WHAT ARE NIGHTSHADES?
There are couple different spectrums, either you have never heard of nightshades or you read/heard all about nightshades. To start nightshades (Solanaceae) are a family of plants which we mostly consume tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, tamatillo, and peppers.
ARE NIGHTSHADES BAD?
These plants have a toxic compound that the plant uses to defend itself which is the thought that it also causes us issues with inflammation. There is no conclusive science to back up these antidotal effects. I would love to see some actual human research to better help clarify these antidotal effects. What about lectins? There is a lot of fear around lectins from Dr.Gundry’s book Plant Paradox. Again the actual human research is not there to back up these nightshade fears. Both the lectins and toxin Solanines are mostly destroyed by cooking. On a positive note, these nightshades are anti-inflammatory. So don’t be shady with your vegetables. If you are concerned about nightshades causing you a reaction, then head on over to my Services section to further discuss your particular situation.
If you worry nightshades are causing you an issue and cut out say eating eggplant, then I would suggest giving it ago again. Nightshade maybe a true allergy for some, and getting tested will help clear up this issue. If it’s just a sensitivity response, you may not have to eliminate it forever like if it was an allergy. You should never avoid eating the whole family of nightshades because of what you may read or hear people say.
Nightshades are so much apart of our culture on a daily basis that when eliminating my not be the best option. When taking out a healthy vegetable, you need to replace it with other highly anti-inflammatory foods. Again avoiding nightshade should never be the long-term solution, because it’s probably not the underlining problem. Besides nightshades, there are a host of other vegetables that provide anti-inflammatory properties. Not sure what those are, see my previous post on what to look for in grocery store on anti-inflammatory diet.
BENEFITS OF NIGHTSHADES
Yes, you heard it right, BENEFITS. Have you heard of the Mediterranean diet? It highly uses these vegetables daily, and that diet is considered anti-inflammatory!
- PURPLE HUES: remember my last post? Those purple hues in purple potatoes and eggplants provide anthocyanin compounds that help to decrease inflammation.
- VITAMIN C: This widely-known antioxidant helps to protect our cells from damage. Yellow and red bell peppers, as well as tomatoes, may provide all your daily need of vitamin C in one meal or snack.
- FIBER: One nutrient not thought of much for anti-inflammatory benefits, but it’s very powerful. Most people do not get enough fiber in a day, and this can cause quite a problem especially digestively. In the United States, it’s a huge problem, even more so for the elderly who have joint pain the most as well as constipation. Plus, those following a low-carb diet, cut out the one of highest sources of fiber from whole grains and legumes. How is fiber anti-inflammatory? When our gut bacteria feed off of it, it produces short-chain fatty acids. These short-chain fatty acids produce broad anti-inflammatory activities by affecting our immune cells . Just eating the average recommended amount of 25g of fiber a day is associated with a lower risk of knee pain . and higher fiber intake benefits symptomatic osteoarthritis.
TOOLS FOR YOU
It’s not just nightshades that can be benfitical but a whole world of colorful plants too. In my library, you will find a new tool for you. A shopping list of these anti-inflammatory foods with pictures of each food to better help spot in the grocery store. I also provide tips on eating, cutting, preparing these vegetables to maximize the nutritional benefits.