Dinner Diva: Shining the light on nightshades

Are you familiar with the Solanaceae family? No they aren’t the neighbors of the Sopranos! The Solanaceae family is more commonly known as the nightshade family.

Its name has lots of folks assuming that these foods are grown in the dark of night with fairies waving their magical wands over them removing any need for the sun. What? Not everyone thinks that? Lol.

The truth is, nobody really knows why the word nightshade has come into the equation at all. The name comes from the Latin “Solanum” for “the nightshade plant,” probably because some of the flowers on these plants resemble the rays of the sun.

Regardless of where the name comes from, a lot of agricultural crops belong to this family, including potatoes, hot peppers, tomatoes and tobacco.

Now, nightshade plants can be nasty little troublemakers of the food world. That’s because they are rich in alkaloids – some of them are even toxic to animals and humans.

Did you know that once upon a time eggplants and tomatoes were only used as ornamental objects because they were thought to be poisonous? Mmm! Pass the moussaka…not!

So what problems are caused by these nightshade foods?

Nightshades have negative effects on our joint function, our digestion (those pesky lectins again!) and our nerve-muscle function.

You might think you’re eating a very healthy diet with lots of salads (topped with green peppers and tomatoes) and chicken (stir fried with bell peppers and a shot of hot sauce for flavor) only to wonder why you’re in pain so much of the time.

If you suffer from arthritis, gout or osteoarthritis, try cutting out plants from the nightshade family for a month, and you may notice a pretty significant change in the way you feel. This also applies to anyone suffering from nerve-muscle related problems.

Actually, why don’t you all do that? Cut out potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, and other foods in the nightshade family that you can find from a little bit of research into the Solanaceae family. Do it for a month then take note of how you feel. Then go whole hog and stuff yourself with nightshades again for comparison sakes. You’ll know pretty soon if you have a sensitivity to these foods or not.

Oh by the way…you know those little green spots and sprouted spots on potatoes? Those are indicators of alkaloid content in those spuds so either cut out the bad parts or don’t eat ’em!

So now you have the scoop on nightshades. Any questions?

More from Dinner Diva Leanne Ely at www.SavingDinner.com.


Augusta Health Kris McMackin CPA
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Augusta Free Press