Chef Marian here bringing you the Inside Dirt: Tomatoes. Beans. Peanuts. This blog is DOUBLE the size of my normal blog, but I can’t find anything to cut here… so enjoy a longer one today!
Recently, someone brought to my attention that a health guru told him not to eat tomatoes (something about the skin and seeds being bad) and beans (something about the lectin in the beans being bad for you. This kind of banter is more connected to the Paleo Diet. That’s where you will find people complaining about legumes. And then when I say do not eat peanuts, people think I’m ridiculous. But I did my research and you will find out why, in this article.
Let’s start with my motivation: I’m tired of all the stories and people not trusting anybody or anything because it seems like ‘the truth’ changes daily. We must have a basis to determine what we eat. And if it turns out that one of the foods was wrong, well ok. We’ll change it when we discover new information. Otherwise, we’ll just go crazy in the process and give up! Let’s start with facts and see how we feel after reading them.
So I researched Tomatoes, Beans and Peanuts to see what makes sense and how it actually applies to me.
Let’s start with Tomatoes.
Stylecraze says this: “The tomato is full of acids. So, the excessive consumption of tomato triggers various gastrointestinal disorders.
Ok. So it gives you heartburn. If that’s how your body works, do indeed take tomatoes out of your diet.
Tomatoes, especially the seeds of the vegetable, are rich in calcium and oxalate compounds. If you are already suffering from minor kidney problems, it will be really tough for your body to digest these elements. From a chefs viewpoint, it is important to mention here that 3 times the flavor of a tomato, are in the seeds.
And we are talking about people with existing kidney problems, not everyone or some of everyone. We are defining what all should eat, by what ‘few’ have a problem with. To quote Chris Rock: “That ain’t right”!
Diverticulitis is a medical condition in which the inner surface layer of the large intestine protrudes through the external muscular layer and these ‘diverticula’ or small pouches get inflamed due to infections. According to scientists, tomato seeds, being small, can get stuck in these out-pouchings and aggravate the condition”.
There are so many seeds including poppy and sesame seeds that can get stuck. A person with existing Diverticulitis is not every person, or even some of every person. You really have to dig deep to see how recommendations apply to you.
On the other hand, there are tons of benefits.
According to Medical News Today, “The benefits of consuming fruits and vegetables of all kinds, including tomatoes, are impressive. As the proportion of plant foods in the diet increases, the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer goes down”.
They say it is linked with cancer prevention, help keep your blood pressure healthy and that “The fiber, potassium, vitamin C and choline content in tomatoes all support heart health”.
In one forum they said: “The skins are the most nutritious since they have lycopene and help you prevent cancer”.
Everywhere I read and research, the most talked about problem with tomatoes is either acid reflux being created or eating too much of them can create all kinds of problems. But I did not see where regular consumption of tomatoes create problems. In fact, there are tons of benefits.
Now, keeping in mind that every ‘body’ is different, and not substituting what we have learned here for your own good common sense and what your doctor is telling you, I would say all food is an ‘experiment’ for you. The key is: eat something and pay attention to how your body reacts. If it makes you sleepy, then that particular food is not a good idea for you. If you pass poop of a different kind, not good for you. If it comes back up, not good for you.
Let’s move onto beans. I can tell you that as someone who uses beans and rice as a perfect protein, I was a little more than pissed off to hear beans are bad for you. And that’s why on my day off, I am sitting here researching, so that I can say “It ain’t so”.
Paleoleap, one of the first sites that comes up about beans (told you so…. the Paleo marketplace is all over this) and says: “Lectins are proteins found in almost all kinds of foods, but not all lectins are problematic. Different people react to different lectins, which is why, for example, some people are fine with eating members of the nightshade family, and other people react to them.
Potentially toxic lectins are highest in grains, legumes, and dairy. In the body, lectins damage the intestinal wall, contributing to leaky gut, with all its associated digestive and autoimmune problems”.
Well, I don’t eat dairy. One down. But I do eat grains and legumes, with so far little or no reaction to them.
Precision Nutrition says this: “GI distress happens because lectins can damage the intestinal lining. As food passes through the gut, it causes very minor damage to the lining of the GI tract”.
So it’s about quick repair and lectin getting in the way of that. They say that’s why grandma would soak the beans overnight, changing the water frequently (you can add baking soda, to speed up that process) – to get rid of the lectins. She really did not know – it was a recipe just passed down, generation to generation.
So the thing to watch out for is untreated high-lectin foods. And the thing to look for, (except in the case of red kidney beans) is sprouted beans and grains. And now you know why.
Self Hacked says: “Lectins are proteins that are found in every living organism, including viruses, bacteria, and pretty much all foods, to one degree or another -but most of them are harmless”.
Found in every living organism. And your body lets you know it. Just listen to it!
Are you having problems with dairy or gluten? Beans, soy or peanuts? Listen!
I will say that I occasionally eat peanuts or peanut butter. But I also know that peanuts aren’t good for you. Let’s pay attention to how our bodies react and also understand why to avoid certain foods.
Paleoleap agrees and explains why I rarely eat them: “Peanuts are probably the sneakiest type of legumes, if only because of their name. Like other legumes, peanuts are problematic because they contain lectins and phytic acid, but peanuts also bring a new guest to the party: aflatoxins. Aflatoxins aren’t actually part of the peanut itself; they’re produced by a mold that tends to grow on peanuts (as well as other non-Paleo crops like corn). This mold thrives on crops stored in warm, humid places, and it’s so difficult to eliminate that the FDA has declared it an unavoidable contaminant.
Organic or all-natural brands of peanuts and peanut butter aren’t any better …… some research has linked long-term consumption to aflatoxins with risk for diseases like cancer and hepatitis B”.
So there you have it! The beginning research of Tomatoes, Beans and Peanuts to understand why people may be saying don’t eat them, and how that applies to you. So grateful to understand and keep reminding myself that every ‘body’ is different and it’s my job (and yours) to figure out what we digest and what we don’t.
If you find this blog helpful, hook me up to your social media and email friends! It keeps a girl interested and working on discovering health facts and giving you some of the research!
Happy Healthy Eating,
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