By naturopath Margaret Jasinska
Did you know that nightshade vegetables can worsen joint and muscle pain? Nightshade is the colloquial term for vegetables in the solanaceae family. This family of plants contains more than 2000 species; however the most commonly eaten varieties are tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, capsicum and chilli. Interestingly the tobacco plant is also in this botanical family.
These plants contain a type of molecule called alkaloids. The name of the alkaloid in potatoes is called solanine; in tomatoes it’s tomatine; nicotine in tobacco, and capsaicin in peppers. These alkaloids are known to increase intestinal permeability, or promote “leaky gut syndrome”. This means wastes and bacterial toxins are allowed to enter the bloodstream, where they create havoc for the immune system. This raises the risk of allergies, joint pain, fibromyalgia and autoimmune disease.
Not all individuals are sensitive to the chemicals in these plants, but for some people they can create muscle tenderness, aches, inflammation, stiffness and joint pain. In some people, these symptoms dissipate a few days after stopping consuming these foods. In other individuals, who eat a lot of these foods, symptoms may last several weeks after the last ingestion.
How would you know if nightshade vegetables aggravate your pain?
Arthritis, stiffness and muscle pain are some of the most common health problems people encounter today. If you have tried a number of different remedies, yet still suffer with these symptoms, perhaps it’s time to try an elimination diet.
There are no accurate blood tests or other tests to determine if you have a sensitivity to nightshade vegetables. The most reliable test is an elimination diet. You will need to eliminate all nightshade vegetables from your diet for a whole month.