Are nightshade vegetables making your arthritis worse?
Posted Feb 01 2010 8:17pm
It was a casual snippet of conversation I overheard that reminded me: "You know, since I've been eating all those tomatoes and eggplants from our vegie harvest, my arthritis has played up dreadfully." It was then I remembered the old naturopathic theory that some vegetables can really affect some people who have arthritis.
But vegies are supposed to be good for you, right? Well, yes, but if you're sensitive to the naturally occurring chemicals in vegetables of the solanaceae family, your arthritis could indeed become worse when you eat them. Let me explain some more….
Whether its osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis, the inflammation in your joint is what causes the redness, pain and swelling. Reduce the inflammation, and the pain reduces too.
Some people with arthritis find that they're actually very sensitive to the natural food chemicals produced by the solanaceae family of foods – that's tomatoes, potatoes, capsicum, eggplant, and chillis. (Tobacco's a member of this family too - but we all know that cigarettes aren't good for you anyway!) The solanaceae family is also known as the 'deadly nightshade' family with good reason – some of its members, like the herb belladonna, are literally poisonous to humans.
All foods contain natural chemicals that have evolved over millions of years – some developed to deter people and animals from eating them.
Although I wasn't able to locate any scientific research papers to support this old folk theory about foods of the solanaceae family and arthritis, substituting these vegetables with other vegetables for four weeks could be an easy way for you to discover whether the naturally occurring chemicals in this food family are affecting you.
How to find out if you're affected....
If you decide to go ahead with this test, remember to be rigorous in avoiding any of the solanaceae vegetables listed above, as eating even just a little of the food during the testing period could trigger a reaction if you're sensitive. Before you start, draw a diagram and note the pain levels in each of your joints out of 10 (with 10 as the worst). Then at the end of the month pull out your original drawing and see if your pain levels have shifted while you stayed away from solanaceae foods.
Did your pain recede while you modified your diet? If so, have a chat with your health practitioner to check that you will remain well nourished even if you leave these foods out of your diet permanently.
What's been your experience? Join the discussion by leaving your comment below.