Intake of lentils is generally safe for many. However, lentils also contain compounds like trypsin inhibitors and anti-nutrients. These compounds include phytic acids that may bind to minerals like zinc, calcium, and iron and reduce their absorption in the body. Tannins and lectins are other natural compounds that may prevent the absorption of certain nutrients if consumed in excess.
Lentils Side Effects
The anti-nutrient content of lentils may decrease if they are soaked in water. Intake of lentils in higher amounts may also cause constipation and flatulence. They may even cause allergic reactions due to the presence of Len c 1 and 2 allergens. However, more studies are warranted to further understand these side effects.
Lentils are edible, gluten-free legumes with high protein content. They are rich in dietary fiber, low in calories, and contain several bioactive compounds. All these components are responsible for the immense health benefits of lentils.
The intake of lentils may improve heart health, support the digestive system, be beneficial during pregnancy, act against tumor cells, and manage blood sugar levels. However, excess intake of lentils may cause some side effects. They may prevent the absorption of nutrients and cause constipation and flatulence. Hence, limit the consumption of lentils to reap their maximum benefits.
Do lentils have any downsides?
Lentils can be a great addition to nearly anyone’s diet, but lentils (along with all legumes and some other foods such as whole grains, seeds, and nightshade vegetables) do contain lectins—a type of plant protein that some health experts, including Steven Gundry, M.D., say those who have sensitivities are better off avoiding. According to Gundry, lectins may promote inflammation and damage the gut in those individuals, contributing to conditions such as IBS and brain fog.
These side effects may not occur in everyone, though, so your best bet is to assess how you feel after eating lectin-containing foods like legumes. If you consistently feel sick, consider scaling back or eliminating lectins. If you feel OK, you’re probably in the clear. You can also drastically reduce the lectin content of legumes and grains by cooking them in a pressure cooker.