have this privilege.

Plants are great chemists. They will produce chemicals that deter predators from eating them, ensuring their survival. An example of this is photosensitizers. These are chemicals plants have that make predators sensitive to light. And in 2013, five girls aged 7 to 11 experienced second-degree burns due to photosensitizer produced by limes.

Now we know that plants don’t like being eaten and will protect themselves through creative chemistry. But should we be worried?

We need to understand the health problems associated with the consumption of vegetables;

What are Anti-Nutrients, and Should We Be Worried?

Anti-nutrients are compounds produced by plants for self-defense. These anti-nutrients interfere with the absorption of nutrients like iron, calcium, and zinc, leading to nutrient deficiencies, inflammation, and other related problems.

Antinutrients might cause leaky gut or autoimmune disease. When you mainly consume animal products with some plant foods, you might not face such health problems. But, if you consume lots of spinach smoothies and other anti-nutrient rich foods, it can lead to serious damage over time because of the anti-nutrients. Spinach has a high concentration of oxalate in it; a high amount of oxalate leads to the formation of kidney stones and kidney damage.

Types of Anti-Nutrients

The main anti-nutrients are;

  • Gluten
  • Lectin
  • Oxalates 

Gluten

Gluten is an indigestible protein found in grains like wheat, barley, rye. It causes serious health problems to people who have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.

Experts suggest acid reflux, irritable bowel syndrome, skin problems, allergies, and even neurological problems like brain fog and depression on a gluten-free diet.

The reason many people have success with cutting out gluten is that 95% of people with celiac disease are undiagnosed. 

Even people who aren’t gluten sensitive can experience health problems by eating gluten because after eating something like bread, gluten ends up floating around in the small intestine since the body cannot digest it. Your gut perceives this as a threat and triggers inflammation to defend itself.

Inflammation is your body’s natural defense against threats, but it’s supposed to be temporary, not happening every time you eat. This is called chronic inflammation, and this causes disease.

It’s easy to see how eating gluten for decades can cause inflammation, leading to chronic diseases like cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.

To remove gluten from your diet, avoid foods like;

  • Wheat
  • Rye
  • Bread
  • And processed foods that contain gluten. 

Lectins

Lectins are carbohydrate-binding proteins produced by plants. This is one of the main antinutrients which causes several health problems.  

Lectins cause severe immune responses in the insects that eat them, leading to paralysis. In humans, they damage intestines because they’re attracted to the sugar in our cells, which causes cell damage and even cell death.

Lectins bind to a special sugar called sialic acid, found in the gut, nerve endings, and brain. This can lead to brain fog because your brain is clogged full of leptins, disrupting regular cellular communication.

A study published in 2016 revealed that, when lectins are consumed, they travel to the gut and are not absorbed or appropriately digested.  They get transported to the brain, where they bind to certain hormones such as the pleasure hormone and dopamine. This is one of the reasons for dopamine dysregulation leading to depression.

Other damaging effects caused by lectins include;

  • They bind to insulin receptors
  • Interferes with protein digestion
  • And it blocks sugar from getting into the muscle cells

This interrupts the body’s normal cellular function leading to chronic inflammation, leaky gut, and insulin resistance.

If you’re suffering from depression, leaky gut, or autoimmune disease, avoid nightshade vegetables, legumes, and grains like rice, barley, and quinoa since they’re high in lectins. 

Oxalates

Oxalates or oxalic acid is a compound found in leafy greens, fruits, nuts, and seeds that binds with calcium and other minerals to form crystals. Once oxalates bind to a mineral, we call that an oxalate salt.

The two biggest problems oxalates cause is kidney stones and nutrient deficiencies.

Our bodies can break down and remove oxalates safely. Still, why are people getting kidney stones caused by oxalates? The bacteria that break down oxalates is called Oxalobacter Formigenes and taking antibiotics like Cipro destroys these bacteria.

In addition to killing essential bacteria, antibiotics like Cipro may cause hypoglycemia, increased chance of tendon rupture, and mental problems.

To increase the presence of Oxalobacter Formigenes in your gut, you need to take a good probiotic and eat some Greek yogurt. This will promote the growth of good bacteria and decrease your risk of kidney stones.

Also, small amounts of oxalates are produced by the liver to help get rid of excess minerals. But when 92% of people are nutrient deficient, the oxalates we eat can bind to and get rid of essential nutrients that our body needs like calcium, iron, potassium, and sodium.

Avoid high-oxalate foods like;

  • Spinach
  • Chocolate
  • Beans
  • Coffee 

Who Can Benefit From A Zero Anti-Nutrient Diet?

People who’re suffering from autoimmune disease, celiac disease, depression, and leaky gut can all benefit from removing all anti-nutrients from their diet. You’ll absorb more nutrients, lower inflammation, increase your dopamine levels, and heal the holes in your gut. 

How Do I Reduce and Avoid Anti-Nutrients?

There Are 3 ways of reducing anti-nutrients in your diet. 

  1. Soaking, 
  2. Fermenting, and 
  3. Boiling your vegetables

Soaking

Most people soak their beans and legumes in water before eating them. But they don’t soak them long enough. Beans and legumes need to be soaked for at least 12 hours before consumption. And this only decreases the number of anti-nutrients by 9%. This is an inefficient and time-consuming way of reducing the anti-nutrient content in your food.

Fermenting

Fermentation is a process that occurs when bacteria start digesting carbs in food.

Fermenting pre-soaked brown beans for 48 hours caused an 88% reduction in anti-nutrients. This is very time-consuming; after this method, we can still find the presence of some antinutrients.

Boiling

Boiling can degrade anti-nutrients like lectins, oxalates, and tannin.

Boiling peas for 80 minutes reduced lectins by 70% and tannin by 69%. Boiling also degrades some of the healthy nutrients. 

There is a better, quicker, and tastier way of completely removing anti-nutrients from your diet without having to soak something for 12 hours and boil them for another 80 minutes. That is by adapting to the carnivore diet! 

The Carnivore Diet Removes All Anti-Nutrients

The carnivore diet is the best way to get the essential nutrients with maximum health benefits. It’s quick and tasty. It has zero antinutrients and takes less time to prepare.

What Did Indigenous Groups Eat?

To get a clear understanding of what we should and shouldn’t eat, we must look at what indigenous groups ate.

Eskimos mainly ate reindeer, caribou, walruses, seals, and different types of fish. Noticed? I never mentioned plants. Eskimos rarely ate plants because it’s near impossible to grow them in the snow.

The San people ate foods like zebra, antelope, tortoise, and eggs. They also rarely ate plant foods since they contain fewer calories than animal foods and their lives depended on those calories.

Most of their calories came from animal foods, and when they ate plant foods, they soaked, boiled, and fermented it. This removed most of the anti-nutrients. Clearly, it’s unnatural to drink liters of spinach and kale smoothies since our ancestors never had access to blenders. 

Conclusion

Plants do contain antinutrients, which cause many health problems, and these health problems can be fatal also. Plants don’t like being eaten. Luckily, we can eat all our favorite foods like bacon and steak on the carnivore diet while staying healthy. 

Yaseen Sadan

Yaseen Sadan is a personal trainer turned professional copywriter and founder of Sell Using Words. He helps small businesses increase their leads and sales by writing SEO-friendly blogs, sales emails, landing pages, and lead magnets. Feel free to visit his website, add him on LinkedIn and check him out on Facebook.

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