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Thread: Nightshade Free Support Thread

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2009

    Lightbulb Nightshade Free Support Thread

    I've been mostly-nightshade free for the past couple weeks, although I have been taking in trace amounts via mustard and a couple spices. I'm very interested in learning about how to be strictly nightshade free, and to gather a bunch of nightshade free related resources here. I put this here (instead of in the recipes section) because I'm hopeful those of you nightshade avoiders can share as much info as possible about how to successfully stick to being nightshade free, what products you can/cannot use, what it has done for you, why nightshades can be so harmful to some of us, etc....

    In order to totally strip nightshades from my diet, I want to figure out any places they might be 'hidden'. Mostly sticking to whole foods, this should not be too big of a problem, but I know there is usually paprika in mustard, so that is a kind of 'hidden' nightshade. (I've read dijon does not have paprika? I'm planning to look into it...) Any other 'hidden' nightshades you all have found? Obviously most spice blends are out (paprika, peppers, etc). Along with anything that has the ingredient "spices". Any other commonly-used-by-primals food items that someone going nightshade free ought to be wary of? TIA!!

    Here are a few resources I have found, and I'd love to add more to this list!!

    whfoods: What are nightshades and in which foods are they found?

    Foods considered to be nightshades

    Nightshade vegetables and fruit

    The most famous food members of the nightshade family include potatoes (Solanum tuberosum), tomatoes (Lycopersicon esculentum), many species of sweet and hot peppers (all species of Capsicum, including Capsicum annum), and eggplant (Solanum melongena). Less well know, but equally genuine nightshade foods include ground cherries (all species of Physalis), tomatillos (Physallis ixocapra), garden huckleberry (Solanum melanocerasum), tamarillos (Cyphomandra betacea), pepinos (Solanum muricatum), and naranjillas (Solanum quitoense). Pimentos (also called pimientos) belong to the nightshade family, and usually come from the pepper plant Capsicum annum. Pimento cheese and pimento-stuffed olives are therefore examples of foods that should be classified as containing nightshade components. Although the sweet potato, whose scientific name is Ipomoea batatas, belongs to the same plant order as the nightshades (Polemoniales), it does not belong to the Solanaceae family found in this order, but to a different plant family called Convolvulaceae.

    Nightshade spices

    The seasoning paprika is also derived from Capsicum annum, the common red pepper, and the seasoning cayenne comes from another nightshade, Capsicum frutenscens. Tabasco sauce, which contains large amounts of Capsicum annum, should also be considered as a nightshade food. It may be helpful to note here that black pepper, which belongs to the Piperaceae family, is not a member of the nightshade foods.
    Nightshade free recipes: (not all primal, but some are a helpful starting place!) (She also has a pretty helpful book that I own w/ recipes. I've not tried them out yet though.)

    Looking forward to learning more about all this here!!
    Last edited by FairyRae; 12-09-2010 at 05:30 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Western NY
    As a tomato lover I have to ask, why no nightshade? I realize that they are from the New World, but what makes them off limits in terms of nutrition?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    I'd venture to say most don't have an issue with them. But for those with joint issues, arthritis and some autoimmune issues, they can be a problem.

    More from the whfoods link in the first post:
    Ways in which nightshades may affect health

    Alkaloids - The chemistry of nightshades

    Most of the health research on nightshades has focused on a special group of substances found in all nightshades called alkaloids. In chemical terms, alkaloids are easy to identify because they all have at least one ring-like structure that contains the element nitrogen. Plants produce alkaloids as a regular part of their biochemical activity, and these alkaloids are primarily designed to help protect the plants from insects that would otherwise eat them.

    Four basic types of alkaloids are found in nightshade plants. These types are: (1) the steroid alkaloids, which contain a fairly complicated fused ring structure and are found in most food nightshades including potato and tomato; (to compare the value of one of the most notable steroid alkaloid -solanine-in the foods in which it is most concentrated, please refer to Table 1)(2) the 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) the pyrrolizidine alkaloid and (4) the indole alkaloids, both important groups from a drug standpoint.

