A healthy body starts with healthy lifestyle choices like exercising daily, getting plenty of sleep, and consuming a nutritious diet. When it comes to a healthy eating plan, most nutritionists recommend a diet containing lean proteins, low-fat dairy products, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and plenty of fruits and vegetables. According to research however, people with osteoarthritis may want to use caution when adding certain vegetables ─ specifically those of the nightshade family ─ to their diet. Some experts believe nightshade vegetables can trigger symptoms in people with arthritis.
What are nightshade vegetables?
Over 2,800 species in the Solanaceae family of plants are grown in the shade of night, hence the name nightshade vegetables. Nightshades common to many American diets include eggplant, potatoes, tomatoes, sweet peppers, hot peppers, tomatillos, and pimentos.
How do nightshade vegetables trigger osteoarthritis?
Nightshade vegetables contain alkaloids that some experts believe interfere with the metabolism of calcium. One theory suggests that these alkaloids cause calcium to be removed from the bone and deposited in soft tissue, like the joints.
Research also shows that nightshade foods contain compounds that inhibit the production of cholinesterase, a group of enzymes needed for proper function of the nervous system. Low levels may cause inflammation, muscle spasms, and joint tenderness, all symptoms that exacerbate osteoarthritis and other forms.
Should I remove nightshade vegetables from my diet?
According to research, roughly 30 percent of osteoarthritis sufferers show improved symptoms from restricting nightshade vegetables for three to six months. People with osteoarthritis who consume many of these types of vegetables may want to avoid them for several weeks to see if symptoms improve. People looking to remove night shade vegetables from the diet also need to eliminate products that contain nightshades like soups, stews, hot sauces, and others. Reading labels helps determine the presence of these vegetables in products.