Nightshade-Free Survival Guide

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photo collage of nightshade veggies: peppers, eggplant, tomatoes, and potatoes

“Belladonna: in Italian a beautiful lady, in English a deadly poison.”
~ Ambrose Bierce

What are Nightshades?

You may have heard of the term “deadly nightshade” referring to a plant called belladonna, which was used as a poison in ancient times. Lesser known are the commonly eaten vegetables in the same nightshade family. They aren’t deadly, but they contain enough toxins to cause inflammation in some people, particularly those with autoimmune disease. Often, we don’t realize just how much, until we stop eating them:

  • Tomatoes
  • Tomatillos
  • Potatoes
  • Eggplants
  • Peppers (bell peppers, banana peppers, chili peppers, etc.)
  • Red pepper seasonings (paprika, chili powder, cayenne, curry, etc.)
  • Pimentos
  • Pepinos
  • Tamarillos
  • Goji berries
  • Cape gooseberries/Ground cherries (similar to tomatoes, they have no relationship to fruit despite their name)
  • Ashwagandha (an ayurvedic herb)
  • Tobacco
  • Read labels: terms like “spices” and “natural flavors” often contain the above seasonings, and “starch” often comes from potatoes.

Similar sounding foods that are not nightshades:

  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Peppercorns (black, white and pink)

Beware of longer lists on the internet!

  • Just because it’s on the internet doesn’t mean it’s true, and many websites list foods that aren’t nightshades at all, such as blueberries, cauliflower, artichokes, okra, apples, etc. The problem is adding foods to lists based on internet rumor rather than scientific validation. Thankfully, Sarah Ballantyne did some exhaustive research in this area and busted these rumors as myths. So, don’t make your life harder by avoiding more foods than necessary. If you ever wonder if a food is a nightshade, simply look up its scientific family. Only members of the Solanaceae family are nightshades.

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How Are They Harmful?

First of all, nightshades aren’t harmful to everyone, but they are often harmful to people with autoimmune disease.

These vegetables all look so different, it’s surprising to discover they’re all part of the same Solanaceae family. They all contain toxic compounds called alkaloids. In nature, these  protect the plants against insects, by poisoning the insect and dissolving its cell membranes. Unfortunately, alkaloids can have a similar effect in humans, increasing our inflammation, overactivating our immune system, and causing permeability in our intestinal membranes (known as leaky gut), all of which contribute to autoimmune disease. If someone’s healthy, with low inflammation in their body, a balanced immune system, and a healthy and strong digestive tract, they can often eat nightshade vegetables without a problem. However, people with autoimmune disease are vulnerable, and nightshades often exacerbate symptoms.

If you want more details on these compounds and how they affect the body, here’s an excellent article.

What are Symptoms of Nightshade Sensitivity?

  • Joint pain
  • Stiffness upon waking, or stiffness after sitting for longs periods of time
  • Muscle pain and tension
  • Muscle tremors
  • Sensitivity to weather changes
  • Poor healing
  • Insomnia
  • Skin rashes
  • Heartburn
  • Stomach discomfort
  • Digestive difficulties
  • Headaches
  • Mood swings
  • Brain fog
  • Depression

How Do I Learn If I’m Sensitive?

The only way to know is to eliminate them from your diet for at least 30 days. (No cheating.) Then, reintroduce them into your diet as a test: eat them at least 3 times over a 2-day period, and then stop eating them, and monitor your symptoms for 72 hours. Did you improve during the 30 days? Did you have a negative reaction when you ate them again?  If yes, you’re nightshade-sensitive. If no, you’re not.

You’ll find articles on the internet saying there are no peer-reviewed studies to support the nightshade-inflammation connection. This is true, largely because there’s no profit to be made in that research and therefore no funding. But you’ll also find many people who eliminated them from their diet, reintroduced them, and saw a clear connection between eating them and their symptoms. I’m one of those people, as is Sarah from Paleo Mom, Mickey from Autoimmune Wellness, and many others.

Does the Amount Matter? Can I Eat Just a Little?

