A group of foods that look very innocent, the nightshade family, may be responsible for your arthritis. The foods in this group are, in general, good nutrition, but if you are allergic to some of the substances found in them, you will not be able to detoxify and wash out waste materials that are responsible for your arthritis.

Solanine and the nightshade foods

The nightshade foods contain several compounds known as alkaloids. Among them we find solanine and chaonine. These compounds can affect you mainly in the following way:

  • They have the ability to block the activity of an enzyme found in nerve cells called cholintesterase. This blockage is known as cholinesterase inhibition. If the activity of cholinesterase is heavily blocked, the nervous system that controls muscle movements becomes disrupted, and can result in muscle twitching, trembling, paralyzed breathing, or convulsions.
  • They can cause inflammation and as a result, damage to the joints.
  • They can also cause an alteration of minerals. An example will be loss of calcium from bone and excessive deposits of calcium in tissues.

For this reason, health experts have recommended elimination of nightshade foods from the meal plans of all individuals with osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, or other joint problems like gout. In addition they can also compromise the digestive function and weaken the immune system.

If you are troubled by stiffness that does not respond to the usual washing and detoxification program, then you may be allergic to the nightshade group of foods and you may want to eliminate these foods for a while to see if the pain and joint stiffness goes away.

Simple detoxification plan

The following foods belong to the nightshade group:

  • Tomatoes
  • Potatoes
  • Eggplants
  • Sweet and hot peppers
  • Tomatillos
  • Paprika
  • Cayenne
  • Tabasco sauce

Eliminate these foods in any form from your food program. These foods that have a high content of solanine and can cause a toxic overload in your system. Eliminating these foods from the diet is a simple detoxification plan that may well prevent some of the arthritis reactions you are experiencing.

Cooking of nightshade plants

Steaming, boiling, and baking all help reduce the amount of alkaloid components of nightshades, but only by about 40-50%. If you are non-sensitive to these foods, the cooking of nightshade foods will often be sufficient to make the health risk from nightshade intake insignificant. However, if you are sensitive, the remaining alkaloid concentration may be enough to cause problems.

Final word

First, if you have osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, or gout, eliminating foods from the nightshade group for 2 to 3 weeks from your meals may be worthwhile to determine if these foods could be the cause of your joint problems. This same recommendation would apply if you have problems related to nerves or muscles.

If you don’t have any problems related to nightshade foods, you still may want to take precautions to avoid excessive intake of alkaloids from these foods. Here are some ways that will help you minimize the potential harmful compounds in potatoes:

  • Store your potatoes in a dark area. Exposure to light increases the formation of alkaloids.
  • Wash the potatoes and cut all green areas before cooking. Green spots on potatoes have a high level of alkaloids.
  • Avoid sprouted potatoes as they also have a higher than normal content of alkaloids.
  • Do not purchase potatoes that have been waxed.

I am Andy Carpenter and I would start by saying that I have a Bachelor Degree in Nutrition Science conferred by California State University, Los Angeles and that I am certified as a Registered Dietitian.

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