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Are nightshade fruits and vegetables bad for you?

Are nightshade fruits and vegetables bad for you?


Most of us have heard about the rumor about tomatoes and eggplants and how they help develop and worsen arthritis. Those who believe in this tea blame these fruits’ “toxins” or the compounds called lectins.

This isn’t true though. “The simple act of cooking helps to break down these lectins and the minute risk of any negative action can be easily deactivated,” write Duane Mellor and Nenad Naumovski on the website The Conversation. Mellor is the director of the British Dietetic Association, and Naumovski is a professor of Food Science and Human Nutrition at the University of Canberra.

Those who are also averse to tomatoes and eggplants point to these fruits’ membership to the nightshade family. Nightshade fruits and vegetables are members of the diverse plant family solanaceae, which also includes chili peppers, potatoes, and the poisonous berries called “deadly nightshade” among 2,000 others. They’re believed to contain toxins produced to stop us from eating them, which are harmful to us as they cause inflammation, consequently, aggravating arthritis.

nolisoli eats restaurant half saints nightshade
Ratatouille puff pizza with hummus, roasted eggplant, tomato, and chili at Half Saints restaurant in Quezon City

However, these aren’t true. Not all plants in the solanaceae family are dangerous. In fact, the edible solanaceae vegetables are vital to some of the most healthy dietary patterns like the Mediterranean diet.

As for arthritis, Mellor and Naumovski found no evidence of its awful relationship with the nightshade fruits and vegetables. Actually, what they found about it on research is that the Mediterranean-type diet could even aid people with this inflammation of the joints.

If we were to stop eating these perfectly fine and nutritious nightshade fruits and vegetables for no real reason, and without replacing them with similarly nourishing goods, we would be missing out on what our bodies need the most.

So let’s be wary first before hopping on a wellness bandwagon (remember when you thought gluten is bad for everyone, including those who don’t have Celiac disease?). If these fruits and vegetables don’t affect your health negatively, then you’d be fine eating them.


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Header image courtesy of Lars Blankers on Unsplash

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Writer: YAZHMIN MALAJITO © 2020. Hinge Inquirer Publications, Inc.