The Health Benefits Of Nightshades
And in fact, Waldron points out, many of the foods that fall under the nightshade designation which include not only vegetables but also spices like cayenne and paprika are typically rich in nutrients and antioxidants that have been shown to fight inflammation.
In addition, many nightshades offer a host of other nutritional benefits, says nutritionist Julie Upton, RD, cofounder of Appetite for Health. Here are just a few of the more commonly consumed nightshade vegetables and the perks you could be missing out on if you avoid them:
Eggplant: Like other dark-colored produce, the eggplants deep purple skin is an indicator of beneficial phytonutrients. The flesh is rich in fiber and provides a good dose of potassium and magnesium, two minerals that help with muscle and nerve function.
Tomatoes: Although best known as a top source of lycopene, an antioxidant that has been shown to help protect against cardiovascular disease and certain cancers, tomatoes are also an excellent source of vitamins C and K and beta carotene, which your body needs to make vitamin A.
Potatoes: Spuds get a bad rap as carbs, but theyre really nutritional all stars. At just around 100 calories, a medium Idaho potato has four grams of filling fiber and is high in blood pressure-lowering potassium, along with many other B-vitamins and trace minerals.
The Case For Eating Nightshade Vegetables
Criticism of nightshades is mostly unwarranted.
In fact, nightshades have many health benefits. For example:
- Tomatoes contain tomatine, a glycoalkaloid thats been shown to lower LDL cholesterol and reduce plaque in the arteries. Some studies suggest it may also inhibit cancer cell growth .
- Glycoalkaloids in purple potatoes may slow the growth rate of cancer cells .
- Capsaicin in peppers increases satiety and may help with weight loss among those with obesity .
- Eggplant is high in anthocyanin, which lowers risk for hypertension and coronary artery disease .
- Potatoes in general are nutrient-dense, filling, and cheap to buy.
In general, nightshades are high in fiber and antioxidants too.
Most people already fall far short of the recommended minimum 5 servings of vegetables per day. Eliminating these key foods in the diet may make it even more difficult to reach this goal and cause more harm than good in otherwise healthy people.
Summary: Nightshades are high in fiber, antioxidants and other beneficial compounds. They do much more good than harm in the diet.
Garrett Smith On Nightshades From Weston Price Web Site
If you suffer from inflammation, joint pain and cracking, avoiding nightshades will lessen your pain, whether or not the nightshades are the true source of the pain. Muscle pain and tightness, morning stiffness, poor healing, arthritis, insomnia and gall bladder problemsthese can all be caused by nightshades.
Nightshades can also cause heart burn or GERDa lot of people already know they react this way when they eat peppers or tomatoes.
Don’t Miss: What Does Arthritis In The Foot Feel Like
Side Effects Of Eating Nightshades
Unless youre intolerant to nightshades, you generally wont have any side effects from eating them.
If you are sensitive to nightshades, reactions often result in inflammation, which has a big impact on people with certain kinds of arthritis. It may take up to a day or two to occur. Stomach and digestive symptoms may also occur.
Work with your doctor and dietitian to plan a new diet if it turns out youre intolerant to tomatoes, eggplants, and other nightshades.
Myth: Nightshade Vegetables Worsen Arthritis Pain
Much of the online discussion concerns nightshade vegetables and arthritis, and the notion that eating these vegetables causes an increase in pain or inflammation. But no scientific evidence supports that theory. Im not aware of any studies in peer-reviewed journals that prove or disprove that they affect arthritis, says arthritis expert Mark Erwin, an assistant professor of orthopedic surgery at the University of Toronto. There are a lot of references to it, but the evidence is mostly anecdotal. Theres also no scientific reason to avoid nightshades even if you have arthritis, says Pamela Piotrowski, a registered dietitian at the Arthritis Society of Ontario. Many people have food intolerances. If you start to feel achy every time you eat tomatoes, then maybe, for you, tomatoes are a contributing factor. But even if your symptoms disappear after eliminating tomatoes, it would be hard to pinpoint that as the cause since many factors can affect arthritis.
