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Pulses, Purine, Nightshades and Brassias

Pulses, Purine, Nightshades and Brassias

  • Barb
  • Mar 20 2018

Pulses, Purine, Nightshades, and Brassicas

There are lots of "Stranger Things" when we start talking about food and nutrition. This article is intended to define a few of the more obscure terms that people have been asking about. Especially, for those going through the 8WW program, you will occasionally see these terms mentioned. I have included a few links if you are interested in learning more.

Pulses: Pulses are part of the legume family, but the term “pulse” refers only to the dried seed. Dry peas, edible beans, lentils, and chickpeas are the most common types of pulses. Pulses are very high in protein and fiber and are low in fat. They have a moderately high level of carbohydrates so eat these earlier in the day and limit to a couple of times a week.

Purines: You will see this term in the Metabolic Type Test in week 4 of the 8WW program. Purines are a type of chemical compound found in foods and drinks and are part of a normal western diet. For many people, these are part of a healthy diet. A small number of foods contain concentrated levels of purines, such as seafood, organ meats and alcoholic beverages, and especially beer. People who have trouble metabolizing purines, such as people with gout, are advised to limit consumption of these foods.

Nightshades: Members of the family Solanaceae, common nightshades include white (but not sweet) potatoes, eggplant, tomatoes, and peppers, both the eye-watering chilies and the sweeter bell peppers. The list of edible nightshade plants also includes any spices made from peppers, like paprika, red pepper flakes, and cayenne pepper (although black pepper is a different plant).The lectins in nightshades are gut irritants and while the vast majority of people have no problems with nightshades, they can cause serious problems for anyone struggling with an autoimmune disease, as well as some people who simply have a digestive sensitivity to them.

Brassicas: Brassicas are in the mustard family also known as cruciferous vegetables or cole crops. Almost all parts of some species have been developed for food, including the root (rutabagaturnip), stems (kohlrabi), leaves (cabbagecollard greenskale), flowers (cauliflowerbroccoli), buds (Brussels sproutscabbage), and seeds (many, including mustard seed, and oil-producing rapeseed). If you eat them raw, most of these vegetables have slightly bitter undertones, but cooking them brings out a very pleasant mild sweetness – think roasted cauliflower or kale fried in bacon fat. Their taste isn’t their only selling point, though: these vegetables are packed with nutrition, including a few particularly significant cancer-fighting compounds. On the other hand, they also aren’t right for everyone: several are high in FODMAPs carbohydrates, and anyone with impaired thyroid function might want to be wary of eating too much at once.