Nightshade Vegetables & Lectins

What are Nightshade Vegetables?

Short answer- they’re plants that grow at night. They include white potatoes (not sweet potatoes), eggplant, tomatoes, goji berries, ashwaganda, okra, and all peppers. Did you know that Tom Brady even avoids Nightshade vegetables!?


Why should you care?

If you’re dealing with any kind of autoimmune issues, or trouble with loosing weight, nightshade vegetables may be one of your triggers. It’s worth checking out.


What are Lectins?

Lectins are a type of protein that can bind to cell membranes. Lectins can cause harm through molecular mimicry. They have the ability to mimic proteins in the thyroid gland & joint spaces. For some, this can exacerbate symptoms like rheumatoid arthritis, weight gain, and other autoimmune issues. Most plants contain some level of lectins, but nightshade vegetables contain higher amounts. Other plants include corn, grains, Casein A1 Milk, peanuts, cashews and soybean products.


How to reduce Lectins:

  1. Sprouting
    – Sprouting decreases the amount of phytic acid and lectins.
  2. Peeling & deseeding your fruits & vegetables
    – The seeds and hull tend to contain the highest amount of lectins.
  3. Fermenting
    – Fermenting reduces lectins in foods. One example is Sourdough bread.
  4. Pressure Cooker
    – Using a pressure cooker can reduce the phytic acid content (not eliminate, but reduce).


How do you find out if Nightshade Vegetables are not for you?

Do an elimination trial for 2-4 weeks of no nightshade vegetables. Then try one type of nightshade vegetable at a time (not all in the same week). For example, if you love tomatoes give them a try first and see what happens. Do you notice any rashes, eczema, psoriasis, insomnia, heartburn, brain fog, headaches, depression, or inflammatory pain? If so, it may be a trigger for you.

* If you don’t notice any improvement with a nightshade elimination diet, check out AIP (Autoimmune Protocol) Diet. It’s not a diet to follow, but is a very strict elimination diet. It allows you find out what other food triggers you may have.


My Experience

Tomatoes break me out in cystic acne and white potatoes cause me to have inflammatory joint pain. Peppers do not appear to be problematic for me.


How I manage my psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis:

I follow mostly a Paleo diet, avoid tomatoes & white potatoes, and use Turmeric. I also take Probiotics , a B-complex vitamin, and Algae pills.


To read more about nightshade vegetables, check out Dr. Axe’s website.



JUST EAT REAL FOOD – Stop focusing on calories & focus on what you’re eating and how it makes you feel. Your body is always giving you signals, but many times we ignore them. Pay attention if you develop nausea, gas, bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation, headaches, joint pain, rashes, sinus problems, or cold sores. If you develop any of these things after eating, it’s a good indicator that your body is giving you a clue to stop consuming something in your food. Many times these symptoms come from consuming chemicals, artificial coloring, and preservatives. Other times these symptoms can occur from a food allergy or sensitivity. Pay attention. Creating a food diary is a really great way to help you figure out what your triggers are. Food elimination diets are a great way to figure out what your triggers are.




Information in this posting is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Talk to your medical provider before starting any new supplements or medications.

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