Nightshade vegetables belong to the plant family called Solanaceae. These plants have been widely used as foods by many cultures for thousands of years. For instance, peppers, potatoes, and tomatoes add spice, flavor, and texture to many dishes!
Commonly Consumed Nightshade Vegetables:
- Tomatoes: All varieties
- Peppers: Including sweet peppers, chili peppers, bell, etc.
- Paprika and Cayenne
- Potatoes: All varieties, red, Russets, fingerling, etc.
- Tomatillos: A green, tomato-like veggie
There is no scientific evidence that this plant family is harmful to your health. Many foods in the Solanaceae family contain alkaloids, and these are chemicals that may impact the human nervous, digestive, and immune systems. Some pharmaceutical medications are derived from nightshade alkaloids. Nightshade vegetables are safe from a medical standpoint, but there are still cases of people who report food sensitivities.
Other Potential Problem Vegetables:
Roots and tubers of this family have anti-nutritive compounds. These anti-nutritive compounds may interfere with the absorption of nutrients from the plants. Subsequently, the potato members of this food family may cause digestive symptoms, blood sugar problems, and digestive upset.
Yam and sweet potatoes are in the family Convolvulaceae. However, people who are potato-sensitive may notice sensitivity or intolerance to these tubers.
Other plants in the Solanaceae family may cause joint swelling and pain in some people.
Other starchy plant families that some people with nightshade sensitivity may react to (ask your doctor about these if you have a potato or nightshade sensitivity):
- Fabaceae: Jicama (contains alkaloids)
- Convolvulaceae: Yams and sweet potatoes (contains alkaloids)
- Colocasia: Taro root
- Euphorbiaceae: Cassava/tapioca
- Helianthus tuberosus, daisy family: Jerusalem artichoke
Remember, food sensitivities and intolerances may not be the same for everyone! Furthermore, intolerance to tomatoes does not automatically mean an intolerance to eggplant or potatoes. And with such a diverse food family, it is not necessary to throw the baby out with the bathwater! We suggest reaching out to your doctor on how to determine which foods may be a problem for you.
Check out our Potato Substitution Page!