What Are Nightshade Vegetables?

blog eggplant nightshades peppers ptoatoes tomatoes

What in the world is a nightshade vegetable, you ask?

I hadn’t heard of them either until autoimmune disease entered my life, and I began my research on how to use food to heal. 

Nightshade vegetables are a class of vegetables which contain glycoalkaloids. When humans consume glycoalkaloids, the intestinal lining can be compromised, eventually leading to intestinal permeability, also called leaky gut. Read more about leaky gut here. 

Consuming high levels of nightshade vegetables is toxic for humans, but for most people, small amounts generally don’t cause problems.  For those people who are sensitive, however,  even low levels can be problematic, and may contributing to autoimmune disease. 

If you already have an autoimmune disease or signs of inflammation, you may want to consider avoiding nightshade vegetables since it is likely that your intestinal lining is already permeable.  Why would you want to stress it even more?  Many people with autoimmune disease exhibit a higher than average sensitivity to nightshade vegetables. 

In my research, just about every book I have read about using food to reduce inflammation has recommended avoiding nightshade vegetables, at least temporarily. 

What are nightshade vegetables? Examples of nightshade vegetables include:

  • Tomatoes

  • Potatoes

  • Peppers (sweet and hot)

  • Eggplant

  • Tomatillos

  • Ground cherries

  • Paprika

  • Pimentos

As well as the actual vegetables, spices made from these should also be avoided.  These include:

  • Chilli powder

  • Curry powder

  • Cayenne pepper

  • Paprika

I have a recipe for nightshade-free curry powder in my free 7 Simple Suppers the Whole Family AND Your Joints Will Love here.  In fact, all these recipes are nightshade-free!

Should you avoid nightshade vegetables?  If you have an autoimmune disease or inflammation, you could try eliminating nightshades from your diet for a period of time (at least 21 days) and then reintroduce them one at a time, monitoring for reactions. 

An elimination-reintroduction program is the gold standard to determine if you have a sensitivity to any food, including nightshade vegetables.  This is even more reliable (and less expensive!) than a food sensitivity test. 

A great way to help improve your health is choosing to create peace and calm while you are eating.  HOW you eat can be as important as WHAT you eat.  I have a great resource for you to implement TODAY to help you become empowered in your health.  Click on the image below to receive it.  

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  2. All information in this post is based on my personal experiences. Please discuss any changes to your diet, lifestyle or medications with your healthcare team. No information in this article is meant to replace medical advice. Please read my Terms and Conditions.