What’s the Deal with Nightshades?

About those nightshades…

And not the ones in your bedroom. These are a certain group of veggies in the “Solanaceae” family.

Nightshades include:

  • Tomatoes

  • Potatoes

  • Peppers

  • Eggplant

It reads like part of the grocery list for an Italian meal, I know. These are pretty common veggies in many cuisines. Before you get concerned, let’s stop and go over why we’re talking about nightshades.

Nightshades contain solanine – among many other constituents – which is an alkaloid that may exacerbate inflammation in the body. That doesn’t mean that everyone needs to avoid it. Those who may benefit include people with chronic inflammatory conditions, such as arthritis. Usually people notice a difference within a few weeks of avoidance, or even reduction.

Avoiding nightshades doesn’t have to be super strict – unless you’re avoiding them for a food allergy situation! Reducing how MUCH and how FREQUENTLY you consume nightshade veggies reduces the inflammation-exacerbating effect.

In addition, other good news is that there are plenty of alternate dishes and substitutes so you don’t have to miss your favorite food, just adjust how you prepare it. For example, sweet potatoes are an excellent alternative to regular white potatoes, and squash can be used instead of eggplant in many recipes.

As always, you are an individual and your own doctor can guide you better as to what is right for you as an individual. If you’re considering avoiding nightshades or other dietary changes, talk with your doctor first.

May you be well.

The information provided here is not intended to replace medical advice or to treat or diagnose any medical condition. Please consult your doctor with specific questions and prior to beginning any significant diet or lifestyle changes.