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The Truth About Nightshade Vegetables

Updated on September 7, 2009

Understanding Nightshades

Tomatoes, a good source of Lycopene. Spicy peppers boost your metabolism. Goji berries are a new super-food. What do these three foods have in common? They're all part of the Nightshade familiy of vegetables, along with eggplants, bell peppers, potatoes, and gooseberries.

But what exactly is a nightshade anyway? Nightshades are any plant from the family Solanaceae. We are namely interested in two genera: Capsicum and Solanum, or the pepper genus and tomato/eggplant/potato genus respectively. It should also be noted that another genus, Nicotiana (tobacco), is in the nightshade family.

Did You Say Tobacco?

Yes, I most certainly did say tobacco. Those wonderful peppers and tomatoes that you eat are from the same family as the tobacco in the cigarettes that you hopefully don't smoke. So to start things off, let's make a note that all food nightshades contain some level of nicotine, which may also explain why they are so darned addictive.

Dr. Garrett Smith wrote five articles in The Performance Menu: Journal of Health and Athletic Excellence (Issues 33, 35, 36, 37, and 40) detailing exactly how the nightshades adversely affect human physiology.

So What Problems Do They Cause?

Tomatoes and eggplants were originally used as ornamentals rather than as food as they were considered poisonous. One of the major problems attributed to nightshades is arthritis, a disease which affects most of the population at some point in their life. In his first article, Dr. Smith went through an impressive list of animal studies showing calcinosis (the animal version of osteoarthritis) in rats, sheep, rabbits, chicks, and guinea pigs. They aren't humans, but it is multiple mammalian species undergoing the same process.

Remember the nicotine that we discussed above? Studies show that dietary nicotine can inhibit wound healing with anything above extremely small doses. That's not a good thing.

And when we look at the hot peppers, like jalapenos and habaneros, we come to another interesting point. These peppers are the only food we eat that cause us physical pain. Pain is usually interpreted as a bad thing, typically given off by the body as a warning. It also gives some insight into the rather, umm, explosive effects of peppers after their digestion. The body is moving quickly to get them out of the system.

But Capsaicin Is Healthful, Right?

That's debatable. Capsaicin appears to have some inhibitory effects on the healing process as well. Combine capsaicin from the peppers with the small dose of nicotine that comes from eating them and you can see how the healing process can be slowed. Capsaicin can actually be toxic in high doses and inhibits a part of the immune system that hunts down cancerous cells for up to 90 days! Epidemiological evidence shows that cultures that eat high amounts of peppers and tomatoes have higher incidences of cancers all throughout the digestive tract.

That's The Most Ridiculous Thing I've Heard. Of Course Those Vegetables Are Good For You

Oh? Well how about a bit of personal experience. When I first changed my eating habits for the better a few years back, I started incorporating lots of salads (still do, but that's beside the point). One to two salads per day, each with tomatoes and green peppers. Along with that, I was just learning to cook and wasn't a big fan of vegetables yet, so I was dousing them and meat with lots of hot sauce.

As you can see, I was incorporating lots of nightshades into my diet. At that level of consumption, I started getting all kinds of popping in my joints, especially in my back and even in my sternum. It wasn't painful, but that I could pop pretty much anything at will was disconcerting. At the time I had no idea about nightshades, so I just kept munching along with no idea of the cause, figuring that since there wasn't any pain, it was benign.

Later, I read some of Dr. Smith's ideas about nightshades and I decided to try cutting back. I cut out the tomatoes and peppers from my salads and cut back on the hot sauce. Would you believe that the popping in my back and sternum went away? It did.

But here's the fun part...I had shoulder surgery last June after two more dislocations. Now that I have "a bum stick," I also have a gauge of whether I've overdone it on the nightshades. Since the nightshade vegetables tend to promote joint inflammation, I can feel it acutely in my left shoulder joint, particularly when exercising, but there will also be a constant dull ache. It feels like I have small air or fluid pockets under the ball of the humerus. And one week, light exercise will irritate it if I've been overdoing the nightshades, while the next I can do max deadlifts, squats (puts the shoulder in a tight position), presses, or anything else with no intra-joint pain if I've been laying off the nightshades. That's all the proof I need.

So I Should Avoid All Nightshades?

Of course, I'm not bold enough to say that, without a doubt, nightshades are bad for everyone. However, I will say that everyone should try going a month without them to see if it has any effect on how they recover from exercise, how their arthritis feels, and how they feel in general. Then, go bananas and have a nightshade festival. Eat nightshades to your heart's content and see how you feel for the next few days. Try incorporating plenty of potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, and spice in your meal. I have a feeling that these foods affect everyone to some degree. I know that I can include a little with no ill effects, but need to watch overdoing it. I'm working to completely exclude them from my diet.

In the end, experimenting on yourself is really the only way to know what does and doesn't affect you. One thing the information on nightshades reinforces for me is to eat seasonally. These vegetables are only available during certain months of the year if eating seasonally, which means that you'll get a good load of nightshades at some points and none at other points of the year.

