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Nightshade Vegetables Health Risks

Updated on August 21, 2013


Did you know that the healthy vegetables you are adding to your salad may be aggravating your arthritis or your gout?

I became fascinated with the word 'nightshade', when i heard several people mention certain foods they ate affecting their arthritis and joint pain.

Apparently vegetables, spices and fruits from the nightshade family can be causing some of that pain attributed to your health condition.

Just like foods can heal they can also be poison, especially if you have an allergic reaction.

Nightshade also includes fruits, herbs, vegetables, trees, ornamentals and spices. The scientific name is Solanaceae, a family of flowering plants.

Nightshade, this word was used in terms of death or poisoning specifically or a reference to the color of the poisonous berries.

Medicinal uses have been developed from several types of nightshade plants.

The moniker nightshade can also be attributed to the fact that these particular plants are more active at night instead of in the daylight. No one is positive as to why.

Green tomato
Green tomato | Source
Jalapenos | Source
Green pepper
Green pepper | Source


Alkaloids are the reason that certain vegetables can have adverse effects on humans and animals.

This substance found in these foods have been known to cause problems with nerve-muscle function, joint and digestive issues.

The good thing is individuals who have any adverse reactions have to be super sensitive, but prescription drugs and certain medical conditions can be attributed to the sensitivity of an individual.

The vegetables

Nightshade vegetables are wide known and wide spread. They are found in most of the world's everyday diet. They are staples in most kitchens because they are usually reasonably priced and convenient.

  • Potatoes
  • Tomatoes
  • Sweet peppers
  • Hot peppers
  • Eggplant
  • Pimentos

Exotic veges

  • Tomatillos
  • Pepinos
  • Tamarios

Any other items that are derived from this list of veges are also considered nightshade. This list is not complete.

Which spud type is considered a potentially alkaloid nightshade ?

See results


If you know you are sensitive to nightshade vegetables then it is best to avoid them, especially if you suffer from things like arthritis or gout.

Most people know this because they have some type of allergic reaction to nightshade vegetables.

The best way to find out if you are sensitive is to completely take the nightshade vegetables out of your diet plan for at least two (2) weeks.

Completely eliminate anything that calls for tomatoes, eggplant, sweet peppers, hot peppers and white potatoes.

You will have to document everything for two weeks. Using a note book or whatever is convenient for you, make sure you are logging down all the necessary information.

  • start date
  • end date
  • condition you are monitoring, headaches, joint pain, etc

It's a food journal of sorts.


I believe in trying foods, at least once, but we know that anything and everything we eat is not good for us!

That said we know that most things that are natural, God created are best for the human being.

Yet, we disregard our body's reaction to foods in favor of another's opinion. Just because someone is knowledgeable about something does not give them the advantage when telling you what your body is reacting to, so make sure you listen to your symptoms.

That said, "pay attention to your body when you are eating".


If you are sensitive you should be careful when choosing your foods! Period. If you are on medication you can become sensitive to foods that you were once okay with, so be careful!

Nightshade vegetables because of their alkaloid substance have been noted by some people to aggravate certain conditions that have to do with arthritis, joint pain and gout. They have been linked to other things such are migraines as well.

My suggestion is to test the theory!

If you find you are even slightly uncomfortable, there are things you can do! Substitution.

  • Sweet potato for white
  • Cucumber for tomato
  • Black or white pepper for cayenne or hot peppers
  • Celery for sweet pepper
  • Squash for eggplant


ground cherries
hot peppers
green peppers
Alkaloids present can be harmful.

Nightshade, bad rap?

There has been ongoing research to verify that nightshade vegetables aggravate medical conditions and should not be eaten.

Most of the studies have failed according to leading scientific experts as well as noted nutritionists, so you will have to conduct your own individual investigation. This can be easily done by monitoring your body's reaction or response to nightshade vegetables once you have ingested them.

If they present a problem or flare up then you need to either eliminate them completely or reduce the amount or number of times a week that you eat them.


Some proponents of nightshade vegetables, say they are getting a bad rap because of the confusion about the commonly used name of 'nightshade', but that they shouldn't be because they are not remotely related to the genus of the deadly, 'poisonous' types of nightshade plants.

Jalapenos sliced
Jalapenos sliced | Source


You are your best medical examiner!

Paying attention to your reactions to anything you eat can help you live a healthier life.

Yes it is good to eat natural, God created foods! They are best for you, but when or if they present uncomfortable symptoms or aggravate other health conditions it is better to live without them rather than forcing yourself to deal with the consequences.

Eliminating nightshade vegetables if they aggravate you is easily done through substituting other vegetables that give you the same effect.

Note, Cooking nightshade vegetables may reduce alkaloids 40 % to 50 % but if you are already sensitive that is not a guarantee that it won't cause adverse effects.


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