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Dr. Gundry's Superfood to Eat in 2022

Discover the world-renowned doctor’s opinions about which foods to eat and which to avoid.

Last Updated: Jun 14, 2022
Superfoods

Dr. Steven Gundry is a well-known doctor and author who founded Gundry MD, a website dedicated to improving your health through diet, supplements, and nutrition information. He’s the author of the popular book The Plant Paradox, which discusses the danger of lectins, a protein found in many plants and animals.

While more scientific research is needed to back up Dr. Gundry’s claims about the dangers of lectins, some preliminary research does show the benefits of lectin elimination diets and the risks of consuming lectin in excess.

Read our guide to find out which superfoods Dr. Gundry suggests you introduce into your diet and which foods you should avoid to stay lectin-free.

Jump to:

What superfoods to eat
What are lectins?
Should you avoid lectins?
How to maintain a lectin-free diet
Dr. Gundry’s product line
Why you should trust us

What superfoods to eat

According to Dr. Gundry, the best superfoods to eat are those without lectin. Although his opinion on the dangers of lectin is controversial, he advocates for avoiding lectin in your daily diet, especially if you are gluten-intolerant. His list of recommendations includes superfoods that might be familiar to you with a few surprises.

Food pyramid

Dr. Gundry presents a food pyramid outlining foods you should consume often and those best eaten in moderation. He also includes a list of food to avoid.

Eat as much as you like

The bottom of the food pyramid includes foods you can enjoy anytime and in any quantity. They include approved fats, leafy greens, and cruciferous vegetables. These foods include extra virgin olive oil, sesame oil, coconut oil, avocados, lettuce, kohlrabi, spinach, seaweed, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and radish, among others.

Eat a limited amount

The next level of the pyramid includes foods enjoyed in small portions with each meal, such as nuts, flour alternatives, sorghum, millet, and resistant starch. You should avoid legumes altogether, but approved nuts include macadamia, walnuts, pistachios, pecans, coconut, hazelnuts, and chestnuts. Use coconut or almond flour instead of processed white flour, and enjoy resistant starches like green bananas or plantains.

Eat an even more limited amount

The next pyramid level also includes foods you should limit per meal. They include wild-caught seafood, pastured poultry, omega-3 eggs, and in-season fruits. Dr. Gundry also recommends some fruits that are always in season, including bananas, mangoes, papayas, and avocado.

Eat in moderation

Next, Dr. Gundry provides foods that should be consumed infrequently, including milk and alcohol. He recommends consuming Southern European cow, goat, sheep, and buffalo milk. If you decide to drink alcohol, stick with red wine, champagne, or dark spirits only once or twice weekly.

Eat in minimal amounts

Dr. Gundry suggests eating grass-fed, pasture-raised meat only once or twice weekly. These include bison, wild game, venison, boar, elk, pork, lamb, beef, and prosciutto.

Dr. Gundry also provides a comprehensive list of what foods to avoid altogether to maintain a healthy diet:

  • Refined starches
  • Sugar and sweeteners
  • Soy
  • Beans and lentils
  • Dairy (other than the dairy products listed above)
  • Seeds and legumes
  • Grains

He also recommends avoiding certain fruits and vegetables like peas, squash, tomatoes, melon, zucchini, peppers, and goji berries. And you should only use the approved oils listed above, avoiding grapeseed, corn, peanut, cottonseed, sunflower, and canola oils.

There are certain superfoods that Dr. Gundry says are important to add to your diet. These can be consumed daily and have various health benefits. They include:

  • Avocados
  • Certain nuts, including walnuts, macadamia, pine, and pistachios
  • Extra dark chocolate
  • Mushrooms
  • Sesame seeds and oil
  • Zen basil seeds

Below, we’ve outlined some of the health benefits of each superfood.

Avocados

Avocados are nutrient-rich and contain large amounts of potassium, magnesium, fiber, vitamins A and C, and folate, among others. Studies show that consuming avocados can help with cardiovascular health, weight management, and aging.

Walnuts, macadamia nuts, pistachios, and pine nuts

Nuts have been shown to provide antioxidants and reduce inflammation. They are also a good source of dietary polyphenols.