Another source of information is the Arthritis Nightshades Research Foundation. It's all very unfortunate since a fresh-made salsa could be one of nature's greatest gifts to man. But besides the obvious foods like tomato sauce and salsa, you also have to watch for paprika (made from dried peppers), which is in most prepared mustards, many seasoning rubs, and the seasoning mixes of pre-made sausages and bacon. It can get tough with store-bought foods. I'm not telling you what to eat and what not to, but I am saying to give it some consideration and try an elimination on yourself.


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      Ronny 2 years ago

      Impressive content. Just what I was trying to search for!

      Best regards,

      Take a peek at our new release at lepsoft,com

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      William C. 2 years ago

      So if all this is true, why are Hispanics who eat more peppers, tomatoes (Nightshades) than many other races, listed on the CDC as one of the lowest on the Arthritis list?

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      Johnd880 3 years ago

      Great blog! I am loving it!! Will come back again. I am taking your feeds also adcakkfegffk

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      Pamela Dragon 3 years ago

      We've been nightshade free for 2 years now. We use to eat it no problem, but the Dr. Told us to stop, now if we accidentally have a little we get very sick. Overall inflammation. Cramps, joint pain. It seems obvious to me now that Nightshades were the cause of my health problems.

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      julie 3 years ago

      I just discovered this tidbit in my genetic testing report: "Atypical" BChE has a low affinity for CI alkaloids naturally occuring in certain plants, particularly those in the nightshade family (potato, tomato, peppers, eggplant, etc.). rs1799807(G) carriers may be more prone to physiological consequences of AChE inhibition from eating these foods.

      Very intersting!

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      Christi 3 years ago

      I am also scientifically minded and I would LOVE to see some really good studies for this, unfortunately when you think about all of the farmers/corporations that produce food with these plants in them, you may get to thinking that this information is not something people want out there! I just started a Facebook page called "Nightshade Free"!

      I am so happy to have stopped eating these foods for about four weeks, my joint pain is reduced, interstitial cystitis reduced, blood pressure back in check, no more heart palpitations, anxiety down!

      I totally agree with the other commenter who stated that it is a win win situation what do you have to lose, and P.S. I introduced a little bit back into my diet last night I had two ravioli's from Maggiano's with some tomato sauce on them, they were delicious, a few symptoms of my cystitis, but otherwise they were delicious and I may once a month splurge on my favorites like pizza a pasta with tomato sauce!

      Anyway here is the link to the Nightshade Free Facebook page:

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      Dean Scott 3 years ago

      I will give a no solanum diet a try to see if it helps but please read what you write and correct your mistakes as soon as you find them. Cape Gooseberries belong to the genus Physalis they are in the Solaneace family however real Gooseberries belong to the genus Ribes along with true currents and belong to the family Grossulariaceae with your writing you just maligned two foods that have nothing to do with the Night Shade family. By the way Sweet Potatoes are in the Morning Glory family not the marigold family that would make them related to arctichokes and Sunflower seeds.

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      Aaron 4 years ago

      Nightshades are a problem once gut permeability has set in.

      Many things can contribute to a leaky gut, and once you have it, nightshades are the last thing you want leaking out into your blood supply and thus manifest itself in a variety of ways, psoriasis being a huge one.

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      Marilyn 4 years ago

      Thank you for this article...One of my all time favorite foods to eat is Jalapenos, and I don't eat them in moderation like most people. I eat them by handfuls/small bowls full at least 2 to 3 days out of the week...About 6 months ago I started noticing joint discomfort in my fingers and stiffness in my overall body as if I had done a rigorous workout. I ran out of the stock pile of peppers and could not find the brand I liked best and have been without them for months. The joint pain I had experience was gone and I didn't think any more about it. Until, I found my favorite peppers and bought another stock pile and began my routine of consuming them at least every other day and after the first 2 splurges, I noticed that my whole body had felt like I had done a rigorous work out. The only connection was the incorporating of the jalapenos back into my diet. Last night I ate them again and drank a little of the juice that was left in the bowl and this morning, the finger joint stiffness/discomfort has returned. All the other information says that this food item should have the opposite effect but I am a walking testimony like yourself that reveals that jalapenos are very likely the culprit, much to my intense disappointment.

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      reenewingliz 4 years ago

      Thank you!!! I'm going off all of them starting now. Goodbye arthritis. Will get back with the results in a month or however long this avoidance takes.

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      Brazos Hazel Wolf 5 years ago

      @Just Amazed, we do have receptors in our brain known as nicotinergic, which do receive nicotine, which is why they are called so, but from what I understand, the scientific thought isn't that those receptors are there for nicotine, but also receive other chemical signals. They are named after nicotine simply because they respond to the nicotine chemical conformation. The same way that there are receptors that respond to the active chemicals in crack and other harmful chemicals, but that doesn't mean that God designed us to smoke crack.

      To the author, this is interesting information you have here. I have read that nightshades can cause gastrointestinal discomfort when combined with other foods (primarily proteins), but that they are not harmful when eaten alone. For tomatoes, it it because they are so acidic, but I am not sure why for other nightshades. I love to snack on raw red bell peppers as if they were fruit and haven't noticed any problems. (Have you tried this approach of eating nightshades separately?) But I have noticed that cooked potatoes alone make me feel great, but if combined with say, a burger, I feel a bit tired and bloated.

