The Truth Behind Nightshades

Nightshades

Is it just me or are more and more people removing nightshades from their diet?! Over the last month, two of my coworkers told me about how they have removed nightshade plants from their diet and suggested I do the same. If you are anything like me, you are probably wondering what the heck nightshades are!

Well, Nightshade fruits and vegetables belong to the family of Solanaceae plants.  This group of plants contains more than 2,500 species that are widely used as food and medicine, according to Encyclopaedia Britannica. The more famous fruits and vegetables that are considered a nightshade are tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants, peppers, and goji berries. I know… I just about cried when I heard the list! Then I asked, why should I avoid these delicious and thought to be nutritious foods?

When I searched the internet for answers, I found a lot of people on both sides of the fence about consuming nightshades. Basically some people, but not all, have a hard time digesting nightshades fully and run into issues with diarrhea, gas, bloating, nausea, painful joints, headaches and even depression. The reason for this sensitivity is due to the alkaloids found in nightshades. There are four types of alkaloids in nightshades, some of which are desirable and others that can be toxic. Read more about it here.

The amount of alkaloids is very low in the food (aka fruits) produced from nightshade plants as compared to the plant itself, so health problems that are stimulated from nightshades typically occur in individuals who are especially sensitive to alkaloid substances. Also, alkaloid content is lowered by up to 50% by cooking nightshade foods.

Nightshades are getting a bad rep as of late. It may be partially due to the fact that people are confusing nightshades with “deadly nightshade,” an inedible weed that’s also part of the Solanaceae family.

(Deadly Nightshade Belladonna)

The truth is most people don’t have any sensitivity to nightshade foods at all. Lucky for me, I fall into that category and will continue to eat my eggplant, tomatoes, and potatoes! :)

Question(s) of the day:

Have you heard of the no-nightshades diet?

Would you ever consider removing nightshades from your diet?

Sources: Science Daily, Live Strong, The World’s Healthiest Foods, 4 Myths about Nightshades

 

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