Nightshade veggies are not out to get you. No matter what you may have read, no vegetable is going to harm you. However, there are certain properties that you should watch out for. Today, everybody is on some kind of special diet or process of elimination to find their best diet. You can’t go onto social media without seeing a friend, family member, or colleague talking about their new eating plan.
There’s an issue here that calls for a red flag. Why are popular diets all eliminating some kind of food group? I doubt that’s the way to go about matters. Carbs are bad, then it’s gluten, to grains and meat. What’s left? Especially if we can’t even eat vegetables freely now. It’s not a sustainable approach because living life in fear of specific food groups is very difficult to do for the rest of your existence. And now we are fearing nightshade veggies.
What the heck? There must be some reason behind the claims, so let’s explore the fear a little deeper. A few studies have even linked nightshade veggies to autoimmune diseases.
Nightshade Veggies Are Not Going to Kill You
Many popular diets today are stating that eggplants, tomatoes, peppers, and potatoes should be avoided. They claim that nightshade veggies are harmful to your health. Why? Well, that’s what we’re going to talk about. If you go to read health news blogs from Goop or Dr. Oz you might find articles written on these ‘nightshade veggies.’ Most of these blog posts state that nightshade veggies are not so great for you.
However, I don’t think it’s fair to demonize an entire group of vegetables because we are all so unique. This means that every individual will react differently to the nightshade veggies. This means that you don’t necessarily have to remove them from your diet entirely. But wait until you click off this page! Don’t assume that every vegetable is the same. There’s some reason behind these claims and we must take a look at the veggie family as a whole.
According to Medical Xpress, the theory comes from other members of the plant family Solanaceae. This includes tomatoes, capsicums, chili peppers, eggplant, and potatoes. Apparently, these nightshade veggies contain toxins designed to stop us from eating them. Therefore, possibly being quite harmful to our health.
Other researchers believe that the term ‘nightshade veggies’ originates from extremely poisonous berries called ‘Nightshade.’ These berries also fall under the Solanaceae family. Therefore, not every veggie in this family is toxic. In fact, the nutrient-rich Solanaceae vegetables are the building blocks of some of the most healthy dietary patterns on the planet. Ever heard of the Mediterranean diet? Well, nightshade veggies make up almost more than half of their eating plan.
Why Worry About The Vegetables You Eat?
Vegetables, for my whole life, were always a safety net when it came to diets. You know you’re more or less safe when opting for veg. The majority of the time this is the case, but remember vegetables are still food and you can still react to them differently.
Nightshade veggies are not necessarily bad for you, but they do contain compounds called lectins. These are proteins, found in meat too, or enzymes that are found in many different kinds of foods. In fact, lectins are found in our bodies too. These proteins are unique to those found in meat and muscle because they have sugars attached to them, which means they can bind cells together.
Experts believe that some are harmful because lectins can stick the cells in our body together. This could cause potential damage and pain, like arthritis. But this isn’t necessarily true because the process of cooking breaks down these lectins, which takes away the risk of any kind of damage. Remember that not every item of food contains the same potency of nutrients as another. This means that tomatoes and capsicums might contain a lot fewer lectins than red kidney beans, which you should eat cooked in any case.
Does Lectin Mean You Shouldn’t Eat Nightshade Veggies?
A lot of the theory behind nightshade veggies is that people think these chemicals are in the vegetables to prevent us from eating them. Therefore, they can most likely harm us. There are claims that nightshade vegetables can contribute to inflammation in the body, which might make arthritis worse. However, new research shows very little evidence for this.
Although certain people believe that these vegetables might trigger inflammatory diseases like heart disease or arthritis…There is no logic to the claim. This is because the Mediterranean diet is top of the list of diets to be prescribed to those who run the risk of developing these diseases. Guess what? Nightshade veggies form a massive part of this kind of diet, including those from the Solanaceae family.
There are some people who have experienced weird symptoms like vomiting after eating high levels of lectin. For example, after eating red kidney beans. However, these lectins are naturally occurring and will be broken down easily through cooking. If nightshade veggies do this to you, then I’d be mindful next time.
