The Defensive Toxins of Plants – Raw green vegetables should NOT be a staple

Mandragora Mandrake. Scanned from 15th century manuscript the Tacuinum Sanitatis 1474
Mandragora Mandrake. Scanned from 15th century manuscript the Tacuinum Sanitatis, 1474

“The widespread occurrence of toxic substances in plants must have greatly restricted their usefulness as food for primitive man.” Toxic substances in plants and the food habits of early man. by Leopold & Ardrey (1972)

“Some plants have specific “pests,” such as insects, that have adapted to be resistant to that plant’s toxins, but if the plant and its predator are to survive, there has to be a balance between the plant tissue’s digestibility and its toxicity. Injury of a plant stimulates it to make increased amounts of its defensive chemicals.

A particular plant will have a variety of defensive chemicals, with specific functions. Underground, the plant’s roots and tubers are susceptible to attack by fungi and nematodes. The leaves, stems, and seeds are susceptible to attack by insects, birds, and grazing animals. Since the plant’s seeds are of unique importance to the plant, and contain a high concentration of nutrients, they must have special protection. Sometimes this consists of a hard shell, and sometimes of chemicals that inhibit the animal’s digestive enzymes. Many plants have evolved fruits that provide concentrated food for animals, and that serve to distribute the seeds widely, as when a bird eats a berry, and excretes the undigested seed at a great distance. If the fruit were poisonous, it wouldn’t serve the plant’s purpose so well. In general, the plant’s most intense toxins are in its seeds, and the fruits, when mature, generally contain practically no toxins. Roots contain chemicals that inhibit microorganisms, but because they aren’t easily accessible by grazing animals and insects, they don’t contain the digestive inhibitors that are more concentrated in the above-ground organs of the plant.

The toxins of plants include phenols, tannins, lectins/agglutinins, and trypsin-inhibitors, besides innumerable more specific metabolic inhibitors, including “anti-vitamins.” Unsaturated fats themselves are important defenses, since they inhibit trypsin and other proteolytic enzymes, preventing the assimilation of the proteins that are present in seeds and leaves, and disrupting all biological processes that depend on protein breakdown, such as the formation of thyroid hormone and the removal of blood clots.

Generally, fruits, roots, and tubers provide a high concentration of nutrients along with low concentrations of toxic antimetabolic substances.” Raymond Peat, PhD., Vegetables, etc.—Who Defines Food?

“Plant defense against herbivory or host-plant resistance (HPR) describes a range of adaptations evolved by plants which improve their survival and reproduction by reducing the impact of herbivores. Plants can sense being touched, and they can use several strategies to defend against damage caused by herbivores. Many plants produce secondary metabolites, known as allelochemicals, that influence the behavior, growth, or survival of herbivores. These chemical defenses can act as repellents or toxins to herbivores, or reduce plant digestibility.” Plant defense against herbivory

“I think far too little attention is being given to the effects of abnormal and stressful growth conditions on the plants’ natural defense systems. Plants normally synthesize some toxins and inhibitors of digestive enzymes to discourage attacks by bacteria, fungi, insects, and other predators. When a plant is injured or otherwise stressed, it produces more of the defensive substances, and very often they communicate their stress to other plants, and the resulting physiological changes can cause changes in seeds that affect the resistance of the progeny. (Agrawal, 2001).” Raymond Peat, PhD., Milk in context: allergies, ecology, and some myths

1. Characterization of cross-reactive bell pepper allergens involved in the latex-fruit syndrome. (2004)
2. Class I chitinases as potential panallergens involved in the latex-fruit syndrome. (1999)
3. Cloning and molecular characterization of the Hevea brasiliensis allergen Hev b 11, a class I chitinase. (2002)
4. Isolation and characterization of major banana allergens: identification as fruit class I chitinases. (1999)
5. Latex-fruit syndrome. (2003)
6. Plant defense-related enzymes as latex antigens. (1998)
7. The latex and food allergy connection. (2000)
8. The latex-fruit syndrome. (2002)
9. The role of plant panallergens in sensitization to natural rubber latex. (2001)
10. Transgenerational consequences of plant responses to herbivory: an adaptive maternal effect? (2001)
11. FOOD AS MEDICINE – Foods that heal, EastWest Healing
12. Good Fats vs Bad Fats: Polyunsaturated Fats, EastWest Healing
13. How to detox your body: Learn how to detox your body to lose weight with food, EastWest Healing
14. Ray Peat on getting calcium in the diet, green vegetables, milk.

15. Ray Peat on DIM and estrogen and cruciferous vegetables.
16. Ray Peat on calcium and magnesium from leafy greens. How much greens to get calcium on a vegan diet.
17. Ray Peat on how to correct magnesium deficiency with thyroid. Leafy greens.
18. Juicing: Don’ts and Don’ts of Juicing, EastWest Healing
19. Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids: Reference Page

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