In reviewing questions under the nightshades tag, I know there are some paleohackers who have eliminated nightshades from their diet. But more generally, where do nightshades stand in terms of the paleodiet? Are they in or out? Or are they simply to be avoided (or included) on an individual basis?
Well, 1.5 years has passed and I finally looked at the evidence on nightshades! Here is my writeup:
My conclusion is that nightshades are probably not terrible for most people, but you can't figure out if you are one of the lucky nightshade sensitives unless you try to eliminate them for a few weeks. The mechanisms connecting nightshades to pain are vitamin D3 / calcitriol in certain nightshades, as well as propagation of acetylcholine overload at nerve junctions. There are very few human studies on this subject, so it's pretty much all up to you and self-experimentation. Be strict when eliminating, or else you'll never know.
I think the latest on nightshades depends on the nightshade in question. Journal articles on potatoes vs peppers vs etc give very different findings depending on the food and condition. Sometimes anti-inflammatory, sometimes bad for the gut, sometimes bad for joints, etc.
Nightshade consumption may depend largely on experimentation with elimination diets, moreso than finding whether one's ancestors ate it. I, personally, wish nightshades would just get together and decide if they're good or evil!
There are definately people who have seen changes with elimination.
on a personal level, Ive done a couple strict elimination routines. Fructose affects me. Gluten ruins me.
Dairy and Nightshades, no noticeable changes or effects. Mood, Energy, Weight, Skin, all seem good. to be fair, its Raw/Pastured Dairy only. I did not test with commercial grainfed dairy, for similar reasons to why I do not eat Grainfed Beef.
I know Dairy is a shorter term evolutionary thing. Some people have developed to be able to tolerate it just fine.
Nightshades are trickier, I classify them with Nut Allergies, Egg Allergies and other outliers. Im not convinced yet that they are a broad spectrum allergy to the entire population... However, I do believe, they, like the others have the potential of allergy for Everyone when introduced into the system while the gut is permeated.
In my opinion Gut Health should be priority #1. With that taken care of, many allergies simply disappear.
Unfortunately, some, once obtained, are here to stay.
I eliminated nightshades to see if I had a problem and was surprised at the violent reaction I had to red bell peppers. In bed for 2 1/2 days with a migraine...aw man, I love bell peppers. I haven't tried to reintroduce potatoes and tomatoes yet, but will try a SMALL quantity in a couple months. I've never eaten eggplant so won't try it now.
Food sensitivities are very personal and the only way to really figure it out is to eliminate the suspected anti nutrients and reintroduce them.
Ripe tomatoes contain no detectable levels of tomatine, the poison found in tomato plants. However, green tomatoes do contain trace levels, and the tomato plant body contains a significant amount of tomatine.
Most commercially grown potatoes (not a nightshade, but related) contain low levels of solanine and chaconine. Though the compounds are partially broken down during cooking (actually, only deep frying) I would recommend avoiding conventional potatoes if you're looking to eliminate everything resembling a poison in your food supply.
A fav quote.... forgot by whom ..................
"Tolerated is not optimal, why is that so difficult to understand"
( for example .... Tolerate is that you can take x amount of poison and not die IMO)
I personally don't have any issues with nightshades, but I haven't tried eliminating them, either. I absolutely adore potatoes, tomatoes, and peppers and would be quite sad (and might still eat them) if I found out they were doing me wrong.
List of Nightshade Vegetables (Solanaceae Family) Culinary Vegetables
Bell pepper (sweet pepper) Italian pepper Chile pepper Examples of varieties:
fresh Anaheim Fresno Jalapeño Pimiento / pimento Poblano Serrano
dried Ancho Cascabel Chipotle Guajillo Habañero Pasada Pasilla Eggplant Potato Tomato Tomatillo
Spices Cayenne Chili powder (some ingredients of) Curry (some ingredients of) Paprika
Sauces Ketchup Tabasco
Culinary Fruit Cape gooseberry Goji berry Pepino Tamarillo
I have a very strong reaction to bell peppers - migraine that forces me into bed. The green bell peppers are the worst. Second is any kind of peppers, such as those used in Picante sauce. I'm beginning to suspect that potatoes are also a problem and have started to eliminate them. I have had joint and muscle pain for about a decade. It has been classified as Fibromyalgia, although I'm beginning to suspect that FM is a bucket that largely contains food and environmental allergies. I only began to suspect bell peppers after my brother-in-law casually mentioned that his multi-decade bout of migraines had been traced to bell peppers by his Chiropractor. Our wives (sisters, obviously) cooked routinely with bell pepper. They don't do that anymore and now, neither of us has migraines anymore, except when I travel and restaurants dose me with it (even after me asking the prep details), especially Paprika (dried, ground bell pepper). Nightshades have a reputation for a reason. My dad told me, in his later years (70's - 80's) that his arthritis would become much worse if he ate potatoes more than once a week.
fuck nightshades! honestly i hate harvesting tomatoes. after having worked for many a farm where they are pretty much the fall money crop i noticed heirlooms and wild varieties especially burn the hair off of my skin and give me a horrible headache. not only that, when consumed regularly, chile peppers and powder give me crippling arthritic pains and make the bottom of my feet swell. i do like potatoes but they have to be welllll cooked and usually i just eat the skin and a little flesh...and mostly do best with the purple varieties for whatever reason.
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