List of Nightshade Veggies and Fruits
A little bit about Nightshades:
A large family of plants grown in the shade of night called Solanaceae. These vegetables and fruits contain a substance, called alkaloids, which may be responsible for some health problems including muscle pain, morning stiffness, poor healing, acid reflux, insomnia, gallbladder problems, arthritis and other inflammatory problems.
These alkaloids are produced by the plants to protect them from harmful insects.
However, these substances can act like chemical substances and have strong physiological effects in humans.
There are four basic types of alkaloids found in nightshade plants. These types are:
(1) Steroid alkaloids, which contain a fairly complicated fused ring structure and are found in most food nightshades including potato and tomato.
(2) Tropane alkaloids, all originating from the simple amino acid ornithine and found in fewer of the overall nightshades, but more extensively researched due to their strong drug-like properties
(3) Pyrrolizidine alkaloid.*
(4) Indole alkaloids.*
*Both important groups from a drug standpoint.
Solanine is the toxin (Glycoalkaloid Poison) contained in all nightshade plants such as tomatoes, potatoes, and goji berries. It can occur naturally in any part of the plant, including the leaves, fruit, and tubers. Solanine has fungicidal and pesticidal properties. Again, it is one of the plant’s natural defenses.
[As it turns out, the healthy divine little blueberry fruits are not a nightshade plant, but they do contain solanine. Other non-nightshade plants that contain solanine include huckleberries, okra, artichokes and ground cherries.]
*This is about as in-depth about why nightshades can cause trouble for folks that I intend to get into. You can find a ton of information online if you search for information about:
- no nightshade diet
- solanine toxcity syndrome
- Banana Peppers
- Chili Peppers
- Jalapeno Peppers
- Potatoes (sweet potatoes are okay)
- Sweet Peppers (black pepper is okay)
- Thai Peppers
- Wax Peppers
- Goji Berries/Wolfberry
- Gooseberry/Cape Gooseberry/Ground Cherry
- Jerusalem Cherries
Herbs / Plants:
- Banewort (another name for nightshade)
- Belladonna / Atropa Belladonna (used in Homeopathy, found in Viagra)
- Bittersweet (Atropine Belladonna)
- Devil’s Cherries (another name for nightshade)
- Devil’s Herb (another name for nightshade)
- Divale (another name for nightshade)
- Dwale (another name for nightshade)
- Dwayberry (another name for nightshade)
- Great Morel (another name for nightshade)
- Jimson Weed
- Nightshade / Deadly Nightshade
- Petunias (yes, the flower)
*I may have a few of the above on the ‘wrong’ lists…but the point of putting this all down in list form is to help you sort out what in your diet might be causing you to suffer from muscle pain, morning stiffness, poor healing, acid reflux, insomnia, gallbladder problems, arthritis and other inflammatory problems.
Other forms of ‘food’ that can contain solanine:
- Modified Food Starch (Be cautious of starch if it doesn’t say where it’s derived from.)
- Starch (*If it doesn’t say where it’s derived from, check with the manufacturer)
- Yeast (*Most yeast contains potato, both baking yeast and beer yeast. **Red Star yeast does not contain potato.)
- Shellac Wax (comes from Lac beetle that feeds on Wolfberry plants, found on shiny fruit and veggies, commonly not listed in ingredients)
- Palmitate Vitamin A (In margarine and milk, it’s derived from potatoes.)
Medicines and Chemicals:
- Hyoscine (another name for scopolamine)
- Scopolamine (common in motion sickness meds)
- Viagra (contains belladonna)
Not to be mistaken for Nightshades:
- Black Pepper
- White Pepper
- Green Peppercorns
- Sichuan Pepper
- Long Pepper
Another note on starch:
Shredded Cheese often contains potato starch, food manufacturers add it so the cheese will not clump. I now buy my cheese in blocks and shred it myself. I often pre-shred small amounts from the block. A little extra work yes, but avoiding the muscle pain and belly aches are worth the work.
As a last note:
I’ve known for a long time that I have to be very careful eating nightshade plants. It is probably not a coincidence that I had to have my gall bladder removed in my late 30’s.
Solanine cannot be destroyed by cooking at high temps – other than in one case: deep frying is the only way it can be destroyed in potatoes. And since I don’t usually like deep fried foods of any sort I rarely eat fries anyhow.
So you will notice that I will be very cautious about adding nightshades into my diet. When I do it will be in small amounts.