      Ha, although I doubt many people would just 'snack' on jalapeños.

      But what you say about peppers being painful and pain being 'bad', I would highly disagree. The millions of people who enjoy the 'pain' of eating spicy foods (including myself) and the millions of people who enjoy incorporating aspects of pain into their sex lives and in other innocuous forms (tattoo and piercing addictions, nail-walking, religious asceticism, etc.) stand as witness that mild amounts of pain can in fact be pleasurable. There are many psychologists who would even say that 'pleasurable pain' is a natural and healthy part of the human experience.

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      Charlotte 5 years ago

      If I find that these foods are causing my chronic back pain (which I've so far attributed to wearing absurd high heels in my early 20's--but I'm only 26 now)...I'm not sure life will be worth living!

      I live in Texas, so of course I love jalapenos and salsa. My grandmother's Italian, so I was raised on tomatoes and eggplants. My best friend is Thai-American, so there are obviously plenty of spices when I'm invited to her parents' house for dinner. My boyfriend loves to make me mashed potatoes as my favorite comfort food...

      You have no idea how disheartening such a discovery will be for me. I may just have to learn to live with the pain!

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      Drema 5 years ago

      Thanks for writing this! I'm doing research on nightshades, lectins & food intollerances because I'm trying to figure out why I am having such severe narcoleptic type reactions to various food from every different food group. (Literally the only foods I know I don't have a reaction to is: salmon, beef, peas, sea salt, green beans & cauliflower & I seem to tolerate a little butter on the vegetables. If I vary from this my brain swells (exitotoxins), chronic fatigue gets worse & I'm bedridden for 5 days sleeping 23 hours a day.) Good job on the article - thanks again!

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      citronr 5 years ago

      I was just trying to explain this Nightshade thing to my Italian friends, about how peppers and tomatoes are bad for them and cause all this joint pain and myriad other problems. This was after we took a lunch break from our regular 60+ km pain-free bike ride through the hills south of Padova, about an hour or so from Venice. This was as most of us dined on insalata caprese with super fresh mozzarella di bufala, fresh basil and those dangerously evil non-GMO and incredibly great tasting July pomodori all drizzled with a little olio di olive extravirgine. They're still laughing. They think this kind of thinking is "cute" and very "California". They suggest that Americans might consider that perhaps it might be something else causing all those aches and pains in your country. Whatever it is that is not the case here where so many still regularly ride these hills and others throughout this ancient land well into their eighties and beyond ... pain free. Could it be that it is only YOUR "nightshades" that are evil? I do know this after having spent the last almost three years in New York: your tomatoes, store bought, farmers market bought and even home grown do not even remotely TASTE like our pomodori over here. None of them, even the "heirloom" types that only LOOK like they would taste better. I suggest looking beyond your borders (and out of your boxes) for answers. There a plenty/millions of people actually living longer and healthier lives while consuming as many "nightshade" vegetables as they wish on other parts of Planet Earth.

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      bean 5 years ago

      So, I just became aware of this nightshade issue (them being not so good for you), right after my husband started taking cayenne pepper for his blood pressure. It may be a coincidence but his blood pressure was normal for the first time in years at his last doctors appointment. So now I don't know what to do. Take cayenne or not to take cayenne... that is the question.

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      quiltermama 5 years ago

      I have found that not only are nightshades inflammatory, but also giving up yeast too. Mind you, I did not give up grains of any kind, but yeast only. I make kefir bread instead. It's quite hard to eat out when so many hidden ingredients are nightshades or yeast. In my quest for clean eating, I am discovering that some things are not meant to be eaten alone. For example, I do believe that eating yeast doesn't have to be problematic, but it is because it's usually one strain of yeast in the diet with no bacteria that is present in say, sourdough, to help the body not get overrun with yeast. I know my kefir bread likely has yeast in it, but many strains along with many bacterium. Avoiding the nightshades has been wonderful and horrible at the same time (I have a weakness for pizza). Hope you all have some relief! Blessings!

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      Ustabahippie 5 years ago

      I hope everyone will keep in mind the adage: Everything in moderation.

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      Kelley 5 years ago

      You are SO very correct about nightshades!!! I was very stove up with rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia, used a walker or wheelchair, unable to care for myself fully, disabled so bad that I couldn't work... Then one day I decided to take a doctor's advice and try eliminating all nightshades. It was very hard to do, as they are indeed addictive, but it made a HUGE difference!!!!! My whole body is healing up, and I'm starting to walk with no aid most of the time, only use a cane when I have to. No one takes care of me anymore, and I'm taking care of my grandkids. Soon I'll be starting back to work... I'm living proof that nightshades can be a major problem for people, and I challenge you to go not only 30 days, but go 90 days, and then try eating them again... You will hurt so bad you cry. Ps: I used to eat pain pills like candy and still cry with pain - No longer - I don't take anything!! The proof is in the trial!!

