Do Sweet Potatoes Have Lectins?
Lectins are a protein that is found in many different types of food. Not every food that contains lectin (or protein for that matter) will cause a negative reaction, so the question then becomes, do sweet potatoes have lectins that will cause you problems?
Human Reactions To Lectins In Sweet Potatoes
Research indicates that lectins in sweet potatoes are very unlikely to cause food sensitivity reactions (which is essentially what everyone worries about when avoiding lectins). Potatoes however are different.
Lectins In Common Foods And Their Blood Type Specificity
Agglutination = + | No agglutination = -
|Common Name||Species Name||Part used||A||B||AB||O|
|Sweet potato||Ipomoea batatas||Tuber||-||-||-||-|
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Lectins In Sweet Potatoes Vs. Potatoes
While sweet potatoes and potatoes are both root vegetables, potatoes are nightshades and sweet potatoes are not.
Potatoes are a nightshade in the Solanaceae family. Other nightshades include peppers, tomatoes, and eggplant. Sweet potatoes, however, are in the Convolvulaceae family. Yams are commonly called sweet potatoes and vice versa, however, are a different species as well.
Nightshades like potatoes are a common food sensitivity, containing lectins that often can set off unwanted negative reactions.
Sweet potatoes have significantly fewer anti-nutrients and again, are not a lectin that often causes difficulties and are considered safe for a lectin avoidance diet. Yams are also a safe choice in a lectin-free diet.
Benefits Of Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes have many varieties including purple, garnet, and the common deep orange colored variety.
They are great sources of Vitamin A. Vitamin A requires conversion processes within the body to become usable Vitamin A. Adding a healthy fat source to your meal with fat-soluble vitamins like Vitamin A can help increase absorption and assimilation. This is one reason that some people choose to add fats to their sweet potatoes like grass-fed butter or coconut oil. It has been said that around 3-4 grams of fat can be used to one cup of sweet potatoes for better Vitamin A absorption.
Sweet potatoes also contain manganese, Vitamin B, healthy minerals, and anti-oxidants. Furthermore, they contain large amounts of potassium that rival even bananas. It's been said that one cup of sweet potatoes has twice as much potassium as a single medium-sized banana.
Another benefit of sweet potatoes can be seen in a study that showed that purple sweet potatoes contain something called anthocyanins which induced Nrf2-mediated antioxidant enzymes. This was shown to help protect the liver and reduce inflammation by inhibiting nuclear factor kappa B.
Should I Avoid Eating Sweet Potatoes?
Ultimately, sweet potatoes are a great starch option for people on lectin avoidance diets or who are limiting grains and are very unlikely to cause negative reactions. So if you are wondering, "do sweet potatoes contain lectins?", there is good news.
The lectins in sweet potatoes are very unlikely to cause food sensitivity reactions.
If a person does have negative reactions to sweet potatoes, however, it is probably not related to lectins but still related to having some sort of gut problems.
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