Nightshade vegetables include those vegetables which come under the family Solanaceae. In the early years these vegetables were believed to be poisonous. The poisonous and evil effects of these vegetables gave them the name 'Nightshade Vegetables'. Some believe they grow in shade and are poisonous hence they got this name. Well, as there are controversies regarding its name, the same case is with its harmfulness. Some claim that they are harmful and some say they are not. Let's check out which all vegetables come under this category.

Nightshade Vegetables List
  • Tomato
  • Eggplant
  • Pepper (Except black and white pepper)
  • Potato
  • Garden Huckleberry
  • Ground Cherries
  • Tobacco
Previously tomato and other plants were used as show plants and were not eaten but later it was included in the daily diet.

Nightshade Vegetables and Health Issues

Nightshade family is considered to be the reason behind many health issues. Although it has not been proved but many people believe they do. All these vegetables contain traces of alkaloids which if taken in high amount can be harmful. The production of alkaloids in these plants is a part of defense mechanism to protect themselves from the insects. The alkaloid in nightshade can be understood by the term nicotine. High amount of alkaloid production can be seen as green spots on the fruit. Take the example of potato. You must have noticed green spots on the potato or when you peel it. This green region is the part which has responded as a defense mechanism and has a high amount of alkaloids. If the nightshade plants are exposed to sunlight, alkaloid production is increased which can again be noticed as green spots. This alkaloid production is considered to be very harmful if taken in high quantity. Following are the health risks related to the nightshade vegetable.
  • The alkaloids may result in the excess loss of calcium from the bones and excess deposition of calcium in the soft tissues. This may result in arthritis or other joint problems.
  • It may also block the activities of enzymes which may result in the improper working of the nervous system.
  • Nightshade vegetable allergy is also a frequently observed health problem. The symptoms of this allergy are stiffness in the joints, nausea, inflammation, diarrhea, dizziness, migraines and weakness or fatigue.
Necessary Precautions with Nightshade Vegetables

Although the health risk caused by nightshade plants are not yet proven but research shows that arthritis is somewhere related to these plants. As it has been observed that when a person affected by arthritis stops eating the vegetables of this family, his/her health condition improves dramatically. Following are some of the precautions which you can take while having nightshade plants.
  • You should only eat the fruit of these plants. Avoid eating the stem, leaves or flowers.
  • Eat the fruit only when it is ripe.
  • If you find any green spots on a tomato, potato, eggplant or any other plant of this family then either remove that part or throw the entire fruit.
  • Wash the fruit properly as it will help you to find the green spots.
So, now that you know about the nightshade vegetables and their health related problems, you can include them in your diet but in a controlled amount. Do not eliminate them totally as these vegetables are rich in other nutrients and help our body in many ways.