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      Denise 5 years ago

      I had back pain that came out of nowhere, I had to take Vicodin just to function, seeing a Chiropractor helped, but didn't cure the pain. I juice fasted for a week, and ALL of my pain was gone and I hadn't felt that good since I was a child. I've cut out gluten, and still get mild back aches when I eat pasta sauce...the theory that nightshades cause inflammation makes perfect sense and as with anything, people are affected differently. Instead of the internet gangsters that call this article guys should shut your traps because if cutting out tomatoes helps some people but not you...just let them be happy. If we're hypochondriacs, GREAT...At least we're not in pain anymore! Go pop another oxycontin and type some more judgemental/negative remarks!

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      Monica 5 years ago

      thx for the article, i know it was written a while ago but it has been very helpful. i'm saddened about the news of tomatoes and colorful yummy peppers (wish nightshades were something that i hated lol..) i have chronic psoriasis and arthritis so i need to stay away from night shaded specifically lectin. through my research i do feel better that i can cook beans a certain way to reduce or eliminate the lectin. but i sure will miss those tomatoes and peppers :o(

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      Don 5 years ago

      Gave up nightshade vegetables an my ra is is's been 1and1/2 years.

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      dr fungus 5 years ago

      very good comments from horses mouth night shades are not only problem for one well been. how about much overlooked and grossly ignored good old candida, which is a cause of almost any disease.candidal foods dont digest they ferment,fermentation creates ethanol and rot,rot is compost,compost equals mushrooms and truffles,what medical sciense calls cancer. if i did not start to think for my self i would not be alive to post this old now not on any meds and still active in mens dep.keep up good work.

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      Rangler1 5 years ago

      I have recently made a new discovery that could be the cause of all these sensitivities to nightshades and other foods. To much yeast in our digestive system! An no it is not just a female disorder. If you have psoriasis, foot fungus, or other fungus related disorders you may have a yeast problem. Also if you have taken large quantities of antibiotics or steroid drugs you will be more prone to yeast disorders. A build-up of yeast can cause many disorders and food sensitivities. Think about how much yeast the average American consumes. Most of us live a very fast paced life and don't take the time to eat enough vegetables. But it is not just eating enough vegetables, and it also means breaking our habit of eating so much yeast foods. I am still having to be careful not to eat nightshades, but I am working to change that. Here is a helpful webpage On this page you will find a test to help you determine your likelihood of having this problem. I am not here to sell anything. I am a housewife, mother and stylist. My only goal here is to help others feel better and stop having to be medicated to feel well. Drugs are expensive and I will admit healthy food is not cheap either, but we are getting sicker and most doctors are not trying to find the source of our illness, they are only treating the symptoms by numbing the pain. I do hope you all feel better soon!:)

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      Isabel 5 years ago

      Don't forget American-grown soy! It has been hybridized with petunias, a nightshade, to be pesticide (Round-Up) resistant.

      It can be a real challenge to find any processed foods without nightshades.

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      MassageJenn 5 years ago

      I have fibromyalgia and have repeatedly eliminated nightshades, they are inflammatory! I let all my clients know about this simple dietary change and have seen great results! I am sure they flare my fibro! I am equally as sure that when I worked in a smoking environment my symptoms were worse than before I started and after the bar went smoke free. One evening in a smoky bar or club I will pay the next day with body aches.

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      stoopidpeoplehere 6 years ago

      I wish I could eat tomatoes and all their delicious nightshade friends. Unfortunately I actually have a medical problem, unlike most of the hypochondriacs here, called diverticulitis and haven't been able to eat those types of foods for a few months. The results? Yeah, my body is exactly the same. You see, your going to get pains as you get older. You can cut out whatever you want, but things will get creaky, start to ache, etc.

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      Gingerpie 6 years ago

      Subnote: I was not wearing the medium heels on the hike! These were two separate incidents.

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      Gingerpie 6 years ago

      I am suffering with excruciatingly painful acute tendonitis (foot) and have been unable to walk or drive for four months. It was not progressing, so I remembered the familiarity of symptoms and thought back two years when I suffered acute tendonitis (hand). It slowly got better over two years, but I could not write, drive, or cook.

      Both symptoms mysteriously appeared in August with no apparent injury unless you consider holding a coffee cup on a hike and wearing medium heels risky behavior.

      The time of year was exactly the same, so I deduced that August is tomato season. I gave up nightshades two weeks ago and am off my scooter and beginning to walk again. I have tested the nightshade theory accidentally by eating bbq chicken and woke up in the night with pain. My hands and body joints were swollen and stiff. My sinuses were achy. Nightshades are poison for me.

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      lynne b 6 years ago

      I have always craved tomatoes, peppers and potatoes. When I was pregnant I remember hiding the tomatoes so that I could have them all to myself. I thought that it was the only thing healthy that I liked. I attributed the pain and stiffness that I had at that time of the month to just that however, I also craved american chop suey with lots of tomatoes and peppers at that time and ate too much of it. When I discovered the information about nightshades it made perfect sense. Last year I started taking ashwanghanda a herb that is supposed to help with immunity, and it did. I never got sick once, however, I was so stiff I could barely walk which I attributed to long hours sitting at work and on the drive home. When researching ashwanghanda again, at some point I came across information stating that it was a nightshade plant so I stopped taking it. I have been sick twice this year, so recently I started taking it again and again I can barely walk after I sit down for a while. I am very stiff. It is so individual, but I know for me the nightshades are to be avoided. From what I have read we often crave what we are allergic to.

