Nightshades Plants in a Nutshell
Solanaceae OR Solanum
Green Nightshades are Worse: Green Potatoes, Green Tomatoes, Green Bell, Peppers are the worst for you. and most nightshade vegetables are harvested when green (not good). (Green tomatoes turn red after harvesting).
What are Night Shade Vegetables?
Tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, red and green peppers and paprika, Peppers of all kinds green, red, chili, paprika, cayenne, hot and sweet, Bell peppers (green, red, yellow, cherry), Paprika, Cayenne pepper (capsicum), Pimento, Chili peppers, Hot peppers (long & red, red cluster), Tobacco is also a nightshade. So is Jimson weed.
Exceptions: Sweet Potatoes (high in Vitamin A), and Yams (not high in Vitamin A), and Black and white peppers do not fall into this category. Avocados are also OK (in fact, Avocados are high in essential, preferred amino acids, and healthy fats).
Tomatoes, Lycopene and Vitamins
Nightshade family vegetables all have at least some fiber and carbohydrates, but most of the vegetables stand out for at least one type of nutrient. Tomatoes, for example, are known for their lycopene content, which may play a role in preventing some cancers, eye problems and heart disease. They also contain a good amount of vitamins A and C;
Do Nightshades Cause Joint Pain?
Because nightshades are only a problem for a small number of people, it’s overkill to suggest that everyone should avoid them.
People with arthritis are sometimes advised to avoid all nightshade plants because they are said to cause inflammation. But this advice really only applies to people who have a sensitivity to solanine. For these folks, eating nightshade plants causes an inflammatory reaction—including joint pain.
Because most people are not sensitive to solanine, however, I think it’s misleading to characterize nightshade plants as “inflammatory,” and it’s certainly overkill to suggest that everyone with arthritis should avoid them—especially because they have so much going for them nutritionally. Nightshade plants are high in antioxidants, which actually help reduce inflammation. And chili peppers also contain capsaicin, a strongly anti-inflammatory compound. So, if you’re an arthritis sufferer, I’d think these would be foods you’d want to eat more of—unless, of course, you are among the minority that is sensitive to them.
How to Tell if You’re Sensitive to Nightshades
If you have joint pain—and tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, and/or eggplant are a regular part of your diet—try eliminating all nightshades from your diet for at least two weeks and see if you notice any difference in your symptoms. If you see an improvement, you might be among those who are sensitive to solanine. For you, avoiding nightshades might help reduce joint pain or other symptoms of inflammation. If you don’t notice a difference, chances are that nightshades are not a problem for you and you can feel free to enjoy these otherwise nutritious foods.