All About Nightshades
Learn all there to know about eating nightshades on a Paleo diet.
Nightshades and Paleo
Nightshades are a classification of plants that can range from problematic to downright lethal for humans.
Something about food that you should always remember is this: Some people tolerate certain foods better than others.
Which means you will tolerate certain foods better than others.
Never forget that.
Nightshades are plants from the Solanaceae family, which includes herbs, vines, shrugs, trees, spices and weeds.
You probably eat nightshades on a regular basis.
The most common nightshades include:
- Goji berries
- Hot peppers
- Bell peppers
Sensitivity to Nightshades
If you are sensitive to certain foods, like dairy, you have a higher likelihood of being sensitive to nightshades.
If you ever struggle with stomach issues, you might want to consider curbing your intake of nightshades. You could even eliminate them altogether for a couple weeks and then slowing reintroduce them into your diet to try to figure out which nightshades might give you issues.
Alkaloids are chemical structures containing nitrogen and are naturally occurring in nightshades.
Alkaloids was nature's way of warding off pests. While these alkaloids were mostly intended to ward off insects and animals, they also have a warding off effect in humans (just like lectins in grains).
Most nightshades contain small amounts of alkaloids, which is why our general recommendation for nightshades is to test them for yourself.
If you experience stomach discomfort, digestive problems, joint pain or other hard-to-diagnose physical conditions, especially soon after eating nightshades, you probably are sensitive to them.
Cooked Versus Raw
Cooking nightshades can reduce alkaloid levels, sometimes by as much as half.
If you don't generally do well on raw nightshades—or any raw food—try cooking them to varying levels of doneness. Then take note of how your body responds.
Nightshades are like dairy; you may tolerate them better or worse than others, which is why you have to self-experiment.
If you find yourself feeling not great after eating some fresh fajitas, you may have a nightshade problem!