Recommended Reading: Is Carrot Good For Arthritis
Do Nightshades Worsen Functional Digestive Symptoms
are those that cause symptoms without a clear medical cause.
Theyre not immediately dangerous but can significantly affect quality of life.
Examples include irritable bowel syndrome , bloating and heartburn.
Specific foods are known to trigger functional digestive symptoms. Elimination diets, like the low FODMAP diet, have shown great promise in relieving discomfort.
Nightshades are commonly reported to worsen IBS symptoms, but it would only be certain varieties, and only because of FODMAPs. Regular potatoes and tomatoes, for example, would have little impact.
Additionally, many reported nightshade chemicals do not always make IBS symptoms worse. Capsaicin has actually shown potential to dull pain receptors in the gut, improving pain symptoms.
In one small study, IBS patients who received red pepper powder in capsule form showed significant improvements in abdominal pain and bloating after 6 weeks of treatment .
But several of the volunteers either dropped out of the study or needed to adjust the dose due to abdominal pain. This suggests that not all with IBS tolerate red pepper powder, or that the dose should be individualized.
In other studies, capsaicin had very little effect either positive or negative .
These research conflicts suggest that diet should be individualized. Some with functional digestive symptoms may be sensitive to nightshades, while others may tolerate them well.
Is There A Link Between Nightshade Vegetables And Inflammation
Some people feel that eating foods from the nightshade family, also known as solanaceous vegetables, may make their arthritis worse. But research has shown that there is no link between inflammation and solanaceous vegetables.
Examples of nightshade vegetables include:
Its possible to have food allergies that are linked to the nightshade family, so if youre concerned about this, we recommend you speak to a healthcare professional.
Fruits and vegetables are packed with important vitamins and minerals that you need for a balanced diet. So, if you’re considering cutting them out, you should speak to a healthcare professional first.
Recommended Reading: Which Clinical Manifestations Are Characteristic Of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Best Vegetables For Arthritis
Going green and yellow and orange could be benefit your joints.
When you have arthritis, the produce section is one of the most important stops you can make in the grocery store. Vegetables are rich in antioxidants and other nutrients that protect against cell damage and lower inflammation throughout the body, including in your joints. When choosing vegetables, remember the more color the better, and variety is key.
Heres a guide to some of the vegetables that should color your plate every day.
Learn more about managing arthritis pain through nutrition and track your progress by downloading the free Vim app.
Get Expert Advice
The Difference Between Nightshade Fruits And Vegetables
Tomatoes are often thought of as being in the vegetable family due to their savory flavor, but they are actually a fruit. Fruit is an edible part of a plant that develops from a flower and contains seeds. Peppers and eggplant are also technically nightshade fruits.
Vegetables are any other edible part of a plant, like the roots, stems, or leaves. Potatoes are a nightshade vegetable, not a fruit.
Read Also: What Foods Should You Not Eat When You Have Arthritis
Are Tomatoes Bad For Arthritis
Can eating too many tomatoes lead to inflammation and arthritis symptoms? Not necessarily. But unfortunately, theres a persistent myth that tomatoes will make your arthritis symptoms worse.
Theres no evidence that diets where you cut certain foods out, also known as elimination or exclusion diets, helps osteoarthritis symptoms.
Theyve been shown to sometimes help people with rheumatoid arthritis symptoms. But what works for one person, may not work for another. So, its worth speaking to your healthcare team before cutting anything out.
If you have any type of arthritis you should try to eat:
- a balanced diet to get the vitamins and nutrients you need
- a more Mediterranean-style diet which includes fish, pulses, nuts, olive oil and plenty of fruit and vegetables
- more omega-3 fatty acids, for example from oily fish.
Although there are no diets or supplements that will cure your arthritis, some people do find that their condition is affected by what they eat and their exercise levels.
Whatever you choose to do, its important to strike a balance between medication and lifestyle changes.
Myth: They Cause Migraines
Linking nightshades to migraines is also without merit, according to Dr. Jonathan Gladstone, director of the Gladstone Headache Clinic and director of neurology at Cleveland Clinic Canada in Toronto. I am certain that headache experts internationally would be in agreement that there is no evidence that tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and potatoes cause migraines, he says.
