Nutrition Diva explains whether beans might contain a hidden hazard.
A. Lectins are proteins produced by most plants as a sort of natural pesticide. When consumed in sufficient quantity, lectins are irritating to the digestive tract—and this discourages insects and other animals from over-feeding on the plants. Lectins can also cause digestive problems in humans (to a plant, humans are just really big pests!) and it is true that legumes contain relatively high concentrations of lectins. However, cooking legumes (as well as soaking, sprouting, and/or fermenting them) renders the lectins largely harmless. Seeing as dried beans and lentils aren’t really edible unless they’ve been cooked or sprouted first, I think the problem pretty much takes care of itself.
Related Content: Should You Soak Your Grains?
Beans image courtesy of Shutterstock