    Table 1

    Vegetable Solanine contentmilligrams per 100 gram serving
    Common peppers 7.7-9.2
    Eggplant 6.1-11.33
    Potatoes 2-13
    Effect of steroid alkaloids on the nervous system

    The steroid alkaloids in potato - primarily solanine and chaonine - have been studied for their health effects in two areas. First is their ability to block activity of an enzyme in nerve cells called cholintesterase. Many of the alkaloids found in nightshades possess this kind of activity, called cholinesterase inhibition. If the activity of cholinesterase is too strongly blocked, the nervous system control of muscle movement becomes disrupted, and muscle twitching, trembling, paralyzed breathing, or convulsions can result. The steroid alkaloids found in potato have clearly been shown to block cholinesterase activity, but this block does not usually appear strong enough to produce nerve-muscle disruptions like twitching or trembling.

    Effect of steroid alkaloids on joint health

    A second type of problem potentially related to the potato alkaloids involves damage to the joints caused by inflammation and altered mineral status. Whether alkaloids can contribute to joint damage of this kind is not clear from current levels of research. Some researchers have speculated that nightshade alkaloids can contribute to excessive loss of calcium from bone and excessive depositing of calcium in soft tissue. For this reason, these researchers have recommended elimination of nightshade foods from the meal plans of all individuals with osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, or other joint problems like gout.

    Effect of nicotine alkaloid on health

    Just as there is no firm research evidence for the impact of the steroid alkaloids in nightshade foods on the nervous system or joints, there is also no solid research evidence for impact of the more drug-like alkaloids in nightshade foods on body systems. But to the surprise of many people, nightshade foods do contain very small amounts of drug-like alkaloids that have long been fascinating to medical and drug researchers.

    Consider, for example, the most famous of the one-ring type alkaloids (monocyclic alkaloids) found in the highest concentrations in tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum): nicotine. This alkaloid is found not only in non-food nightshades like tobacco, but also in the food nightshades including eggplant and tomato.

    But there is one important difference here: while alkaloids like nicotine are definitely found in nightshade foods, the amount involved is dramatically less. Even in the case of eggplant, which is the food nightshade that appears to have the highest nicotine content after tobacco, the amount of nicotine is far lower than the amount found in tobacco. In the case of green tomatoes, which also contain nicotine, the amount is even less. The levels of nicotine in all nightshade foods are so low that most healthcare practitioners have simply ignored the presence of nicotine in these foods as a potential compromising factor in our health. At the World's Healthiest Foods, we both agree and disagree with this conclusion. While we agree that the amount of nicotine in nightshade foods is very, very small, it still seems possible to us that some individuals might be particularly sensitive to the alkaloids found in nightshades, and that even very small amounts might compromise function in the bodies of these individuals.
    I'm trying this b/c I've had joint pain for most of my life that was not alleviated by primal eating alone. I'll be sure to share my findings!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    I am possibly autoimmune. I will miss tomatoes...

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    the nightshades are so yummy.........but my finger pain tells me to try eliminating them! Wah!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    I have been thinking that I should eliminate nightshades at some point - my joints certainly feel better now that tomato/pepper season is over, and eating primal helps a lot but not completely...I'm also thinking I should probably do away with the coffee, but that's for a different thread.

    FairyRae, you scared me when you listed peppers and spices, as I immediately thought of my beloved black pepper. But then I read further down that black pepper does not belong to the nightshade family. Thank goodness!!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Quote Originally Posted by Tawny View Post
    FairyRae, you scared me when you listed peppers and spices, as I immediately thought of my beloved black pepper. But then I read further down that black pepper does not belong to the nightshade family. Thank goodness!!
    +1000000 I'm glad to at least still have black pepper.

    Soooo many delish foods/spices are nightshades. The peppers are the hardest for me so far...

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Houston, TX
    Nightshades also have lectins.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    mustard qualifies nightshade??? ohhh doomed lol

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Woo hoo! Annie's dijon mustard looks nightshade free! Yay!
    Last edited by FairyRae; 12-09-2010 at 05:17 PM.

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