So, nightshade vegetables: Hazard or health food?
Nightshade vegetables have been given a bad reputation, with some people claiming they are inflammatory or harmful. Nightshades are a group of plants that includes over 2,000 varieties, such as eggplant, potatoes, peppers, and tomatoes.
The concern comes from alkaloids and glycoalkaloids, which are specific plant-based chemicals that have an impact on human physiology, even at low doses. Some nightshades, like belladonna, are dangerous, but normal nightshade foods found in supermarkets or farmer's markets are not toxic.
Potatoes can be harmful if they turn green due to solanine development, but heating and cooling them produce resistant starch, which benefits the gut microbiome. Rodent studies suggest glycoalkaloids could injure the gut microbiome, but it is not the same as consuming nightshades in moderation. Alkaloids such as capsaicin have been shown to benefit the microbiome, and avoiding nightshades may not be necessary unless one has a food intolerance.
When it comes to managing food intolerances, it's important to take a comprehensive approach. While avoiding trigger foods is a key part of the equation, it's also important to understand the underlying reasons for your intolerances. This can involve testing for food allergies and sensitivities, as well as performing a gut microbiome analysis.
Food allergies and sensitivities can cause a range of symptoms, from digestive distress to skin rashes and respiratory issues. Identifying and avoiding trigger foods is an important step in managing these symptoms, but it's also important to address any underlying gut health issues that may be contributing to your intolerance. A gut microbiome analysis can help identify imbalances in your gut bacteria that may be contributing to inflammation and other symptoms.
In addition to testing, it's also important to work with a healthcare professional who can help you develop a personalized plan for managing your intolerances. This may involve making dietary changes, taking supplements to support gut health, and incorporating stress-reducing practices like meditation or yoga.