Therefore, there is very little truth behind the statement made about nightshade vegetables containing compounds to prevent us from consuming them. In fact, according to Best Health Mag, there’s evidence that many of these compounds can have beneficial effects. Better yet, do you know the bitter chemicals found in a range of fruits and vegetables called polyphenols? Well, many people think they are there to stop us from eating the vegetable. Interestingly, these chemicals can help reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, and maybe even dementia.
Should We Be Concerned About Nightshade Veggies?
You should bear this in mind the next time you eat nightshade veggies, especially if you have been noticing weird symptoms. But you don’t need to cut them out entirely.
There’s also not enough reason to disregard the numerous other reasons why nightshade veggies are beneficial for your health. They contain high amounts of vitamins and minerals through fiber and polyphenols. This is why eating a wide and diverse diet will serve you best throughout your life. Try not to limit yourself to only one food group. Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables to maximize health benefits. Too much of anything is not a good thing.
The main reason for concern is the chemicals nightshade veggies contain.
These chemicals include:
- Alkaloids and glycoalkaloids, which are naturally occurring pesticides. If you’re consuming a lot of nightshade veggies then you’re going to get a lot of solanine, capsaicin, and nicotine.
- Lectins are proteins that bind carbohydrates together. They’re found in all living creatures, including humans and plants.
- Calcitriol is the active form of vitamin D in the blood. It also plays an important role in calcium absorption and bone development.
- Saponins, which are thought to protect plants from being eaten by animals. However, there’s still little evidence of the extent of how much we’re affected by this.
The fact of the matter is that there is nothing severely dangerous about nightshade vegetables. Surprisingly, a lot of them don’t even contain a huge amount of health benefits. When it comes to alkaloid mixtures, especially capsaicin and nicotine, you shouldn’t leave them out entirely either. They can also act as strong and effective disease fighters.
However, there are those who may be allergic and you will notice certain symptoms. Your best bet is to opt for the elimination diet first, before cutting out an entire group of vegetables. This will give your body the time it needs to recover and save you from a lot of pain or discomfort.
If you are somebody with an autoimmune disease, you could try the nightshade veggie elimination diet to help with symptoms. The most popular kind today is the autoimmune protocol (AIP) which restricts nightshades. It originated from the Paleo diet.
However, there are no clinical trials examining the AIP. There’s just a ton of anecdotal evidence that promises the relief of autoimmune symptoms.
Nightshade Veggies Elimination Guidelines
This is a thorough process that you must slowly start introducing into your diet. After all, there are over 2000 different specials of nightshade vegetables.
Here’s A List Of Nightshade Veggies:
- Cayenne pepper
- Goji berries
- Ground cherries
- Pepino melons
- White potatoes
Experts state that huckleberries, goji berries, and blueberries all contain alkaloids. You should try to avoid these if you are going to start the elimination diet, even though they’re not nightshades. Potato starch is also a big no, so keep an eye out for this especially when it’s used as a filler. Watch out for it in baking powders, medications, and baked goods.
After about three months you can slowly start introducing these vegetables back into your diet. This is because solanine can be stored in the body for weeks or months.
These Are Some Substitutes To Eat In The Meantime:
- Black Pepper
- Sweet potatoes or yams
- White pepper
Nightshade veggies can form a huge part of a healthy diet. Do not fear them unnecessarily, unless you are allergic or prone to disease. In fact, they do more good for your health than bad.
Don’t eliminate nightshade veggies entirely
There’s no overwhelming scientific evidence available that stands for enough reason to cut them out of your diet entirely. The strongest case found was that they may increase intestinal permeability and raise the risk of autoimmune disease. These tests were done with animals. They also focused on very high doses of nightshade chemicals rather than whole foods.
There are hardly any studies testing the food itself. More importantly, numerous studies suggest nightshade veggies and the chemicals within them are often beneficial to health. Therefore, there’s no real reason to eliminate nightshade veggies from your diet if you are otherwise healthy.
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