Are nightshades overwhelming you? Nightshade vegetables seem like healthy, nutrient-dense additions to any diet. Tomato is known as a cancer fighter, bell peppers are commended for their nutrient density, and eggplant is a common low carb swap. However, not everyone can tolerate nightshade vegetables and many deal with inflammation and aggravation of chronic illness as a result of eating nightshades. Not necessarily. Nightshade vegetables do have a lot of nutrient density on their own and can be a healthy part of a balanced diet for many. By no means would I ever suggest that the human race as a whole needs to go nightshade-free. However, nightshades are known to be inflammatory for many and can flare up joint issues, digestive symptoms, and other inflammatory diseases.
Quick, what do potatoes, paprika, and eggplant all have in common? While the vast majority of people have no problems with nightshades, they can cause serious problems for anyone struggling with an autoimmune disease, as well as some people who simply have a digestive sensitivity to them. Members of the family Solanaceae, common nightshades include white but not sweet potatoes, eggplant, tomatoes, and peppers, both the eye-watering chilies and the sweeter bell peppers. The list of edible nightshade plants also includes any spices made from peppers, like paprika, red pepper flakes, and cayenne pepper although black pepper is a different plant. The list of edible nightshades is fairly short, but the list of poisonous ones is quite extensive. The association with such toxic family members makes some people very concerned about all nightshades — they worry that if deadly nightshade is such a terrifying poison, then even the apparently harmless tomato must be up to no good. Farmers and gardeners in some traditional cultures seemed to agree: they were dubious about the food value of these plants, and mostly grew them as ornaments in the belief that they were unhealthy to eat.
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