Nightshades

A few posts ago, I wrote about how I've been reading more about different types of regimes/diets and different types of eating, on my journey to change the way that I eat for the better. I don't think I'll ever be someone that can never have treats, but I would like to have them in a healthier way.

I'm also very interested in learning about what foods can be harmful or helpful to different people's bodies.

One category of food is called Nightshades. Nightshades are a botanical group known as solanaceae – making up over 92 varieties and 2,000 species. Some examples of nightshades are:

  • Potatoes, all varieties (except for sweet potatoes and yams)
  • Peppers (red, green, yellow, orange, jalapeno, chili, cayenne, pimento)
  • Tomatoes, all varieties (including Tomatillos)
  • Paprika
  • Eggplant
  •  
    Certain conditions can be aggravated by nightshades, such as arthritis, joint-pain, and autoimmune diseases. BUT, it's not a hard fast rule. This is more on the homeopathic sense, I think. Well, ok, if you eat only tomatoes every meal for a week...maybe you'll be more likely to see a drastic effect.
     
    Anyways, let's get into why nightshades could effect you.
     
    Nightshades contain alkaloids, calcitrol, and lectins.
     
    Alkaloids can cause inflammation, and one alkaloid in specific, Solanine can block an important enzyme in nerve cells called cholinterase, which can then cause joint stiffness and/or pain.
     
    Calcitrol is a hormone that signals the body to...like, update, calcium in the diet. If you consume too much calcitriol, you may get too much calcium in your blood, which can result in calcium deposits in tissues like tendons and ligaments.
     
    Lectin is the trickier one...this one seems to have more viable research behind it. Lectin molecules are likely to attach to the walls of the intestine which can cause or aggravate something called leaky gut. I've googled "leaky gut" and I'm not even going to get into it...that's way over my head. 
     
    So where does this leave me?  Well, right now I'm suffering from A LOT of joint pain. I went months too long with old runners and kept on working out and running (while upping my mileage even) and now I'm suffering from it. Finally on Friday I decided that I was taking a break from any high-impact working out...or really anything strenuous and will be only taking yoga classes for the entire week. So...it couldn't hurt me if I avoid tomatoes and peppers? I don't think I'd do this forever because salads would be boring (and I love peppers and tomatoes), but maybe it could help in my healing?
     
    I won't be doing any double-blind trials over this or anything, but I'm really interested knowing how the food I eat effects my body. I'm also kind of a hypocrite, because maybe while I avoid tomatoes this week, I'll have Dairy Queen or some other sweet treat that's full of man-made products and all kinds of crap... but...one step at a time I guess.

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