What You Should Know about Nightshades, Inflammation, & Pain

Ask The Nutritionist

Q: I’ve heard the term “nightshade foods,” but I don’t know what foods those are. I’ve also heard that some people avoid them. Why? —Maria G., Yuma, Ariz.

A: Nightshades are the common name for flowering plants that belong to the botanical family Solanaceae, which contains more than 2,000 different species. Many nightshades are poisonous and should never be eaten, including belladonna, also known as deadly nightshade.

Several nightshades, however, are very popular foods—tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, all types of sweet and hot peppers, cayenne, chili powder, paprika, pimentos, tomatillos, chilies, goji berries, and ashwagandha (an adaptogenic herb used in Ayurvedic medicine). In fact, in the U.S., we consume almost 230 pounds of nightshades per person per year.
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