Arthritis: Should You Avoid Nightshade Vegetables?

The Short Answer from a rheumatologist

Arthritis: Should You Avoid Nightshade Vegetables?

Q: Will nightshade vegetables worsen my arthritis?

A: One of the most persistent myths about arthritis involves avoiding the nightshade family of vegetables, of which tomatoes, white potatoes, eggplant and bell peppers are members.

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Some people blame arthritic swelling, pain and stiffness on a buildup of solanine, a bitter-tasting chemical found in nightshade plants.

It’s true that solanine is one of the glykoalkaloids that make “deadly nightshade” deadly, and green potato leaves, sprouts and stems poisonous.

But it is highly unlikely that avoiding the trace amounts of solanine found in nightshade vegetables will ease your arthritic pain or inflammation. Research to support this claim just isn’t there.

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Furthermore, it would be a shame to eliminate these nutritious foods from your diet.

One of the best ways to reduce arthritis symptoms and inflammation is to eat well. By that I mean following an anti-inflammatory diet such as the Mediterranean diet, or one that is predominantly plant-based (including fresh fruits and vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts and healthy fats).

You’ll also want to limit meat, especially processed meats like sausage; fried foods; and processed foods and other forms of refined carbohydrate.

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Rheumatologist/immunologist Leonard Calabrese, DO

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