What are Nightshade Vegetables?

If you are the kind of person that has food sensitivities, leaky guy syndrome, an autoimmune disease or inflammatory bowel disease, there’s a chance that nightshade vegetables are contributing to your conditions. You may be asking, what are nightshade vegetables? As you’re about to learn through this article, nightshade vegetables are healthy for most people, but in others it can have the same effect as dairy or wheat. Keep reading to learn more.

What are Nightshade Vegetables?                  

Nightshade vegetables, scientifically known as Solanum dulcamara, are part of the Solanaceae plant family, which contains approximately 98 genera and about 2.000 different species. This familiy includes innocuous flowers like morning glory as well as toxic herbs like the Atropa belladonna. There are even a few nightshade trees. However, vegetables are a prominent part of the group, and this might be why it’s sometimes referred to as the tomato family or the potato family.

We’ll look at a more thorough list of nightshade vegetables later, but in the meantime, a few of the major ones you might know are:

  • Peppers
  • Eggplants
  • Tomatoes
  • Potatoes

You can even see from this list alone that nightshades cover a wide variety of foods. They may not look like they have much in common, but their compositions are actually really similar. In fact, there are two substances which they all share: alkaloids and calcitriol. So, now you know which foods are nightshades, it’s time to learn more about what’s in them.

Alkaloid Content of Nightshade Vegetables

Often, alkaloids are recognizable at a molecular level by a ring that has a nitrogen atom, usually derived from amino acids. Nevertheless, there are exceptions to this structure. Alkaloids are the riskiest and strongest components in herbal medicine. In fact, some of the strongest medicinal or recreational herbs come from this plant family.

Some alkaloids of note include:

  • That found in cigarettes and tobacco. It’s important to recognize that avoiding tobacco-based products doesn’t necessarily mean that you are avoiding all nicotine. This particular alkaloid is present in all of the parts of the nightshade vegetables.
  • Glycoalkaloid, a type of steroid made when an alkaloid is merged with sugar. While the amount contained in the vegetables is not toxic, the solanine can store itself in the body and be released by stress, posing a great disadvantage.
  • Those that act as the active ingredients in hot peppers, which can cause irritation.

Nightshade Vegetables: Allergies and Sensitivities

The nightshade family includes both deadly and safe plants, and the potentially dangerous compounds, if present in the vegetable, is generally not enough to cause immediate effects. Of course, like any other allergy, a nightshade allergy should be taken seriously. If can be hard to pinpoint if you have one, but if you suspect that you do, stop eating nightshade vegetables immediately and reach out to your doctor to get an examination.

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List of Nightshade Vegetables

There are about 2,000 species of nightshade vegetables. It’s important to know which ones are most commonly consumed, either directly or as an ingredient in something else. The list below is a good start, but it’s recommended to work with a professional to draw out the best diet plan.

Give yourself about three months of trial to determine if you’re allergic to any of these. Solanine may be stored in the body for quite some time.


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