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      mark1 6 years ago

      I have been into health food for over 40 years, and I can still outperform most people 20 years younger than I am. I appreciate your blog and wonder about nighshades. Because of the convenience of microwaving potatoes when I work on the road, I have eaten a potato almost every day for the past month. Suddenly noticed I have 'water on the elbow', and even before reading your blog I wondered that maybe potatoes could be a part of the unexpected problem..... I will cut out the potatoes for a while to see if it has any effect. So far it's been a week, and the bulge on my elbow has not diminished...

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      Rangler1 6 years ago

      I have read most of the comments and I wish everyone would at least try to go 1 month without nightshades. I suffered from severe migraines for a long time. About 1 year ago after having a month of 5 migraines and much prayer, I found some info on nightshades. I thought I might be allergic to black pepper, because I had made some homemade soups using black pepper. I did an internet search (black pepper and migraines) but didn't find anything suggesting black pepper as the cause. So I did a new search (muscle pain and pepper). Now that search opened my eyes, "Nightshades" I had never before heard of "Nightshades!" I decided it was worth a try, an for me it would be very hard to stop eating my favorite foods. But I thought if it works it's worth it. After 1 month with no nightshades and not even a headache, I was amazed! Four months went by without a migraine and I didn't have any migraines until I broke down and ate some nightshades. I do most certainly know that nightshades are causing my migraines, but I have not overcome the desire to eat them and they are in some many foods. I wish someone or many someones would write some recipe books. Also I feel that I have done much damage to my system from years of nightshades and wish I could reverse the damage. I believe many health problems come from these foods and I believe that we should try to resolve our health problems by paying attention to our body and the effects of certain foods and drugs. Most doctors only want to treat the pain by masking it, not finding the cause. It is up to the individual to research and know their body and it's warning signs! Ask yourself this question. When my health insurance runs out and medicare or medicaid will no longer paid for my pills, what will I do about the pain? You only hurt yourself when you don't at least after hearing this information give it a try. Really, what have you got to lose? Just try it especially if you are having migraines!

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      Nina Roffey 6 years ago

      I stopped eating nightshades 18 months ago after a herbalist colleague tested me intolerant to them. After a year I no longer needed to use asthma inhalers which I'd had to use for over thirty years. I also found that migraine attacks reduced to one to three per year and that dairy products no longer worsened asthma and acne. One man's meat is another man's poison, therefore we cannot make sweeping statements and cast off one type of food. We just need to find out what effects us individually.

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      Rhonda 6 years ago

      According to an article in WebMD the Nightshade Vegetable theories are just that "theories".... and the black helecoptors really do exist. ;)

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      Jan 6 years ago

      I am new to the "no nightshades diet", its been only about 3 weeks since I found out after I made a bunch of mashed potatoes out of old potato's and we ate them for for 4 days. I was in awful pain and almost went back to my RA doctor to get back on my fibro meds, I had discontinued in October of 2010 even tho I still had bad fibro bouts I had nothing as bad as this since stopping my meds. I decided to research pain and potato's because I knew that was the only thing I had ate different. Now I just want to cry, when I think of how this might change my life, I really do think it is the answer to what has been setting my swelling and pain off. I feel much better than I have in 5 to 6 years..... so far so good.

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      Mike 6 years ago

      Nightshades are the bane of my existence. It took me 40 years to figure out that the major depression, as well as all the aches and pains in my joints, were all caused by eating this shit. Yes, I said shit because that is what it is. Having these poisonous plants incorporated into our food chain have robbed me of many good years.

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      Ella 6 years ago

      Thank you for this wonderful article! I suffered from depression and brain fog for years that were debilitating. After a year of elimination diets I put it together, anything with solanine! That's the nightshades plus strawberries, blueberries, gogiberries. I wish I had discovered this years ago/

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      MrsPeanut 6 years ago

      I have Eckbom syndrome ( RLS ) and eliminating nightshade has been WONDERFUL. I can not tell you in any words how horrid my nights were and car rides and sitting for any amount of time etc etc etc> It was hell. Now I have two meds and NO nightshades and am doing very well, thank you!

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      tmacc 6 years ago from USA

      Thank you for writing this. I have had FMS (fibromyalgia) for 18 years, and cutting out the Nightshade Vegies (or, reducing them) has allowed me to feel good enough to not be on my medications for the past 18 months. I am glad to see that what I did for myself, is what other's like you are doing for yourself. Our family is eating healthier, slowly, our next reduction is the beef... take care and thanks again! Enjoyed this hub.

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      Debby 6 years ago

      There are many studies about nightshades, this link is one of them, why should the author go to the trouble of re-inventing the wheel? Maybe a couple of referneces may have helped.

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      Garnae' 6 years ago

      The reason that some people have untoward effects from some foods it that each of our blood types were evolved to benefit from some, not all, foods.

