Ask the Nutritionist
Q: I have been limiting nightshade vegetables because I have arthritis and joint pain. Is this beneficial and what foods should I be adding?
A: Research is still underway as to whether or not nightshade vegetables play a major role in arthritis and joint pain. While we don't advise avoiding nightshade vegetables because they provide many important nutrients for overall health, everyone has individual nutrition needs. Nightshade alkaloids are sometimes thought to contribute to excessive loss of calcium from bone and consequentially, deposits of calcium in soft tissue. These depositions cause joint pain in some people.
The Solanaceae family (nightshade) of plants includes tomato, potato, eggplant, peppers, cayenne, tomatillos and similar foods. If you feel that avoiding the vegetables helps, then limiting them is okay. However we recommend a plant based diet and adequate hydration to manage joint pain.
Research has also shown that the antioxidants in cherries and pineapple may be especially helpful for alleviating joint pain so try incorporating these helpful fruits into your diet first, instead of eliminating nutritious nightshade vegetables.