Whether you realize it or not, you are probably eating nightshade vegetables, especially if you love potatoes and tomatoes. You probably don’t even think twice about eating these foods however, nightshade vegetables can actually cause a number of health problems. Without even knowing it, many people who are eating nightshade vegetables are actually contributing to their ailments! Since they can cause health problems, it is important to know some of the crucial facts about nightshades.
There are over 2,800 species of plants in the nightshade family, some of which we commonly eat in our meals. Tomatoes and potatoes are two of the more common nightshade vegetables, but eggplants and sweet and hot peppers are also in this family. Goji berries, cape gooseberries, ground cherries, and garden huckleberries are nightshade plants as well. As you can see, it is very possible to be eating nightshade vegetables and fruits much more frequently than you may have thought.
2. Joint Pain
While nightshade vegetables are often enjoyed in many dishes, they aren’t always a great choice if you have joint pain. One of the major reasons people avoid nightshades is because they can cause joint pain. In fact, there are many instances of people with arthritis getting a considerable amount of relief from eliminating nightshades, and many naturopathic doctors recommend arthritis patients eliminate nightshades for that reason.
3. Joint Calcification
Nightshades are a calcinogenic plant, which means they can cause calcification in soft tissues, like joints. Nightshades cause calcification because they contain calcitriol, which is a powerful hormone that tells the intestines to absorb calcium from food. This sounds like a good thing, but too much calcitriol can cause hypercalcemia, resulting in the body depositing extra calcium in soft tissues. This can lead to pain and osteoarthritis, neither of which is desirable.
Solanine is a poisonous chemical compound that is found in all nightshades, especially potatoes. Solanine is so toxic that the World Health Organization sets a limit of 20 milligrams of solanine per 100 grams of potatoes! Solanine causes gastrointestinal and neurologic problems such as vomiting, diarrhea, headaches, dizziness, muscle stiffness, and numbness. If you have gastrointestinal problems when you eat nightshades, it could be the solanine.
Capsaicin is a chemical compound that is specific to hot peppers, and it can be found in many pain relieving creams. The irony of capsaicin is that it is actually an irritant that causes nerves to release all of their substance P (neurotransmitters that carry pain signals), which is why your skin burns when you touch hot peppers. Your body actually needs substance P to heal, because it lets your brain know something is wrong. Therefore, using capsaicin cream or eating hot peppers for anti-inflammatory benefits is actually counterproductive to the healing process.
6. Elimination Diet
Now that you know all of the problems nightshades can cause, you may be wondering if they are contributing to some of your health complaints. The best way to find out is to eliminate all nightshades from your diet for at least six weeks. Then, have a day where you eat quite a few nightshades and see how you feel. This is the best way to see if they are causing you a problem.
If nightshades are causing you problems, you are probably wondering what you can eat instead. Sweet potatoes are a great alternative to potatoes, and pumpkin sauce on pasta can replace tomato sauce. You can even use Swiss chard stems for the crunch and color of peppers.
Nightshades are extremely common in everyday dishes, yet they have the potential to cause health problems, especially joint pain. If you have joint pain, eliminating nightshades for a while may prove to be helpful, and it is worth trying. Did you know nightshades could cause so many problems?