Problems Caused by Seeds

Appears in
On Food and Cooking

By Harold McGee

Published 2004

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Seeds are not perfect foods. Legumes in particular contain defensive chemicals— lectins and protease inhibitors—that can cause malnourishment and other problems. Fortunately, simple cooking disarms these defenses. The fava bean contains amino-acid relatives that cause serious anemia in susceptible people, but both the bean and the susceptibility are relatively rare. Two other problems are more common.