Why No Legumes in PCOS Diet
by Kyra Walton
I don't understand still why legumes, such as peas and peanuts are not recommended, in addition to grains such as corn. Is it just because pesticide exposure? What if they are organic and grown in my own garden? What if they are organic-grown peanuts still in the shell?
Ed. Note: Good question. There are numerous considerations.
1) If you have PCOS and are insulin resistant, refined legumes are not advisable because they may represent a source of refined carbohydrate that worsens blood sugar and insulin problems.
2) Legumes contain "lectins", which are molecules that attach themselves to other molecules in your body. This is usually not a good thing. Different lectins in different legumes can affect people differently. For example, certain lectins can cause your red blood cells to form clumps. If you are blood type A and eat a bowl of lima beans, you red blood cells are likely to clump up, thus creating a health problem that didn't exist before.
Lectins may also interfere with hormone function (such as insulin) and may also trigger an immune response.
Components of soy can affect estrogen activity and thyroid hormone function.
3) There is always the issue of pesticides, herbicides and fungicides in grains and legumes. You can't see or smell these contaminants. So you have no way of knowing how much of these chemicals you are consuming.
However, it's a whole different thing if you grow your own legumes such as peas. In this case, I would say legumes are quite OK if you are growing them yourself, assuming that the particular legume does not have lectins which cause trouble for your blood type.
4) Soybeans may contain high levels of phytates, which bind to minerals and thus impair their absorption. They may -- or may not -- be a problem for a particular individual.
5) Eating fresh peas from your garden is far, far superior to eating peanuts you bought in the supermarket.
6) If you're going to eat peanuts, raw organic ones in the shell are the best choice.
7) Consider that most of us eat enormous quantities of grains and legumes, primarily corn, wheat and soy. We are not genetically designed to be seed eaters. All of these are seeds. What we need to eat more of is vegetation. Have you eaten your recommended five servings of vegetables today?
8) We're not saying that legumes are "bad". We're saying that people are affected differently by eating legumes. You may be one of those individuals who can eat a substantial quantity of legumes. We're also saying that highly processed legumes are not your best choice.
Whether you have PCOS or not, you'll want to be sensitive to which legumes agree with you and which don't. Legumes are only a portion of your diet. A limited portion.
Some people should have few or no legumes or only certain specific legumes. Others have more freedom to choose.
If you have rather severe symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome, it may advisable to minimize (or even avoid legumes) and replace the legumes with vegetables until your symptoms improve.
There are no hard and fast rules. Use your judgment and common sense.