Nightshade Foods: Should You Avoid Them?

I recently posted a new favorite soup recipe I found for Roasted Eggplant and Tomato Soup. I received a comment which asked about eating nightshades, and whether or not they should be avoided.

You may be wondering what a nightshade is and picturing something you put over your eyes to block out the light–I was too.  (By the way, I LOVE my bucky eyeshade. If you need one, I highly recommend it.)

Anyhoo, nightshades are a group of plants called solanaceae (officially) and the potato family (unofficially).  I’m sure you’ve heard of the potato. And I don’t mean the one that looks like this:

Nightshades include the potato, tomato, eggplant, bell pepper, cayenne, tobacco, belladonna, petunia, and others.

Apparently these nightshade foods are rich in alkaloids which affect nerve-muscle function and joint health.  However, usually only people with gout, rheumatoid arthritis, and other joint problems are sensitive to these alkaloids. They may see a reaction after eating these foods.

Many people eat these things with no problems; I feed them to my family and have enjoyed them for years, also with no problems. So, to answer the question: “aren’t nightshades bad for you?” I say NO. They are not bad for ME.

But they might be bad for YOU.

In other words, if you have a bad reaction to nightshade foods, then you should avoid them until you’ve healed and therefore would not have such a reaction.  And yes, I’m saying that even a condition such as rheumatoid arthritis can be healed through proper detoxing and nutrition.  But that’s not the point now.

I want to caution people against what I call “medical mindset logic.”

It goes something like this: A man has high blood cholesterol levels, which are supposedly caused by a high fat diet. The man goes to his medical doctor and is given a prescription for cholesterol-lowering drugs and told to avoid all fatty foods. INCLUDING AVOCADO.

The absurdity of this is that raw avocado, like any other raw fruit or vegetable, is one of the most healthful foods a person could eat. High cholesterol does not come from eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables; animal products and processed foods are the ones to watch out for. Most health authorities now agree that avocado need not  be avoided. But this was actual advice given by a medical doctor to a patient with high cholesterol.

That’s because “medical mindset logic” only seeks to affect symptoms, and not necessarily to find the cause of the problem.  So while a person with gout or rheumatoid arthritis may be affected negatively by certain nightshade foods, that doesn’t mean that the answer is to simply avoid those foods while continuing to take drugs to manage symptoms, and continue this for the rest of her life, assuming there is no other answer.

There is another answer. Get to the bottom of the problem. Detox. See a naturopath. Get your body working properly, and then you won’t need to worry about whether or not you’ll be able to enjoy Roasted Tomato and Eggplant Soup or Eggplant Torte. You will.


2 Replies to “Nightshade Foods: Should You Avoid Them?”

  1. great post! Thanks for the info. I guess if jaws count as joints, the answer is that nightshades are bad for ME, which is sad b/c they are super tasty. I’m still going to try the soup though. 🙂

  2. Yes, jaws count as joints. However, just because you have trouble with your jaw, it does not necessarily mean that you have an inflammatory joint problem. Do you have problems with any other joints? Also, even people who do have joint problems do not necessarily get affected by the nightshade foods. If you suspect that you are affected by them, you need to do a test to find out. You’d have to remove all of them from your diet for a period of time (I’d recommend 2-3 weeks), and see how you feel, then add them back in and note any changes.

    So, don’t assume you can’t enjoy them. There’s still hope!

    TMJ problems can be helped by a skilled chiropractor; have you looked into that?

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