An Introductory Guide to Nightshades

Nightshades have been brought into the limelight specifically by those who have inflammatory medical conditions. While the term nightshade refers to poisonous plants, not all nightshade classified foods are dangerous to eat. They may, however, cause a reaction within specific individuals that makes them hurt or their joints swell. With thousands of nightshades, it’s impossible to list them all. Instead, we will discuss some of the most popular foods in this introductory guide to nightshades.

Two Poisonous Nightshades

Two of the most known nightshades that are dangerous to ingest are

  • Jimson Weed
  • and tobacco.

While tobacco is typically not eaten, when smoked and inhaled, it’s properties are known to cause lung, heart, and vascular issues.

What Nightshades Do I Eat?

Many nightshades are consumed daily, and we don’t even know they could be problematic.

Some of the common edible nightshades include:
  • Tomatoes
  • Bell peppers
  • Hot peppers
  • Eggplant
  • Paprika
  • Potatoes (white but not sweet potatoes)
  • Wonderberries
  • Huckleberries
  • Goji berries
  • Kutjera
  • Naranjillas
  • Pepinos
  • Pimentos
  • Morelle de Balbis
  • Tomatillos
  • Gooseberries

The foods themselves aren’t the only places where nightshades are found. Nightshades are often in spice blends, sauces, and flavoring.

Nightshade Intolerances

Folks with autoimmune diseases often have intolerances to nightshades.

They may have:

  • Joint pain
  • Swelling
  • Rash
  • Hives

While more research needs to be done, there is a correlation between Vitamin D and Nightshades. Most people with autoimmune disorders have a Vitamin D deficiency because they cannot absorb it properly.

Nightshades are power packed with Vitamin D but are not well tolerated by people with autoimmune diseases. Some scientists think that the overabundance of Vitamin D is what causes the intolerance to the nightshade plants; Vitamin D is the irritant.

Another theory revolves around alkaloids and leaky gut syndrome. Alkaloids tend to kill bacteria and other things in its way. The stomach and intestines are not immune to the alkaloids reaction. For those with leaky gut syndrome, which are often those with autoimmune disorders, the alkaloids set off a firestorm in the stomach, irritating and damaging things in its path.

Nightshade Benefits

Certain components in some nightshades have been found to be beneficial, even to those who have a nightshade intolerance or sensitivity.

Hot peppers, for instance, contain Capsaicin, which is a known anti-inflammatory. Additionally, alkaloids, also found in many nightshades, is also an anti-inflammatory.

Some nightshades have been found to be beneficial to those with gastrointestinal distress. While some find that nightshades upset their stomach, others have found that nightshades aid in digestion.

While even the poisonous varieties of nightshades should most definitely be avoided, chemists have been able to find a use for some of them. Certain medicines have been created using small quantities of poisonous nightshades.

Do I Have to Avoid All Nightshades if I am Sensitive?

The short answer is, yes. However, there are ways to work with nightshades to make them more tolerated. By removing the components that have the most alkaloids, many people find that they can ingest nightshades with ease.
For example, removing the peel on a potato eliminates many of the alkaloids. Also, tomatoes that are freshly picked are high in alkaloids. In time, the number of alkaloids dissipates.

The science behind nightshades and why they react the way they do for some and not others is still being studied. The best solution is if something bothers you, try to eliminate it from your diet. If you feel better for not eating nightshade vegetables, stick with that plan.

Do you or anyone in your family have nightshades intolerances or sensitivities?

Please share your tips, suggestions and/or opinions in the comment section below.

About the author

Hi! Thanks for visiting my blog! I believe in living green, organically, and natural in every aspect of our lives. My mission is to help educate you on how to live green, help save our environment and to help you and your family live a happier, healthier life!

3 thoughts on “An Introductory Guide to Nightshades”

  1. We have found that nightshades also cause Hidradentis Supparativa in our family. We avoid them.

    1. Hi Janelle,
      Thank you for sharing that information. Night shades can cause numerous health issues for some people. Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Have a healthy, happy, & blessed day.

    2. HI Janelle,
      Thanks for the info and for stopping by and commenting. Nightshade foods can be a problem for a lot people and different health conditions. Have a healthy, happy & blessed day.

Would love to know your thoughts!