Toxicity of legumes antinutrients

Dangers of legumes antinutrients

Can eating legumes be toxic because of its antinutrient content?

It is well known that eating undercooked legumes can cause poor digestion due to difficulty digesting starches or raw or undercooked vegetable protein.

But in addition, undercooked legumes can cause poisoning due to their antinutrient content.

Are poisonings with legumes antinutrients very dangerous?

Legumes in a market

Fortunately, these types of poisonings are not fatal, but they do produce strong gastrointestinal symptoms, such as abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, which can be very painful in case of people with digestive problems, delicate stomach, gastritis, ulcer, diarrhea problems , constipation, leaky gut syndrome, allergies, irritable bowel, intestinal disease, etc.

Possible poisoning and discomfort are more likely with legumes that contain more antinutrients, such as dried beans (beans) or undercooked soy beans.

In Spain, in 2003 there was a poisoning in a school due to the ingestion of mashed beans that were poorly cooked. The poisoning affected 70 students between 6 and 11 years old. Recall that beans contain, in addition to protease inhibitors and other antinutrients, many lecithins (phytohematoglutins).

Do legumes inflame the intestine?

There are some myths such as legumes inflaming the intestine because they have many antinutrients. It is false, as has been explained, that, since all  legumes “have many antinutrients” , this inflames the intestine, as is wrongly supported by some theories of paleo or paleodiet diet.

These vegetables, especially lentils, chickpeas and peas, have very few antinutrients and disappear almost entirely with soaking and cooking. Being strictly paleo, we could not consume most vegetables, such as carrots and fruits, because all of them have gone through the genetic improvement of agriculture.

Must we avoid eating legumes because of their antinutrients content?

There is no scientific or logical reason not to consume legumes in the diet, but quite the opposite. In addition to being very beneficial, for human health, eating legumes is very organic.

Despite this, unfortunately, its consumption among the population is much lower than desired.

There is no doubt that eating legumes every day is not harmful, but can be very nutritious and healthy. It is also not true that they give a lot of gases, since  the intestinal flora adapts. These foods are very healthy and should eliminate any doubt that may decrease their consumption

Related information:

What are legumes antinutrients?

Types of legume antinutrients

punto rojo More information on antinutrients

This article was endorsed by Elisenda Carballido - Dietitian nutritionist. Postgraduate in Phytotherapy and master in Nutrition and Metabolism.
Written by Editorial Botanical-online team in charge of content writing

29 January, 2024

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