In most Paleo diet articles and blogs you may have encountered, they tell you that legumes are excluded from any list of being an acceptable Paleo food along with grains, and processed foods. But what are legumes? Why is it these aren’t included in the Paleo diet food list as healthy fats like coconut and olive oil are?
The Paleo diet has taken dieting to a whole new level by introducing a unique choice of foods. Paleo reintroduced meat as the primary food, along with vegetables and fruit that are grown organically and were probably already present during the Paleolithic era.
There is, however, a certain kind of food that does not seem to fit into the Paleo lifestyle. The food we are talking about here is the humble legume.
If you are thinking of or are already on the Paleo diet, you may have wondered why legumes and lentils do not appear on any Paleo food list although most forms of it are included in other weight-loss diet plans. In fact, most if not all Paleo diet experts warn against the eating of these foods.
But before we talk about why legumes aren’t part of any Paleo plan, let’s talk more about what they are.
Legumes are beans, peas, lentils, soybeans, and peanuts. They consider many beans legumes. Legumes are the seeds or fruit from plants that make up the Fabaceae or Leguminosae groups. These plants are grown agriculturally and are known to be used for producing green manure. When it comes to this food, some are consumed whole after being cooked. Meaning you don’t just consume the seed but also the pod on which they grow. Then there are kinds of legumes that only the seeds are eaten after they have been dried.
As much as we want to assure you that there are beans that are acceptable for Paleo recipes. There isn’t any food that is classed as a legume that is accepted as being a Paleo food. Even today, when it comes to following the Paleo diet, you find that eating legumes is strictly forbidden. Though legumes contain plenty of fiber, protein, and other nutrients. There are two main reasons why they are not included in Paleo meals.
First is that this kind of food has been grown and developed through the use of agriculture processes. It is for this reason that grains are also excluded from the Paleo food pyramid. As you look more closely at these two types of foods, you will soon see how similar they are.
The second reason, and probably the most important, is that legumes contain dangerous amounts of Lectins, Phytoestrogens, Phytic acids, and Aflatoxins.
These are the nasty type of protein that binds carbohydrates with cell membranes. Lectins are the common culprit of damage to the small intestine, pancreas, and skeletal muscles. Though this type of protein is also present in some vegetables and fruit, the levels of it to be found in legumes are considerably higher. Sometimes, foods that are rich in a protein aren’t always healthy.
Phytic acid Or Phytate combines zinc and iron together, making it impossible for the body to absorb them. Although Phytate helps to prevent the build-up of heavy metals in the body, it also prevents it from using these minerals to keep the body healthy and functioning properly.
Phytoestrogens mimic the natural estrogen in our body, but it cannot carry out the same functions as estrogen does. Phytoestrogens are proven to cause more damage to the body than help it. Phytoestrogens cause hormonal imbalance in both men and women. They also link Phytoestrogens with fertility and thyroid problems.
This toxin is commonly found in peanuts but isn’t produced by the peanut itself. It is in fact produced by the mold that grows on the plant. It is a toxin that naturally contaminates peanuts and has been linked to women’s health problems and cancer and hepatitis B.
There are some other toxins and anti-nutrients to be found in legumes and lentils that can also prove detrimental to one’s health and well-being. Though legumes may well have been on a cavemen’s food list, the reasons above show why we shouldn’t eat them now. You need to be careful when choosing your Paleo foods to be free from toxins and other anti-nutrients you find in processed foods today.