What are nightshade vegetables?
Nightshades are botanic plants from the Solanaceae family. Some are edible and some are not safe for consumption and can be poisonous. The belladonna plant is a sample of one of the deadly nightshades. Here is a list of the nightshades:
- Bell peppers
- Bush tomato
- gooseberry (also known as ground cherries—not to be confused with regular cherries)
- Garden huckleberry (not to be confused with regular huckleberries)
- Goji berries
- Hot peppers (examples chili peppers, jalapenos, red pepper, cayenne, etc.)
- Potatoes (white not sweet potatoes)
Tobacco which is found in cigarette and chewing tobacco are also considered nightshades.
Who should avoid nightshades?
Nightshades can be healthy and very nutritious to some, but can cause inflammation for others. Some people have confirmed that these nightshades contain solanine. It is a chemical which can aggravate inflammation and/or arthritis. This has not been confirmed by the Arthritis Foundation. Some nightshades produce other types of alkaloids and glycoalkaloids. They which are naturally occurring pesticides that prevent them from being eaten by insects and pests.
People that have an allergy, a food sensitivity, or a histamine intolerance are often recommended to avoid nightshades. Based on the weight of evidence, there’s no good reason to eliminate nightshades in those who are otherwise healthy. The best way to test and/or diagnose a nightshade intolerance or allergy is to remove them from the diet temporarily. Try substituting nightshades with alternative fruits and vegetables and give your body time to recover.
Of course, if you do not suffer from allergies to them or are not sensitive to nightshades there’s no reason you should eliminate them from your diet. In fact some these nightshades offer have great health benefits. Some of the health benefits of nightshades are:
- Potato: high in fiber, which helps regulate digestion and prevent heart disease, high in potassium, a mineral that’s useful for controlling blood pressure, and low in fat.
- Tomato: low calorie, low carb, high in Vitamin C, and other vitamins, and contain an antioxidant called lycopene. Lycopene has been shown to have heart, blood pressure, prostate, osteoporosis, skin and other health benefits.
- Bell peppers: high vitamin C and other vitamins and antioxidants.
- Eggplant: rich in iron, high in fiber, low in soluble carbohydrate
- Goji berries: high in vitamin A, full of antioxidants, high in protein and fiber.