The health benefits of nightshade vegetables far outweigh any risks, says Piotrowski. Tomatoes and peppers are amazing sources of antioxidants that lower the risk of cancer and heart disease potatoes are high in vitamin C and eggplant is a source of vitamin K. All are high in fibre. If you do want to eliminate them, make sure you get this nutritional value from other foods.
Next, learn why its important to eat colourful foods.
You May Like: What Specialist Treats Rheumatoid Arthritis
Belladonna: The Deadly Nightshade
While most of the members of this family are edible, some are poisonous or have poisonous components. The foliage of most of these plants is not edible and is dangerous if consumed. The infamous member of this family, Atropa Belladonna, also known as Belladonna or the “Deadly Nightshade,” is hallucinogenic.
Historically, Belladonna was used in witchcraft to make medieval witches feel as though they were flying. It’s also been used in crime stories as the source of intentional poisoning and murderous crimes. The word “nightshade” thus also conveys a sense of mysticism.
Individuals suffering from arthritis can be especially sensitive to nightshade vegetables.
Rheumatoid Arthritis Cured With Nightshade
A few months later, Susan came into my office, exclaiming she is pain free, and was off all the dreaded prednisone and methotrexate drugs.
I said , Hey thats Great !!! How did you do it?
Susan said,I eliminated Night-Shade vegetables from my diet. And now I am pain free.
Tom, a Patient with Rheumatoid Arthritis On AZT- Recovery on Gluten Free, Nightshade Free Diet, Vitamin K, LDN and Testosterone
Tom, a 46 year old gentleman with severe incapacitating pain and swelling in the joints arrived in my office with a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis. Tom had already been seen by multiple rheumatologists, and had been prescribed AZT, the immune suppressive drug called Azathiaprine. However, this drug was not helping his arthritis. Instead, it was causing severe muscle weakness, a well known adverse effect of the AZT drug which is a mitochondrial toxin.
On examination, Toms hands and knee joints were visibly swollen, and tender with active inflammation. He was able to walk and to get up from a sitting position with difficulty, indicating muscle weakness from the AZT drug.
Going Gluten Free, Nightshade Free
Tom was advised to go on a gluten-free and nightshade-free diet, and supplement with Vitamin K2 and Omega 3 Fish Oil. Toms serum testosterone was low, below 300, so he was given testosterone replacement, as well.
You May Like: Getting Rid Of Arthritis
Read Also: What Foods To Avoid For Arthritis Pain
Less Common Edible Nightshades
Tamarillo tomato tree plants produce a fruit that resembles a tomato, are less common nightshades, but also part of the family. They are sometimes used in salsas or made into jams and jellies.
Naranjilla plants are ones to look out for if youre from or travelling to Central or South America. These plants, which are exotic to Americans, Canadians and Europeans, are quite common to those in Latin America. The fruit is made into a juice called lulo, sherbert, wine and ice cream.
Pepino melons, common in the Andes, is often eaten fresh and tastes like a honey dew melon.
How To Know If You Are Sensitive To Nightshades
While there has been no research confirming any impact of nightshade foods on arthritis, it is important that you avoid any food that worsens your symptoms, whether they are nightshades or not.
If your symptoms improve after eliminating a specific food from your diet and worsen when you start eating the food again, it could be indicative of a food allergy or intolerance. Be sure to talk to your doctor about such a pattern if you notice it.
Also Check: What To Do For Arthritis In Toes
Substitutes For Common Nightshade Vegetables
If you decide to eliminate nightshades long-term, youll be missing out on the nutrients they provide.
However, there are plenty of other foods to choose from that provide many of the same nutrients and health benefits.
Here are a few changes you can make to eat healthy while avoiding nightshades:
- Switch to sweet potatoes. Switching from white potatoes to sweet potatoes will help you avoid nightshades and provide much more vitamin A.
- Use pesto. Instead of tomato sauce in pizza and pasta, green pesto is a delicious alternative that should not contain nightshades. Red pesto usually contains tomatoes and should be avoided if trying to eliminate nightshades.
