The time is ripe for tomatoes, eggplants, peppers and potatoes – nightshade foods that make summer dishes bright… but should you be concerned about nightshade’s so-called dark side? Many popular elimination diets claim nightshades are a source of inflammation and should be avoided, but what does science say?
The dark side
Nightshades have a dark past. Summer favorites tomatoes and peppers have poisonous extended family, including the deadly Atropa Belladonna. These potent plants were once used in witchcraft and crime due to their powerful alkaloid effects. Nowadays, all nightshades are mistakenly blamed for causing inflammation, instead of just the poisonous few. Nightshades contain these alkaloids to ward off pests and repel bugs, but some believe these compounds are harmful for humans, too.
More and more people report intolerance to common nightshade foods and show specific concern for the alkaloid compound solanine. Nightshade naysayers believe these foods are the culprit for rheumatoid arthritis pain and digestive problems. Some health professionals recommend outright avoiding the entire family of nightshades in attempt to control inflammation, but read on for a balanced view.
For delicious recipes, nutrition tips, and to find cooking and nutrition classes, go to the Kendall Reagan Nutrition Center website. More great info also available at the College of Health and Human Sciences Pinterest board.