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      Garnae' 6 years ago

      The reason some people have untoward effects from some vegetables and others don't is that they have different blood types. Your blood type was evolved to use certain, not all, foods. Peter D'Adamo has written many books on this subject, some are recent. I am a nurse and have endorsed Peter D'Adamo's theory for over ten years. It is not completely failproof but it certainly explains a lot.

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      Cindy 6 years ago

      Couldn't have said it better myself glorjc.

      I have rheumatoid arthritis, which took years to diagnose because the doctors kept telling me I was too young for any arthritis. After being diagnosed, before any "treatment", I got on the internet to do some research. I read about all the different medications and the side effects of them are scary. Sudden death is actually listed as a side effect of a couple of the medicines. With that being said, drugs are not an option in my mind.

      I found several articles on changing diet for rheumatoid arthritis and stumbled across nightshades, this article included. I have since cut out a few things from my diet, to include nightshades, dairy and red meat. These seem to be the most common things I found actual rheumatoid arthritis sufferers saying to cut out.

      So, I tried it, and I have NO joint pain at all if I avoid them like the plague. I know right away if I missed something on a label, within minutes actually.

      I could barely walk when I decided to radically change my diet 4 months ago, now I am back to training for a marathon and haven't taken a single medication.

      I do not need a scientific study to tell me that changing my diet is keeping me from the severe pain of the arthritis, my lack of pain is proof enough for me.

      And changing my diet has no horrifying side affects like "sudden death" or "anal leakage".

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      glorjc 7 years ago

      To: Mike and Adam

      The FDA (Federal Drug Administration) has in their possession the CURE for cancer. The protocol was developed by a Scientist at Loyola University in Chicago. All the documentation and facts in the world were supplied to them and do you see a cure for Cancer? I am a 22 year survivor of Dukes Stage 3 colon Cancer, thanks to this protocol. No chemo, no radiation , no pills. So why can't I get people to listen to me? Greed and Money and people like you who dictate something isn't for everyone if I had listen to you - I wouldn't be here. That's why I chose to pick my own cancer treatment, so let people who have nightshade reactions listen to their own bodies - not yours. Listen to your own body and what it wants and need before you tell me what I want or need.

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      Otto 7 years ago

      Neither are gooseberries in the nightshade family. They are in the genus Ribes and are related to currants.

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      Anita 7 years ago

      Rutabaga is a brassica not a nightshade

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      Jack 7 years ago

      I have seen one refrence that rutabagas are night shades.

      However, I can't find any other references and it is not

      generally listed as a night shade vegetable.

      Is it or isn't it?

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      Adams 7 years ago

      I agree with many comments here that this information is wholly inaccurate and is a disservice to people who might otherwise believe it. It is an example of how to twist a few facts to fit a particular agenda. This article should not be so titled. It should be titled "A Bit of Nonsense About Nightshades."

      Please do everyone a favor and take this inaccurate article down.

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      Mike 7 years ago

      Noticed that you do not site one scientific trial other than an oblique reference to rodent studies. What studies? What Universities? Are these peer-reviewed papers? Are they published in established journals?

      It bugs me to read such sloppy work. Back it up or pack it up.

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      Anne Hoelz 7 years ago

      Nightshade foods were 100% the cause of my son's benign myoclonic seizures. Eliminated the nightshades, no more seizures! He also has Down Syndrome, and when we eliminated the nightshade foods for his seizures, his cognitive & motor development took off! There IS a connection between nightshades and the developmental delays in Down Syndrome. It has to do with the glycoalkaloids in nightshades inhibiting acetylcholinesterase, which is required for the systhesis of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine . . . which individuals with Down Syndrome already have in short supply. Just try eliminating them . . . it's free and can't hurt you!

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      Melanie 7 years ago

      Lots of interesting thoughts here. I have a scientific mind and I am the kind of person who craves solid facts, provable research, double-blind studies, etc. So I must embarrassingly admit that--for me--even though there is no rock-hard evidence for or against nightshades, since I quit them three weeks ago, the difference in pain in my hip joints is like night and day. I can HARDLY believe it. In fact, I tried this nightshade avoidance diet to "prove" to myself once and for all that it was foolishness. Imagine my chagrin when I found out that it was true--at least for me.

      The way I see it, you've got nothing to lose (well, except for some yummy-tasting foods) by trying it out. Give it two or three solid MONTHS of strict avoidance of all nightshades. If it works for you, kick your heels up and enjoy your pain-free, rash-free life. If not, go out and binge on pizza, salsa, and spaghetti and enjoy the delicious flavors once again. Either way, it's a win-win situation, and at least you can say you tried and you know for certain what does or doesn't work for you.

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      Laura 7 years ago

      Oh, sigh. I have a wonderful nightshade garden - fabulous tomato plants, prolific eggplants, potato plants just coming into their own. This afternoon I prepared the most delicious eggplant parmesan with a homemade basil/tomato/garlic sauce, with a side dish of sliced potatoes and onions. It was really good. Now I'll be paying attention to my joints. Fascinating.

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      Bill 7 years ago

      Blending beets and carrot juice with some of your favorite Italian herbs [like oregano and basil] makes a pretty good substitute for tomatoe sauce.

