Any food items that are prepared with nightshade plants are nightshade foods. Before we get into why these foods are bad for our health, we will look into what are the plants that belong to this category.
Tomato, brinjal, potato, tobacco, chili and all pepper varieties belong to nightshade plants. We call these plants as Solanaceae. I know you might feel strange or maybe even feel agitated a bit by now because these plants belong to some of the most commonly used ones in our daily diet. But before coming to any conclusion, let us see what is really bad about consuming them.
Effects of Eating Night Shade Plants
Nightshade foods don’t do any harm for the majority of people around the world. But, it does bring in a considerable level of harm for few people. Also, researchers warn that people with joint problems and stomach irritation will worsen their condition upon consuming these foods. As these foods are rich in alkaloid content, it can affect the joints and muscle functions.
A type of alkaloid called solanine which is present in these foods will increase swelling and pain in joints. Another harmful hormone known as calcitriol will instruct your body to absorb excessive levels of calcium than what is needed. This excessive calcium will remain stagnant in the muscles, so it brings about extreme pain in the joints and shoulders. It can also lead to calcium deficiency in bones. This is the main reason why Doctors advise against consuming nightshade foods for patients with arthritis and joint problems.
Apart from this, nightshade plants naturally produce a pesticide namely Lectin. This chemical substance can induce stomach problems, food intolerance and other problems to our body. Additionally, nicotine present in these foods invites many more dangers as well.
Potato: Each gram of potato contains around 15 nanograms of nicotine. Sprouted potatoes contain increased levels of nicotine of about 48 nanograms for every gram of potato. So it is better to avoid potatoes that have sprouts. The best way to consume a potato is by boiling or steam cooking it. Deep fried potatoes are not good for our health. Also, potatoes should not be consumed as the only vegetable in your meal, you should consume it with other vegetables.
Tomato: Each gram of tomato contains only 7.1 nanograms of nicotine. A ripened tomato contains even lesser levels of nicotine. So avoid using unripened tomatoes to your foods.
Chilli and pepper varieties: It contains around 8 nanograms of nicotine per gram. We already consume only lesser levels of chili and pepper in our daily foods. So using it in lesser quantities doesn’t do any harm.
Brinjal: It has very lower levels of nicotine. 9 kilograms of brinjal contains only 100 nanograms of nicotine. It is equal to smoking a single cigarette. Always use a brinjal that has less number of seeds.
Tobacco: As it contains very high levels of alkaloid, it affects lungs and the heart. A little tobacco is enough to bring forth a greater damage to our health.
Why do we Love Night Shade Foods More?
Surprisingly some of the nightshade foods do some good as well. It increases our energy levels and reduces anxiety and stress to a considerable extent. As it gives us a sense of peace, it helps us to be free of stress and depression. It is due to this reason we love to have foods like pizza, burgers, chips etc. We long for tomato soups and tomato ketchup. We get addicted to smoking cigarettes. Though these foods do not affect your health to a great extent, it is always better to consume them in minimum quantities.
Do not Hesitate to Get Tested
If you are someone with joint pains or arthritis try avoiding nightshade foods for at least 3 months time span. You will definitely notice a difference in your health. Later, you can experiment by including a vegetable that belongs to nightshade category once a week and check if affects your health. For example, include only potato in your first week, notice if it brings about joint pains, headache, migraine, or any side effects. If potato doesn’t bring in any bad health effects then you can proceed to tomato for the following week. By this process, you can easily identify the vegetable or food that brings about harm to your health. After that, you can completely avoid that particular vegetable.
Normally, you can lead a healthy life by consuming only vegetables and fruits that are cultivated in that particular season. Instead of purchasing large quantities of fruits and vegetables, it is better to purchase it fresh every day and use it. Include every type of vegetables in your diet and lead a healthy life.