- Consume citrus fruits. Many nightshadess contain vitamin C, but citrus fruits like oranges, tangerines, and grapefruits are also excellent sources.
- Eat more leafy greens.Leafy green vegetables like spinach, kale, and collard greens are great sources of many vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber.
If you still want to eat nightshades but would like to lower their alkaloid content, you can accomplish this by peeling your potatoes, limiting green tomatoes, and fully cooking these vegetables.
Eliminating nightshades means missing out on some important nutrients. However, there are many other nutrient-rich foods you can try.
Rheumatoid Arthritis: Nhs On Common Signs And Symptoms
We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info
The UK sees more than 10 million people struggling with the painful diagnosis. The inflammation in the joints, characteristic for arthritis, can cause uncomfortable signs like pain. From stiffness to achy joints, this pain often affects your daily life.
Recommended Reading: Is Hemp Oil Good For Arthritis Pain
Search For Rheumatologists Near You And Schedule Your Next Appointment Today
Dietary choices are always important to overall health, but if you have arthritis, the foods you choose can have a surprising impact on your joint health. You may find some arthritis trigger foods cause pain, stiffness, and swelling, while others actually alleviate your symptoms.
There are several common trigger foods to avoid if you have arthritis. For happier, healthier joints, try these simple food swaps.
Add Nuts If Youre Not Allergic
Nuts are a debated food group. Some consider them as fruits and others consider them as vegetables. For the sake of this, were going to include them as a vegetable. Theyre too beneficial to overlook.
If youre not allergic to nuts, then they are certainly worth adding to your rheumatoid arthritis-struggling body. Theyre rich in vitamin E and fiber, which weve already considered. However, theyre also full of omega 3 fatty acids.
Youll usually hear of omega 3 when talking about oily fish. Sure enough, oily fish is something that you want to add to your diet regularly, but you can get too much fish. With nuts, you just need a handful a day, and you will get some super benefits.
Omega 3 fatty acids have been proven to reduce inflammation considerably. They work extremely well within the brain, helping to take some of the pressure off the pain receptors. Your body doesnt get the same type of pain messages that they have in the past. Its possible to reduce the inflammation within 6 weeks by adding nuts in regularly.
Recommended Reading: How To Ease Arthritis Pain In Fingers
Don’t Miss: Is Mushroom Bad For Arthritis
Dietitian Sheds Light On Nightshade Vegetables
If youve been hearing about nightshades in conversations about a healthy diet, you may be left wondering whether these plants are actually beneficial for you.
The most common edible nightshades are the tomato, potato, eggplant, bell pepper and chili pepper. Some diets claim that nightshades are inflammatory and should be avoided. This idea is rooted in the fact that nightshades are a large family of plants that contain a chemical compound called alkaloids. In extremely high doses, some alkaloids can make inflammation worse or be poisonous. Fortunately, thats not the case for the edible nightshades youre picking up in the produce aisle.
The nightshade foods are very nutritious, available at the grocery store and easy for people to use to prepare a healthy meal, says Athena Nofziger, a dietitian for the Samaritan Cancer Program, who counsels patients during and after cancer treatment about healthy diet choices.
Two Health Problems With The Nightshades:
1) Muscle Spasm, Pain Tenderness Inflammation
The NightShades contain drug-like substances including solanine in potato and eggplant, tomatine in tomato, nicotine in tobacco, and capsaicin in garden peppers. These drugs may cause paralytic-like muscle spasm, aches, pains, tenderness, inflammation, and stiff body movements.
Read Also: What Can I Do For Arthritis Pain
Are They Harmful For People With Autoimmune Diseases
Although nightshade vegetables are a rich source of nutrients, many people claim theyre harmful and should be avoided.
The majority of these claims seem to center around a group of substances found in nightshades called alkaloids.
Alkaloids are nitrogen-containing substances typically found in the leaves and stems of nightshades. Theyre often very bitter and function as a natural insect repellent.
But the edible portions of these plants contain some alkaloids, too. Consequently, many people with autoimmune diseases eliminate nightshades from their diets, believing they contribute to their health problems.
However, research has yet to show that nightshade vegetables contribute to autoimmune diseases.