Saturday, 25 April 2009

Day 124 - Nightshade Foods

"Potatoes, tomatoes, sweet and hot peppers, eggplant, tomatillos, tamarios, pepinos, pimentos, paprika, cayenne, and Tabasco sauce are classified as nightshade foods.
In the diet of Europe and Asia, only one nightshade food was eaten until recent times: the aubergine or eggplant. Then, in the 1600s and 1700s food and drug crops based on nightshades were imported from the Americas and for the past 400 years have penetrated and become ubiquitous in the Western diet. These include tobacco, tomatoes, potatoes and chili peppers.
Nightshades all contain nicotine in some form, although it may be named solanine (potatoes), tomatine (tomatoes), alpha-solanine (aubergine) or solanadine (chillies and capsicums).
A particular group of substances in these foods, called alkaloids, can impact nerve-muscle function and digestive function in animals and humans, and may also be able to compromise joint function.
Plants produce alkaloids as a regular part of their biochemical activity, and these alkaloids are primarily designed to help protect the plants from insects that would otherwise eat them.
It is now apparent that there are groups of people who cannot tolerate nightshades in their diets, wish to avoid them anyway or find that eliminating them helps alleviate a variety of mental, emotional and physical problems."*

I saw the kinesiologist again today. There hasn’t been much improvement since the first appointment. But I know it all takes time.

All I can do is wait (and hope).

The kinesiologist muscle tested me for food intolerances as he believes these may well be a contributing factor to my headache.

He told me to avoid tomatoes, potatoes, and, generally, all nightshade foods. I didn’t know all these foods (including aubergines and chillis) all fell into the same ominous sounding category as they all grow at night (hence the name nightshades), and, very interestingly, they all contain traces of nicotine (tobacco is also a nightshade). Ever had a really strong craving for a cheese and tomato pizza? Or a curry?

I looked back at my food diary that I kept in The Gambia and noticed that I was eating nightshades on a daily basis - with spicy chicken and tomatoes as one of The Gambia’s main dishes, it was hard to steer clear of many nightshade vegetables.

My new task is to continue taking my supplements and to rigorously exclude nightshades from my diet.

1 comment:

  1. Great post!

    I'm surprised no one has commented before now.

    Thanks for the excellent info and the witty blog.

    I am coming to terms with saying goodbye to the foods that I have eaten with gusto my entire life -- tomatoes and potatoes, along with grains and milk. How is it that they are causing the headaches and joint and muscle pain? Yet, the pain must go -- it is expendable. So onward to other foods to eat . . .