What Are Nightshade Vegetables? And Who Should Avoid Them?

Most people I know in the fitness community are in this lifestyle for the long haul. I know I am. As you get older you may run into some roadblocks.

Aches, pains, popping joints and arthritis can turn weight training into quite a painful challenge. I bet you have heard of nightshade vegetables. But have you ever thought of the significant impact that they can have on your body?

In simple terms, night shades are from the botanical family. They are a group of plants that contain harmful alkaloids. They are called steroid alkaloids and are toxic to the nervous system.

These alkaloids can contribute to the loss of calcium from the bone. Soft tissue can then become damaged as calcium deposits there. Specifically causing inflammation and can irritate joints.

Night Shade Vegetables

  • Bell Peppers – cherry, green, red and yellow
  • Cayenne
  • Chili Peppers
  • Eggplant
  • Goji Berries
  • Hot Peppers
  • Paprika
  • Peppers – green, red sweet and hot
  • Potatoes – white and red
  • Tobacco
  • Tomatillos
  • Tomatoes – green and red

*Green nightshades are even worse. Nightshade vegetables are usually harvested when they are still green and not even ripe.

Exceptions to Every Rule: These Are Not Considered Nightshade Vegetables

  • Black Pepper and Peppercorn
  • Sweet Potatoes and Yams
  • Avocados

First everything that I listed is healthy, but let’s take a closer look. All nightshades contain some amount of nicotine. Even small amounts of dietary nicotine can slow down the healing of wounds.

Have you ever eaten a jalapeno or hot pepper? What happens? Your body tends to give you a warning signal of ‘hot’ or pain. Many of you may have experienced stomach pain or a sense of urgency to get to the bathroom. This is our body’s way of eliminating it quickly from the digestive system.

You Should Avoid the Night Shades If You Have These Conditions

  • Aches, Pains and Popping in the Joints
  • Acid Reflux
  • Acne
  • Arthritis is by far a big hitter for nightshade vegetables
  • Autoimmune Diseases
  • Crohn’s Disease
  • Chronic Fatigue
  • Chronic Pain
  • Eczema
  • GERD
  • Gout
  • Headaches and Migraines
  • IBS
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Psoriasis, Cyctitis and Lupus
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis

When I started writing this article, I did not realize that my hot pepper flakes fell into this category. I tend to think of the night shade vegetables more as vegetables. If you plan to play the elimination game, you have to be careful because some things just like my hot pepper are sneaky.

Read the labels with caution for hidden ingredients. I have seen a significant improvement in both myself and others by eliminating night shade vegetables completely from our diet.

If you are prone to inflammation or have any of the health conditions above, you may want to reconsider these ‘healthy gems.’ I would suggest you try it and see for yourself. You may see some improvements in your condition in as little as 6-12 weeks. It may take up to 6 months to see noticeable improvements. Stick with it and let me know if it helps you.

Beastly Bonus

Have you made the decision to avoid nightshades? Click here and learn how to get started.


    • Hi Moeheep,
      Yes all peppers are considered a nightshade. Eliminate them for a while and see if you notice improvements.

  1. Dang, Mrs Squatter has been using Cayenne and Chili peppers in her rubs for ribs and pork tenderloin. Thanks for the list and article Lisa as I see I have not yet cut out nightshades completely.

    Your pure awesomeness!

    • Thanks Squatter. Shame on Mrs. Squatter! (: Every little bit helps. Let me know if you have more improvements.

  2. I’m allergic to night shade plants. It’s very difficult avoiding them when dining out or buying foods that aren’t raw. I enjoyed your article.

    • Hi Teresa,

      Thanks! I’m glad you found it helpful. I know it can be tricky when eating out. I always ask for everything on the side.


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