Are the vegetables you eat making your pain worse?

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.

Foods to avoid

Here is a complete list of foods that should be avoided:

  • Tomatoes
  • Potatoes (sweet potatoes are fine to eat)
  • Capsicum
  • Chilli/hot peppers
  • Cayenne
  • Paprika
  • Okra
  • Tobacco
  • Eggplant (aubergine)
  • Goji berries

An elimination diet can be difficult and not a lot of fun if you enjoy these foods regularly. But the good news it, it’s free and may make an enormous difference to your health. If you suffer with chronic pain, you’ve got nothing to lose.

Natural Pain Manager capsules combine turmeric and green lipped mussel and can help to reduce joint pain and stiffness. Adding a Superfood powder to your regime should help reduce inflammation in your body and therefore reduce pain.

There is so much helpful information about foods and autoimmune disease in the book I wrote with Dr Cabot called Healing Autoimmune Disease: A plan to help your immune system and reduce inflammation.

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