- Last Updated on Thursday, 31 March 2016 11:54
Nightshade Vegetable Sensitivity
Some people react badly to Nightshade Vegetables - meaning they are unable to digest them fully.
These foods are only recently introduced to the Western diet from South America - so they fall into the category of "Modern Foods". . . those which cause the symptoms of food intolerance.
However - it's wise to first check out the four main food intolerances which might be causing your symptoms: sensitivity to Dairy, Gluten, Yeast or Fructose.
The most commonly eaten nightshade vegetables are:
- Capsicum family (bell peppers, chili peppers, jalapeno, cayenne pepper etc.)
- Eggplant (Aubergine)
- Goji berry
- Ground cherry
- Tomatoes and concentrated tomato products
These contain substances which don't affect most people: saponins, alkaloids and lectins. But in certain others there can be quite bad reactions.
There can be many symptoms of Nightshade Sensitivity. They overlap with the symptoms of other food intolerances like Gluten intolerance and Dairy intolerance - especially when these latter sensitivities have already caused Leaky Gut.
- Gastrointestinal symptoms:
- Malabsorption symptoms- lack of nutrients:
- Low iron levels - or Anaemia
- Low calcium and other mineral levels
- Loss of bone density - brittle bones
- Arthritic Stiff or painful joints or back ache
- Mood swings, the 'blues' and depression
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How Do Nightshade Vegetables Cause Leaky Gut?
Nightshades contain alkaloids which are poisonous in large amounts. But they also contain saponins. Depending on the quantity eaten, the effect of saponins in these foods can damage the gut - tearing tiny holes in the tissue lining. This leads to a condition called Leaky Gut - and from there to inflammatory disease.
Saponins in these foods have evolved to protect the plant from being decimated by insects. Their action is to dissolve the cell membranes of predatory insects so they die.
- Unfortunately this same effect - damage to cell membranes - can also be suffered by mammals (like us!) frequently in the small intestine. The result is a gut lining that develops holes and allows the passage of foreign - often toxic - substances into our bloodstream - making us ill . . . Leaky Gut.
In addition some of this group of vegetables (e.g. potatoes) also contain lectins which cause additional gut damage in large amounts in some people. Remember - the effects of nightshade vegetables depend on the quantity eaten. Overindulgence - as with any 'modern food' may lead to problems.
Nightshade Vegetable Sensitivity - like all food intolerance - is genetic. You got it from your parents, grandparents and other ancestors - it’s in your genes!
If your cultural heritage is South American your chance of being Nightshade sensitive is low - because Nightshades are native to this continent. However they were only recently added to the Western diet (around 400 years ago - very recently in anthropological terms). That's why many of us do not have the biological equipment to fully digest these plants.
Note: Nightshade Sensitivity is genetic - so if you have children - you may have already passed on those genes to your sons and daughters. So make sure you alert your children possibility. Being well informed allows them to make good choices for their health.
Comments: If you have Nightshade Sensitivity - you will improve dramatically by identifying which vegetable is the problem. You will not be sensitive to all Nightshades.
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iEaton et al.: Stone Agers in the fast lane: chronic degenerative diseases in evolutionary perspective. Am J Med. 1988 Apr;84(4):739-49
iiCordain L, Cereal Grains: Humanity's Double Edged Sword. World Review of Nutrition & Dietetics, 1999;84:19-73
iiiWikipedia: Prevalence of Lactose Intolerance
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