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Damn Them Delicious Nightshades


Like all of us, I really don’t want to be told that I can’t eat something. Especially when its a food I eat regularly and consider it healthy.  But lately, I have noticed that after I eat cooked capsicum. my knuckles start to throb. This sometimes also happens with eggplant. 

nightshade vegetables

So I went digging into the reasons why this could be happening and discovered that I am reaction to vegetables that are nightshade. 

Nightshade vegetables are members of the Solanaceae family of flowering plants. When I first heard about these types of veggies I thought it was because they grow at night, but its thought that the  term 'nightshade' is most likely due to some of these plants preferring to grow in shady areas, and some flower at night.

Not everyone has a problem with nightshades, but if you have digestive issues like leaky gut, auto-immune conditions or IBS there may be signs of intolerance to look out for.

If you suspect sensitivity to Nightshades, these are some common symptoms:

  • joint pain
  • headaches
  • itching or reddening of the skin
  • Gut irritability

What should you do to find out if they affect you?

It would be best to totally eliminate nightshades for a month and see if things improve.

Substitute these vegetables instead when testing:

nightshade vegetables, nutritionist

It’s also important to note that not all nightshades affect everyone. For example, I don’t get a reaction with potatoes or tomatoes, but definitely do with capsicum and somethings eggplant (especially when cooked in tomato).

In general, the research is sketchy on whether these foods should be completely avoided to improve joint pain but there is plenty of anecdotal evidence linking nightshades to worsening arthritis symptoms. It would be worthwhile to see if they can be reduced if you find that your symptoms improve during the testing stage.

Yours in health,

 cinzia cozzolino, the smoothie bombs founder
(BHSc Nutritional Medicine)


This blog provides general information and discussions about health and related subjects. The information and other content provided in this blog, or in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, nor is the information a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment. If you or any other person has a medical concern, you should consult with your health care provider or seek other professional medical treatment. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something that have read on this blog or in any linked materials. 

1 comment

  • Kate Whittaker

    Have you heard of the book “the plant paradox” it explains why nightshade plants effects some of us. Lectins The author has some dodgy selling techniques but I have cut out all night shades except potatoes and peel most of my vegetables and it has made a marked difference for me. An interesting read.

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