Do Nightshade Vegetables Cause Health Problems?

nightshade photo

What Are Nightshades?

Many things have been said about nightshade vegetables. They cause inflammation in the gut, digestive issues and joint pain. But the question remains, what are they really and can they negatively impact your body?

Nightshade vegetables are part of the Solanum dulcamara plant family which includes various vegetables, flower and even tree varieties. They however, are most well known for their vegetable varieties which include:



*white potatoes


*peppers (bell peppers, chili peppers, pimientos etc.)

*goji berries


*ground cherries



*cayenne pepper

What Makes Nighshades Toxic?

The nightshade family contains alkaloids which are naturally occurring toxic substances that deter mold and pests from the plants. The most common alkaloids found in nightshades are nicotine, solanine, and capsaicin. However alkaloids rarely pose a problem for most people due to the small amounts contained within the veggie. The highest concentration of alkaloids are found within the leaves, stems and unripe fruits which people shouldn’t and rarely consume.

However, these alkaloids can pose problems for some people once they eat the vegetable. For most people eating nightshades can be a beneficial part of a healthy diet and will result in no negative health effects. People that are most at risk for negative reactions are those that have autoimmune diseases, leaky gut problems, or other digestive related illnesses. Also, people who have arthritis have reported that their symptoms sometimes become worse after eating nightshade vegetables.

Allergic Reactions

There are some people who report having allergic reactions after eating nightshades which include:

*rashes and hives




*excessive mucus

*achy joints and muscles

Substitute Nightshades For…

If you or someone you know does experience any health problems related to consumption of nightshades, there are some many flavorful, healthy substitution vegetables that can replace them with no side effects. The replacement foods are suggested based on their similarity to nightshade vegetables in terms of taste and texture.

Instead of white potatoes: sweet potatoes, cauliflower, yams

Instead of tomatoes: beets, grapes, carrots

Instead of eggplant: mushrooms

Instead of bell peppers: zucchini, celery, radishes

Instead of cayenne pepper: ground black pepper, ground white pepper

Instead of paprika: turmeric, cumin

Instead of huckleberries: blueberries

Instead of goji berries: raisins, cranberries

Instead of tomato sauce: alfredo sauce, olive oil, garlic, and wine based sauces.


Miscellaneous substitutions: melon, oranges, plums and peaches.

Ultimately, for the majority of people, eating nightshade vegetables will pose no health issues, but if they do create an unhealthy situation, it’s good to know there are great alternative options that are tasty and healthy.

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