mìsula® magazine


WHAT IS PHYTOHEMAGGLUTININ AND SHOULD YOU EAT IT ?

Because the weather is getting colder and an even colder winter approaches, we’ll probably be leisurely slow- cooking soups and maybe even whole meals in crock pots. Foods cooked this way are delicious and it makes meat extra tender, too. But some caution should be used. Depending upon what foods you place in them, you could become sick and necessitate medical attention. Let’s look at why.

What is Phytohemagglutinin? Phytohemagglutinin is the Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious of plant proteins: a lectin; but without a song to accompany its pronunciation, it’s also a mouthful to speak. Gratefully, scientists call it PHA, for short. It’s found mostly in red kidney beans and other legumes as well as found in the following foods in varying degrees: Squash; Nightshade vegetables, such as eggplant, peppers, potatoes, and tomatoes; Fruit, although in-season fruit is allowed in moderation; Red and White Kidney Beans; Green beans; Fava beans; Black beans; Pinto Beans; Jack Beans; Navy Beans; Spotted Beans; Soybeans and Mung Beans Chickpeas. Here are some reasons PHA can harm your health:

– The PHA in red kidney beans can be responsible for something called “red kidney bean poisoning” which results from eating undercooked or raw red kidney beans. Eating only 4 of them raw will cause diarrhea, severe nausea, and vomiting. It’s toxic and it’s serious.

– PHA can and will reduce your nutrient absorption when foods containing it are not processed and cooked properly.

– PHA can cause red blood cells to clot.

– PHA can cause inflammation and impact diseases like celiac disease and rheumatoid arthritis.

What can we do? There are some things we can do to limit the amount of lectin in our diets and still consume delicious meals full of lectin containing vegetables, but crockpots are out. Because slow cookers and crock pots do not emit enough heat to eliminate lectin, we are warned against using them for cooking any foods containing too much lectin. There are ways food can be prepared to decrease lectin in the foods we eat, such as:

– Boil PHA laden foods first

– Fermentation

– Peel before cooking

– Remove seeds before cooking

– Use a pressure cooker

– Soak red kidney beans for at least 5 hours before coking

How does cooking decrease the toxicity of PHA in certain foods? Cooking breaks down some plant starches into simpler carbohydrates. In the chemistry of cooking, lectins attach to carbohydrates and are removed from the body before they cause any negative effects. It should be noted that most of the research on lectin has been on single lectins and not studies in the foods that contain them. Also, much of the testing has been either on animals or in the lab. Still, there are enough human studies to warrant caution and take preventative measures when eating them. (By Jayne B. Stearns from LivePast100Well.com)