Monday, May 9, 2011

Toxic & Healthy Nightshade Vegetables

I have a previous post about the effects of potatoes on inflammation in the body. I'd like to continue to explore the remaining nightshade vegetables. The Solanaceae family, or nightshade vegetables, are used for food, spice and medicine. They are often high in alkaloid chemicals which can be either desirable or toxic to humans and animals.  Atropine has a stimulant effect on the central nervous system and heart, whereas Scopolamine has a sedative effect. In very small controlled pharmaceutical doses they can halt many types of allergic reactions, control motion sickness, dilate pupils to examine the inner eye and subdue the effects of chemotherapy. In other circumstances ingested toxicity from this family of nightshade vegetables may produce a rash, itching, inflammation, increased pain, bloating, dry mouth, respiratory difficulty, gastrointestinal problems, urinary retention, convulsions, and various other central nervous system conditions. 

Nightshade plants include peppers, tomato, potato - hotblack on   
                      Flowering tobacco plant, close-up - Royalty Free Stock Photo

Nicotine is another alkaloid found in the nightshade plant, tobacco. It is highly toxic and addictive to the human body. Glycoalkaloids are present in 'greening' potatoes and some rare species of berries and can be lethal at high levels. Capsaicin can be found in hot peppers and omits a strong burning sensation when sprayed or eaten.

If you suffer from chronic illness, the nightshade vegetables most recommended to avoid are:
  • tomatoes
  • tomatillo (or ground cherries)
  • potatoes
  • eggplant
  • chile peppers
  • sweet bell peppers
  • chayote
  • tobacco

I can tell you from first hand experience, eliminating these vegetables (minus the tobacco because I'm not a smoker) takes a concentrated effort. From ketchup to salsa, baked potatoes to french fries, and even ratatouille, I miss many of my favorite foods. But the suffering I endure when I eat them is so horrible, I now envision them as "poisonous foods". When looked at in this manner, it's no longer difficult to pass them up.

Some of you who have life threatening food allergies (i.e., peanuts, wheat, eggs, etc.) know the danger involved in ingesting poisonous foods. I encourage all who have inflammation in your joints and muscles, consider eliminating these foods from your diet. I believe you will see a noticeable difference in your pain levels. Another option in addition to eliminating nighshade vegetables, would be to follow the anti-inflammatory diet. Click on this link for further details about this healthy lifestyle choice.

It's made a huge difference in my life. Let me know your findings! Thanks for checking in on my blog. Hope you'll come back again soon to visit.


  1. Great article, I'm glad you're raising awareness about foods that could cause inflammation in the body.

  2. Great info, thanks so much for sharing.
    love your blog.

    I also thank you for the follow. I'm following right back.

    1. Thanks for your information. I am just beginning to connect the dots between the arthritis in my knees and the salads I eat daily full of tomatoes and peppers!
      OW! Will begin to cut these out to see if it makes a difference. I am having trouble going up even one flight of stairs at present due to arthritic knees and this has all come on in the last six months.