For those that suffer from arthritis or an arthritis related disease such as lupus, rheumatism, and other musculoskeletal pain disorders members of the Solanaceae family of flowering plants, more commonly known as nightshades, may be adversely affecting their illness. Members of the nightshade family include tomatoes, potatoes (but not sweet potatoes), eggplant, most peppers (both sweet and hot varieties including paprika, cayenne pepper and Tabasco sauce) and tobacco.
Norman F. Childers, PhD, is the founder of the Arthritis Nightshades Research Foundation. He has the following to say on this subject: “Diet appears to be a factor in the etiology of arthritis based on surveys of over 1400 volunteers during a 20-year period. Plants in the drug family, Solanaceae (nightshades) are an important causative factor in arthritis in sensitive people.” The primary cause of the reactions in some people is the presence of an alkaloid called tropane which many are very sensitive to.
On the other side of the fence on this issue is an arthritis blog post at About.com: Arthritis, which says: “According to the University of Washington website, “No foods have been definitively shown to cause or exacerbate arthritis in most individuals. A variety of diets and hand-me-down information exists about certain foods and arthritis, in particular the night shade plants, but none of it has been proven.” The effect of foods on arthritis symptoms vary greatly from person to person. It is an individual decision whether or not to avoid nightshade vegetables.” However, there is a posted reply stating: “I am finding that since I cut potatoes and tomatoes almost completely out of my diet, I can no longer tolerate either. They cause excruciating pain in my legs and hips the following day. I do not believe this to be a coincidence.”
While many members of the nightshade family have been an important part of the human diet for centuries, there may be many who would benefit from removing them from their diet. Will this work for all arthritis suffers? Maybe, maybe not, but what have you got to loose by trying this except a short change in diet (a minimum of a two week trial is recommended) and a whole lot of pain?
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