Extra dark chocolate

Eating one ounce per day of extra dark chocolate containing at least 72% cacao can benefit the cardiovascular system and provide antioxidants.

Mushrooms

Dr. Gundry explicitly recommends shiitake and maitake mushrooms. Mushrooms, in general, are a great source of prebiotics that help stimulate good bacterial growth in the gut.

Sesame seeds and oil

Sesame has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which can help prevent and reverse cardiovascular diseases.

Zen basil seeds

Basil seeds are high in protein, fiber, and minerals like potassium, calcium, and magnesium. They have shown to be a great source of antioxidants and may also have antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory effects, among others.

What are lectins?

Lectins are naturally occurring carbohydrate-binding proteins found in all plants and animals. They are most commonly found in legumes and grains, foods Dr. Gundry suggests avoiding altogether. While lectins are mostly harmless and can even be removed by cooking and boiling, some lectins are toxic to the human body, causing illnesses and even death.

When eaten in excess, lectins may cause:

  • Nutrient deficiencies
  • Digestive problems
  • Intestinal damage
  • Leaky gut
  • Autoimmune issues

Lectins like ricin and phytohaemagglutinin can be toxic. Ricin is a poison created from castor beans. It is unlikely that anyone would die unintentionally from ricin poisoning, as the castor beans must be processed in a particular way to make ricin.

Phytohaemagglutinin is a lectin in red kidney beans. If the beans are not cooked properly, consuming them can lead to kidney bean poisoning, which causes nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Properly cooking the beans reduces the lectin and makes the beans safe to eat.

Foods high in lectins

Legumes and grains aren’t the only foods high in lectins, but they are the foods Dr. Gundry specifically suggests eliminating from your diet. Here is a list of other foods that are high in lectins:

  • Peas
  • Lentils
  • Raw beans
  • Soybeans
  • Peanuts
  • Cashews
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Chia seeds
  • Tomatoes
  • Potatoes
  • Bell peppers
  • Eggplant
  • Milk
  • Wheat
  • Quinoa
  • Rice
  • Barley
  • Corn-fed animal meat
  • Grain-fed animal meat
  • Sugary snacks

Foods low in lectins

Dr. Gundry recommends a diet low in lectins by consuming the following foods:

  • Pasture-raised meat
  • Cooked sweet potatoes
  • Leafy green vegetables
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Asparagus
  • Celery
  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • Mushrooms
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Olives

Should you avoid lectins?

Although Dr. Gundry is a proponent of eliminating or reducing lectin intake, you may wonder if it’s vital to avoid lectins altogether. While we do know that excess levels of lectins can be toxic, your everyday diet generally won’t include enough lectins to be harmful. In fact, about 30% of the foods in a standard diet contain lectins.

There is not much scientific evidence to support the claim that eliminating lectins from your diet will make you healthier or help cure certain illnesses or diseases. More research must be done to substantiate the health benefits of eliminating dietary lectins. However, some research shows eliminating or reducing lectins can help those with:

Many of the foods containing lectins — whole grains, beans, nuts, fruits, and vegetables — are part of a well-balanced and healthy diet. Eliminating them may give you fewer options for eating well. Cooking and processing foods tend to reduce the number of naturally occurring lectins, which means you wouldn’t eat a toxic level of lectins in your everyday diet.

If you feel unwell and suspect your diet is the culprit, you should consult your doctor or a dietician. These professionals can help you determine if you have a food allergy, sensitivity, or intolerance. A radical shift in your diet — like eliminating foods with lectins — will not work for everyone living with digestive or other food-based issues.

How to maintain a lectin-free diet

If you decide that eliminating lectins from your diet is the right step for you, follow these three steps to reduce the number of lectins you consume:

  1. Cook food properly. Cooking food — especially beans — can drastically reduce the number of lectins in them. This may also include soaking, peeling, de-seeding, fermenting, boiling, or stewing foods to reduce lectins.

  2. Eliminate foods high in lectins. These foods include legumes, grains, nuts, seeds, dairy products, certain meats, and sugary snacks.

  3. Choose foods low in lectins. These foods include mushrooms, leafy greens, asparagus, celery, garlic, onions, and pasture-raised meat.

