In some of my cookbooks and on my website, you’ll find
recipes for savory things like hummus and lentils. They’re packed with healthy
fiber and protein, but some Warriors who have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) say
they have trouble digesting these substances, and they cause flare-ups of their
Before I go into more details about the connection between
legumes and IBS, let me make one thing clear. The recipes and meal suggestions
I make are general recommendations that are healthy for most people. However,
being a Brain Warrior means knowing and optimizing your individual brain and
body. You need to use common sense and adapt the recipes and food lists to your
This goes for people with food allergies, as well as for
those with physical conditions, such as IBS. This condition involves the large
intestine and that can cause a variety of symptoms, including abdominal cramps,
diarrhea, constipation, boating, and gas.
3 Ways Legumes Cause Problems for IBS
1. Lectins: Legumes contain lectins,
carbohydrate-binding proteins found in a large number of plant foods. When
ingested by humans, these substances can cause biochemical changes to the cells
that line the intestines. These changes can contribute to poor absorption of
nutrients and leaky gut, which has been linked to IBS and causes many of the
same symptoms. Lentils are a softer bean and don’t have the same lectin
concentration as other beans, which makes them more easily digestible for most
people. However, if they bother you, eliminate them from your meal plan.
2. Phytic acid: Legumes also contain phytic acid,
which hinders digestions and can leach minerals from your body. This promotes
bloating and flatulence, two symptoms that are common in IBS.
3. FODMAPS: Legumes are considered FODMAPs, which
means they contain a type of short-chain carbohydrates that are hard to digest.
Most of us don’t have the enzymes in our guts that are needed to break down these
carbohydrates. People with IBS have even more trouble with FODMAPS, which can
cause uncomfortable and embarrassing digestive problems.
Alternatives to Legumes
If legumes exacerbate your IBS symptoms, then by all means, it’s
best to avoid them completely. Fortunately, there are many alternatives that
are just as delicious but that don’t cause gastrointestinal disstress. For
example, if hummus doesn’t agree with you, you can switch to dipping your
veggies in guacamole. Easy, right?
As always, it’s important to focus on what you can have, not on what you can’t have. So search out some alternatives and
Look for alternatives to legumes on my website and in The
Brain Warrior’s Way Cookbook. And take advantage of 21% off your
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