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Should You Avoid Nightshade Vegetables?

Photo by Geo Darwin on Unsplash

Posted by: Gina Misra | Date: Aug 15, 2020

Potatoes, peppers, eggplants, and tomatoes are in a family of plants called "nightshades" (scientific name Solanaceae). These vegetables are full of vitamins, minerals, and fiber that you need for a healthy diet. However, popular wisdom warns that these vegetables can increase inflammation in the body. If you have arthritis or a gut disorder, you may have been given this advice. Maybe you found that eliminating certain foods did help your symptoms.

Before telling everyone concerned about inflammation to cut out these otherwise nutritious veggies, lets ask an important question. Has it been tested and verified with experiments?

One way nightshades might be able to cause inflammation is through naturally-occurring chemicals in plants that might bother the human immune system. Some examples are lectins, alkaloids, glycoalkaloids, and saponins. These molecules are essential parts of the plant's body while it is alive. Unfortunately, there aren't many experiments on this.

Potato glycoalkaloids did not seem to make a difference for rats. This was not even tested in humans. It's possible that lectins can aggravate autoimmune disorders in some people, but none of the studies actually tested nightshade vegetables.

So, the answer to this question is unfortunately neither yes or no. In fact, nightshade vegetables such as certain types of peppers have even been found to contain anti-inflammatory compounds! So do they reduce or increase inflammation? At this point, nobody really knows.


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