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      tex 7 years ago


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      Linda 7 years ago

      I had a hole in my finger joint down to the bone for a whole year. It healed up two months after giving up spaghetti sauce. I was also able to control my high blood pressure without medicine after giving up spaghetti sauce. I really miss it, but I have no choice. I tried eating it just once after 6 months of not eating it and i had a very bad reaction to it.

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      Abbie 7 years ago

      Everything has it's ups and downs. Deal with it.

      Thanks for the information (all of you) :]

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      Naturenut 7 years ago

      Thanks for the article, I completely agree. Like Belle, I narrowed down my eczema and depression episodes to nightshades. If I eat any of them for a couple days in a row, my skin reacts horribly. I also wake up with backaches and joint paints like in my ankles, legs or arms. I doubt any conventional test will figure this out for anyone; you have to listen to your own body even when people think it's ridiculous. From what I've read, some people aren't sensitive enough to react but others like us are.

      Btw, justamazed is amazingly ignorant!!! Are we supposed to eat poison ivy too?

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      Jennifer 7 years ago

      Modified food starch is MSG and can be made from a variety of different foods. It's best to avoid it:)

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      Apache 7 years ago

      @ just amazed: B3 comes from nicotinic acid, not nicotine. Pallegra is seen in populations where corn is the staple food because it has very little nicotinic acid. There are many other foods that you can obtain B3(niacin) from.

      I just discovered that potatoes where causing my lower abdomen to swell. Now I know why.

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      Belle 7 years ago

      For years with skin problems that were labeled with names like "eczema" and "acne". After years in the health field (earned a Master's degree in Nutrition and a Holistic Therapy diploma), I finally discovered my problem - nightshades. I, like many who avoid nightshades, do not suffer from any joint reactions. My reaction has always been related to inflammatory skin problems and to some extent, depression lasting for days after eating any nightshades. This problem took so many years to uncover as my reactions were always delayed, appearing up to three days after consuming nightshades. For me, there are no "okay" amounts or preparations (cooked vs. raw) - it's simple - if I eat nightshades I react to them. The outright avoidance of nightshades may seem like an extreme measure to some, but it's a reality for certain individuals. There are degrees of sensitivity and in the absence of any reliable testing, no one can tell you the degree of your sensitivity. If you, like me, react strongly and consistently to nightshades you too may need to avoid them outright!

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      Elsevier  7 years ago

      Any updates to this article? Many interesting claims, no publication references and science is inconclusive. What's more, right after the article, there are numerous potatoe highlighted recipes...

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      Helen Cohen 7 years ago

      Hi. I'm a holistic health counselor and I have done my share of research on nightshade vegetables and the macrobiotic diet. That said, I have also studied more than 100 dietary theories and I do believe that over doing it with extremes is not healthy. Homeopathic doses of all natural foods will only prove beneficial to your health! In many countries around the world people would slow cook their nightshades at very low temperatures for long periods of time and that would keep the vitamins intact while making the fruits easier on the body. Nightshades have something called oxalic acid that depletes the calcium in your body. If you are doing macrobiotics then you know the meaning of yin and yang. Dairy has to much calcium and if tomatoes take it away, why not have them together? Many Italian dishes are prepared with the combo. Not a fan of dairy products myself for many reasons but the point is that if you learn how to create a balanced environment in your body then you don't need to avoid the foods you love.

      To your Health!

      Helen Cohen

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      anita 7 years ago

      I recently found out that although blueberries, huckleberries , okra and artichokes are not nightshades they do contain some solanine. I don't eat these very often but if you do and have a flair up it could be the solanine.

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      Melissa 7 years ago

      Cooking foods in the nightshade family lowers there alkaloid content, thereby reducing the risk they pose to those who are sensitive to them.

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      Anita 7 years ago

      If you are eating tomatoes for the lycopene (for prostate health) switch to red fleshed watermelon. It has lots more lycopene than tomatoes and it is more bio-available. Tomatoes need to be cooked to get the most lycopene from them but watermelon will give you Lycopene when eaten raw. Watermelons have no solanine or nicotine. Actually most red colored fruits contain some lycopene.

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      Jay 8 years ago

      Tomato is supposed to reduce the risk of prostate cancer and there are a lot of old smokers (I am a non-smoker) it has lots of negatives particularly when combined with diabetes but (it's only a theory I just made up) maybe the increased heart rate counts as exercise. Im definitely going to cut down on the nightshades as they don't seem to do me much good. However, as my grandma would say "everything in moderation" and she is 81 and looks about 60, but doesn'd smoke.

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      Much Better for 10 Years 8 years ago

      10 years ago a Dr. told be that nightshades could be bad for my joints. After four days of not eating any, my joint pain went away. I understand that there are a lot of things that can cause joint problems, but if you have joint pain, it is worth a try.

      P.S. Dairy has the same result on some people too.

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      skustes 8 years ago

      Hey Anita!

      Thanks for the testimonial there. I didn't know that about gooseberries. So it seems that the common Gooseberry isn't really a gooseberry, kinda like the sweet potato isn't really a potato (it's from the marigold family for those wondering).

