The Dangers Of Nightshades

Nightshades belong to a group of plants that belong to the Solanaceae family that includes over 2,000 species. 

They are commonly consumed foods: all types of peppers, tomatoes, potatoes, and eggplant. These aren’t a member but contain similar inflammation-inducing alkaloids are: goji berries, huckleberries, blueberries and ashwaganda (Indian Ginseng). Nightshades work to cause inflammation in a certain chemical known as solanine. Researchers view the chemical as an irritant to the gastrointestinal tract. When it is taken in by the bloodstream, it destroys oxygenated red-blood cells. 

Solanine is referred to as aceytlcholinesterase inhibitor, which works to stop the breakdown of a neurotransmitter, acetylcholine (ACh), leading to an accrued buildup of ACh in nerve receptor sites. This leads to persistent over-stimulation of ACh receptors, especially those found in the nervous system that contribute to the stimulation of the parasympathetic nervous system. Solanines do not dissolve in water, and cannot be destroyed when cooked, and broken down in the body. It has to be excreted as an alpha-solanine. Alpha-solanine is labeled as a neurotoxin, and many foods containing it, also have around 5 other neurotoxins including nicotine and atropine. 

Arthritis is also caused by those who consume nightshades. 1 in 3 people with arthritis will have a bad reaction to nightshades. There are some researchers who believe that arthritis is misdiagnosed in those who could be feeling side effects from nightshade consumption. Its found that alkaloids have an effect on metabolism of calcium.

It isn’t understood how, but nightshade foods can eliminate calcium from the bones and store it away in soft tissue cells, enabling the risk for arthritis. For that reason, researchers are recommending that those who suffer from osteoarthritis, gout, rheumatoid arthritis or other joint problems to not eat nightshades in their daily diet. 

The founder of the Arthritis Nightshades Research Foundation, Norman F. Childers, had to say this about the topic:“Diet appears to be a factor in the etiology of arthritis based on surveys of over 1400 volunteers during a 20-year period. Plants in the drug family, Solanaceae (nightshades) are an important causative factor in arthritis in sensitive people.” The main cause of these reactions in people is the alkaloid, tropane, being present, which a lot of people are sensitive to. 

Removing nightshades from my diet has changed my health for the better. I eliminated all nightshades from my diet in 2006. I noticed that I had no need for an inhaler anymore. I was diagnosed with reactive airways disease in 1996. I was using inhalers constantly on a daily basis. My need for inhaler use had dropped dramatically. Six years ahead, I never needed the inhaler at all. 

After 3 months of cutting out nightshades from my diet, I had no weakness in my legs and no knee pain anymore. If you suffer from arthritis, rheumatism, lupus and other musculoskeletal pain disorders, the nightshades could be affecting their health. 

The Nightshade List:

  • Goji berries
  • Tomarillos (a plum-like fruit from Peru)
  • Sorrel
  • Garden Huckleberry & Blueberries (contain the alkaloids that induce inflammation)
  • Gooseberries
  • Pepino Melon
  • The Homeopathic “Belladonna”
  • Tobacco
  • Paprika
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Tomatoes (all varieties, including tomatillos)
  • Potatoes (all varieties, NOT sweet potatoes or yams)
  • Eggplant (aubergine)
  • Okra
  • Artichokes
  • Peppers (all varieties such as bell pepper, wax pepper, green & red peppers, chili peppers,
  • cayenne, paprika, etc.)

Soy sauce that’s manufactured in America is made with GMO (genetically modified) soybeans, which are cut from the nightshade plant Petunia. There is a healthy alternative, and that is Bragg’s Amino Acids at your local health food store. It is essentially fermented soy sauce with spring water in it. The taste is exactly the same as soy sauce, except it is in pure form. 

Note: Black/White pepper and peppercorns aren’t from the nightshade family. 

Other Ingredients / Products to Avoid:

  • Homeopathic remedies containing Belladonna (known as deadly nightshade).
  • Prescription and over-the-counter medications containing potato starch as a filler (especially prevalent in sleeping and muscle relaxing meds).
  • Edible flowers: Chalice vine, day jasmine, petunias, angel and devil’s trumpets.
  • Atropine and Scopolamine, used as an ingredient in sleeping pills
  • Topical medications for pain and inflammation containing capsicum (in cayenne pepper).
  • Many baking powders have potato starch in them. 
  • Don’t lick envelopes, many adhesives contain potato starch
  • Vodka (potatoes used in production)
  • Read labels carefully because you could be doing everything else right, and still be sabotaged by one small amount of an ingredient.
  • Never buy a food that uses the generic term of seasoning or spices, because you won’t know what is really in your food.

Three Month Challenge

Take the 3-month challenge if you want to know if nightshades have a negative effect on your body. Avoid any nightshades for three months. Be aware of the list of nightshades up above, and read labels because some prescriptions, homeopathics; over the counter medications and processed foods can contain nightshades.

The over the counter medicines and prescriptions will require you to call your pharmacist or manufacturer of the prescription drug. After the three months, add in nightshades to your diet one at a time. Be aware and take note of any stiffness, aches, headaches, pains, respiratory issues, energy loss, or other symptoms. You will either find out as I did, or not. You will notice changes in your health after cutting nightshades from your diet. 

The Cost of Pain

A June 29th, 2011 report from the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies found that 116 million American adults (A third of the US population) live with a form of pain daily. This amount is higher than the number of people who suffer from heart disease, cancer and diabetes all together.

The average cost for American taxpayers comes to around $635 billion dollars annually. These are costs estimated from lost wages, productivity loss, disability and direct medical expenses.

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