Is a lectin-free diet worth it?

There are no severe health consequences to a lectin-free diet. However, eliminating these foods from your diet can make it more difficult to achieve balanced nutrition, leading to some adverse health effects.

Eliminating whole grains, beans, and legumes — foods that are commonly considered part of a well-balanced diet — limits your nutrient intake. Because foods that are high in lectins are also typically high in fiber, you may find that a lectin-free diet results in changes to bowel habits or leads to digestive issues.

According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020-2025 (sponsored by the USDA), a well-balanced diet should include:

  • Vegetables of all types
  • Fruits
  • Grains
  • Dairy
  • Protein
  • Oils

About half of your grain intake should be whole grains, and protein should include meat as well as beans, peas, lentils, nuts, seeds, and soy. Dr. Gundry suggests eliminating many of these foods because of their high lectin levels.

Eating a balanced diet at every stage of your life can eliminate your risk of developing:

  • Diabetes
  • Iron deficiency
  • Asthma
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • High cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Obesity
  • Various cancers

If you think you may be sensitive to lectins, then a lectin-free diet may be worth it. The elimination of dietary lectins has been shown to help symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, autoimmune disorders, and multiple sclerosis, so this diet may be right for you if you live with those illnesses. Check with your doctor or dietician to ensure this is the right path for your health.

Dr. Gundry’s product line

Dr. Gundry offers a series of dietary supplements and other products to help maintain a healthy diet. The supplements fall into these categories:

  • Digestion
  • Energy
  • Prebiotics
  • Weight
  • Heart health
  • Immune support

Below, we outline the supplements that help with digestion, prebiotic support, and weight control. These supplements can be the most helpful to consider if you have decided to pursue a lectin-free diet. Visit Gundry MD for a complete list of all available supplements, including one of their best sellers, Energy Renew. Learn all about it in our full review.

Digestion

  • Lectin Shield: Reduces your intake of lectins, which can impact your digestive tract
  • Vital Reds: Improves gut health, energy, weight control, and appearance. Read our full review.
  • TotalRestore: Helps keep your gut lining healthy. Learn more in our full review.
  • Bio Complete 3: Improves gut health using pre-, pro-, and postbiotics. Check out our full review.
  • Primal Plants: Improves digestion, energy levels, and skin condition
  • Vitamin D 5000: Uses vitamin D to enhance bone strength and immunity
  • MitoX: Supports cellular mitochondria levels for boosted energy and overall wellbeing
  • 24 Strain Probiotic: Balances gut bacteria using a potent probiotic formula

Prebiotics

  • PrebioThrive: Improves gut health using five prebiotics
  • ProPlant Complete Shake: Provides protein for bone, muscle, and heart health
  • Heart Defense: Supports blood flow to boost energy and eliminate brain fog

Weight

  • TriTrim: Helps your body resist fat, sugar, and carb absorption
  • E-Balance: Balances hormones for improved weight control and focus
  • MCT Wellness: Boosts metabolism, energy levels, and focus

Food

Dr. Gundry also sells food products that can help contribute to a lectin-free diet rich in his recommended superfoods. These products include:

  • Riced Cauliflower
  • Pancake Mix (Homestyle)
  • Pancake Mix (Cocoa)
  • Polyphenol-Rich Olive Oil
  • Chef’s Select Organic Olive Oil
  • Coconut Chocolate Bars
  • Multi-Purpose Bread Mix
  • Lectin-Free Vegetable Broth
  • Popped Superfood Crisps (Sea Salt)
  • Popped Superfood Crisps (Cheddar)
  • Polyphenol Pearls
  • Honey Nut & Polyphenol Macadamia Bars
  • Sorghum Spaghetti
  • Shirataki Noodles
  • Pearled White Sorghum
  • Waffle Mix
  • Sorghum Crisp Chocolate Bars
  • Sesame Oil

Gundry MD also includes a listing of lectin-free recipes and free nutrition articles that discuss how to maintain a lectin-free diet, among other topics.

Why you should trust us

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Additionally, like all health-related content on this website, this review was thoroughly vetted by one or more members of our Medical Review Board for accuracy.