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Vegetables That Can Be Dangerous

Here are a few things you need to know about nightshades.
Mia Morales Nov 15, 2019
When eating a healthy diet, you might assume that all vegetables are good for you. While most are safe and can be an important part of a healthy diet, there are some vegetables that may not be as safe for you as you might think.
Nightshades are a kind of vegetable that may prove harmful for some, even though they are a common part of many people's diets, and they contain multiple antioxidants, vitamins and nutrients. Here are a few things you must know about nightshades.

What Is a Nightshade?

A nightshade is a kind of vegetable that belongs to the Solanaceae family. While there are thousands of plants that fall into this category, even some that are actually poisonous, like belladonna, there are several kinds of vegetables in this category that are actually consumed regularly by humans.
A partial nightshade vegetables list includes tomatoes, eggplants, white potatoes, bell peppers, and cayenne peppers.

What Makes Nightshades Dangerous?

Despite the fact that vegetables from the nightshade family contain many vitamins and nutrients, they do contain substances that could prove harmful. One of the main substances that are believed to be harmful is known as alkaloids.
Alkaloids contain nitrogen, and are most often found in the stems and leaves of nightshade plants, however some nitrogen can also be found in the plants too.

Who Benefits from Avoiding Nightshades?

Even though nightshades might be considered healthy for most, there are some groups of people who may be better off avoiding them. One of these groups is people who suffer from autoimmune disorders, particularly those that suffer from rheumatoid arthritis or other autoimmune disorders that affect joints.
Also, those who suffer from digestive issues such as irritable bowel disease may find themselves having issues with nightshades as well. This is in part because they can be difficult to digest and process for those who already have digestive issues.

Symptoms of Nightshade Intolerance

While many people may not have negative reactions to nightshade, they can potentially cause serious issues for others. A good way to asses whether or not you are allergic or intolerant to nightshades is to monitor how you feel after you eat a vegetable from nightshade family.
Another way to asses how they affect you is to cut them from your diet completely for at least two weeks, and then reintroduce them. This way, you can get a clear idea of how you felt while you weren't eating them, and also how you felt once you reintroduced them.
Some symptoms you may notice if you don't tolerate nightshades well are shortness of breath, coughing, skin rash or hives, pale or clammy skin, and tightness in your throat.

Ways to Replace Nightshades

If it turns out that nightshades need to be removed from your diet, there doesn't necessarily need to be cause for concern, because there can be many healthy options to replace them. Some popular substitutes for nightshades include sweet potatoes, mushrooms and cauliflower.
Incorporating more leafy greens and citrus fruits can also help you fill out your diet as well. While it may take some getting used to at first, there are recipes and other resources available that can help to make the process of cutting nightshades out of your diet easier.

The Takeaway

Nightshades may be an important part of a healthy diet for some, however they may prove dangerous for others, particularly those with an allergy or health issues such as irritable bowel disease or an autoimmune disorder. Even if you believe they are safe for you, taking time to asses how eating nightshades makes you feel could be beneficial.
So, whether you love nightshades and eat them every day, or rarely touch them, learning a little more about this vegetable family and how you react to it could help you better understand and possibly even improve your health overall.