Those in the anti-nightshades camp generally argue that these plants can be harmful for the following reasons:
Alkaloids and glycoalkaloids
THese are chemicals that the plant has as natural pesticides, phytonutrients that are in the plant for them for their survival. If a bug attacks them, they can’t run or use bug spray, they have evolved to have these chemicals built right in to protect them.
Most phytonutrients are incredibly good for us. The chemicals above are problematic for some people.
Some people gain amazing benefits from these chemicals, so knowing your bodies reaction and testing for a sensitivity is important. The evidence is mixed.
Potatoes, for some, create digestive issues. For others are healing for colitis and IBS.
“There is also evidence pointing to the idea that some of the glycoalkaloids may be beneficial. For example, capsaicin (in peppers) has been shown to be effective in controlling pain, as well as having benefits for various health concerns, including obesity, cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. It has been studied in animal models for its ability to positively modulate the gut microbiota by supporting the growth of Faecalibacterium prausnitzii, Akkermansia municiniphila, and Roseburia.
Some of the alkaloids and glycoalkaloids may also have potential anticancer and anti-inflammatory effects. One study in mice found that tomatidine, a glycoalkaloid in tomatoes, could help to reduce atherogenesis.”
Many nighthades have lectins in them, which are sometimes called antinutrients. Dr. Minches conclusion on lectins is that how you eat them, cooked or raw, and how much diversity is in your diet determines whether your body can handle eating the lectins or not.
Having said that, some people DO have an adverse reaction to lectins. Know your body.
The high glutamate content in tomatoes can sometimes flare gout issues.
And some people are just allergic to the family or sensitive to all of them.
Eliminating nightshades is a part of the AIP protocol for autoimmune diseases. It can offer some great relief. It is however meant as a diet to help heal the gut and by doing so to lower inflammation. It is not necessarily a ‘forever’ food protocol.
Sensitivities in general can change. Allergies do not. A sensitivity starts a slow burn which becomes inflammation and leads to leaky gut and chronic illness. An allergy on the other hand, can kill a person and generally does not change. Know the difference. It you have an allergy, avoid that food or substance at all costs.
If nightshades are problematic, it might be that you need to eliminate them going forward, but you may also be able to add them slowly back into your eating routine after some time. I have lost some sensitivity to a few foods on my original list, but not all. Every once in a while I try a food that is on my list, and I let my body vote. It speaks loud and clear in symptoms, and now that I listen, I don’t miss it.
Our bodies come equipped with some pretty amazing mechanisms to heal and rebalance, but they need us to give them the right inputs to work optimally.
As I posted yesterday, the body is a self-repairing entity. The goal is to find the right balance in your body.
Symptoms are your bodies way of communicating to you. Listen up before they start to scream, and are causing real problems and inflammation.
Functional medicine believes that the entire body functions as one entity. Find the root cause of what is putting your body out of balance, and work to bring yourself back into balance. If one system is out of balance it IS impacting all your other body systems. Conventional medicine’s approach to identify one system out of whack, and prescribing a pill for it only mitigates the issue. Look for the root cause and then work to repair that to return back to balance. Your entire body needs to work in harmony for long term health.