      I occasionally eat some nightshades with no ill effects, but if I go hogwild on them, I notice it, mainly in my shoulder which has some arthritis from 7 dislocations and a surgery.

      I know what you mean about hidden nightshades. I'm always suspect of "spices". And I didn't know that about "modified food starch" either. I presumed it was a wheat product.



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      Anita 8 years ago

      Very good post, I would like to point out however that only the cape gooseberry (Physalis peruviana) family Solanaceae is a nightshade. The common Gooseberry (Ribes uva-crispa) family Grossulariaceae, is not and does not contain solanine. The Sweet potato(Ipomoea batatas) family Convolvulaceae is also not a nightshade. The common or "Irish" potato (Solanum tuberosum) family Solanaceae is. And that common potato is what makes me violently ill. It not only causes swelling in my joints but in my whole digestive system. After years of misdiagnosis I discovered completely by accident that it was potatoes that were making me sick. They were the first to go and I felt so much better. But something was still bothering me. So I did some research and found out about all the nightshade vegetables. I have since cut them all out of my diet and my joints feel fine and my skin rashes have gone. The biggest problem I have now is hidden nightshades. They don't have to be listed individually on labels if they are "spices", and quite frequently "modified food starch" is potato starch. Just the potato flour used to feed sour dough yeasts can set me off, and I will feel awful for days.

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      Jerome 8 years ago

      I appreciate all the information on the nightshade family and vegetables. From within I Am prompted to stop eating tomatoes but to stick to a raw food 100% organic lifestile particularly high in chlorophyll because it is so blood building and filled with LIGHT......As much as much as some individuals might like to consume vegetables from the nighyshade families, I have learned to leave them alone.

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      Kat 8 years ago

      If tomatoes are so bad, why are you telling us to grow them so that we know where they are coming from? If they are so bad for us, it dose not matter where they are grown. Am I missing something?

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      skustes 8 years ago

      Teksin, I also eat some tomatoes and peppers around this time of year when they're prevalent. I try not to overdo it and it doesn't seem to affect me as bad as it does you. It's unfortunate they are so good!



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      Teksin 8 years ago

      I was having terrible joint pains. After I eliminated nightshades, as much as I can, and adding Kefir in my diet, I am completely healed. I still grow fresh tomatoes, peppers in my garden, I love them, they are so delicious, but as soon as I eat, even a little bit, I pay the price with pain, stabbing, burning in my joints after a couple of hours.

    • skustes profile image

      skustes 8 years ago

      Irina, there definitely seems to be something to it! Lots of people I know have significantly less joint pain after dropping the nightshades.

      Jacqueline, I've heard two theories. From Wikipedia: "Most likely, the name comes from the perceived resemblance that some of the flowers bear to the sun and its rays, and in fact a species of Solanum (Solanum nigrum) is known as the sunberry."

      From "prob. with allusion to the poisonous or narcotic properties of the berries."



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      Jacqueline 8 years ago

      How or why did nightshade vegetables get that name?

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      Irina 8 years ago

      Very interesting. Found your site by reading about the blood type diet that mentioned "nightshades." The site said: "The nightshade vegetables can cause lectin deposit in the tissue surrounding the joints."

      Thanks for the info.

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      skustes 8 years ago

      Just Amazed, perhaps you'd care to enlighten me as to the health benefits of nicotine cause from what I've found it detracts from the body's ability to recover from damage.

      And trust that I have no faith in Big Pharma, so nice attempt at an ad hominem attack, but you fail.



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      just amazed 8 years ago

      Has Johnson & Johnson got you so brainwashed that you've stuck your brain in reverse?

      Do you know that YOUR body along with everyone else's body has nicotine receptors in it?

      Do you know that vitamin B3 comes from nicotine?

      Do you know that SCURVIE is a deadly disease caused by a vitamin C deficiency?

      Do you know that PELAGRA is a deadly disease caused by a vitamin B3 deficiency?

      Do you know that there are and have always been, numerous HEALTHY smokers well over 100 years old?

      Maybe after you've cut out all of your nightshade foods and come down with pelagra you may start to realize that you've been had.

      Maybe, if you were smart you would do some HONEST, UNBIASED, research into the health benefits of nicotine. There are many as you will find out if you do do some HONEST, UNBIASED research.

      IF you believe the bible, GOD put EVERY plant on the earth for the use of mankind, read [ genesis 1: 12 and 1: 29-31] and NOWHERE does it say " with the exception of tobacco or nicotine containing plants"

      Remember too as you're lapping up BIG PHARMAS hogwash, that big pharma brings in close to 500 million U.S. dollars on the sales of THEIR nicotine products, every year.

      Remember too that those are the same outfits that kill over 100,000 americans every year with their medications, and admitted as so by the AMA.

    • Bob Ewing profile image

      Bob Ewing 9 years ago from New Brunswick

      I love tomatoes, peppersand eggplants but I have spoken with a naturopath some time back who said that if you had pain in ankles, wrists etc, then it was best to avoid them. This hub reminded me of that and now I can continue my research. Thanks.