I don’t recommend it. When I first went nightshade-free, I gave up the vegetables but kept eating the spices. I thought, ‘How can such a small amount hurt me?’ My inflammation lessened, but some remained. Then I did a strict elimination protocol, avoiding the spices as well. When I reintroduced them 30 days later, I had a huge reaction. Every joint in my body hurt, and it took 2 weeks before I returned to feeling normal again. Elimination diets are powerful learning tools, because by removing a food from your circulation altogether, you eliminate the chronic inflammatory response. When the food is reintroduced, if you’re sensitive, you will get an acute short-term reaction. It’s a very clear communication from your body on what foods are good for you and what foods are not.

Can You Be Sensitive to One and Not the Others?

It’s possible, because each vegetable has a slightly different alkaloid. You can test yourself by reintroducing them one at a time.

How Can I Live Without Them?

Let’s not lie; it ain’t easy. I cried when I learned I had this sensitivity. These are some of the most delicious vegetables and spices. They’re also heavily used in restaurant and store-bought food, making shopping and eating out even more difficult. However, there is a clear reward to a nightshade-free life: you feel better.

We Can Do This! Here are My Survival Tips:

  • If you’re craving potatoes, replace them with a starchy alternative: sweet potatoes, beets, parsnips, butternut squash. You can cook all of these the same way you cook potatoes: fries, chips, roasted, mashed, and you know what? They have more flavor, too!
  • Although there’s really no substitute for a fresh summer tomato, there are nightshade-free substitutes for marinara sauce, ketchup and BBQ sauce.
  • Nightshade spices usually give food a hot kick. You can still get this sensation through non-nightshade spices like ginger, garlic, horseradish and wasabi. Usually you’ll need more of these spices than you would of the red peppers. Experiment.
  • Restaurants are tricky. Many sauces and spice blends contain nightshade spices. You have two options: ask your waiter how the food is seasoned (and trust them to tell you the truth). Or order your food unseasoned and bring some spices with you. Herbamare is a good choice (lots of flavor, no nightshades).
  • If you want to buy lunch meat, unfortunately most of them have nightshade spices. Paprika is especially overused because it adds color. However, Whole Foods has a “naked” line of deli meats and rotisserie chickens, which means they are simply meat with nothing (including spice) added.
  • If you’re looking for a nightshade-free meat protein bar, two of my favorites are Epic Bison Bar and Wild Zora Lamb Bar.
  • Be aware that nightshades can sometimes show up in medications and supplements. Always read the labels and verify the source of ingredients. When there is no label, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
  • If you’re looking for nightshade-free recipes, all of the recipes on my website are nightshade-free. Also, don’t be afraid to modify recipes you already have. You can often remove an ingredient or two without altering the deliciousness of the dish. Get creative and see what substitutions work best for you.
  • Here’s my favorite nightshade-free curry recipe.
  • And here’s one of my favorite companies: KC Natural. They sell condiments that are 100% nightshade-free, and if you’re following the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol, their products are AIP-friendly as well!

Ad: KC Natural Nightshade-Free Condiments
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Credit: images in the featured collage came from Wikimedia.

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236 comments on “Nightshade-Free Survival Guide”

  1. I used to have severe acid reflux and sometimes vomiting. I couldn’t figure out what was the cause. I did the AIP/nightshade elimination diet way back when Sarah Ballantyne’s Autoimmune Paleo book first came out. Immediately the acid reflux and vomiting disappeared. To this day, if I accidentally get nightshaded, it is like all out food poisoning! A few hours later, I have severe vomiting and diarrhea!

    1. Wow, Chrissy, that’s a very severe reaction. It sounds like an allergy. I’m glad you found the cause, and I hope getting nightshaded rarely happens!

  2. Hello Eileen.
    I’ve known for years I’ve had problems with some foods but the joint pain, muscle and tendon weakness and skin rashes are out of control at the moment. My lunches last week contained red peppers, eggplant and chicken covered in pasta sauce. Pretty sure I used paprika on the chicken.
    It got so bad, I was afraid I would fall down the stairs at work. I remembered something about nightshade and now I’m looking at your article with my eyes wide open. Answers! I’ve stopped eating all of that as of Tuesday. I’m heart broken because some of those are my favorite foods. Potatoes, hot sauce…..
    I’m looking forward to reading all of your research which I appreciate so much and suggested food replacements. Like you, I was in tears after work one night because I didn’t know what to eat that wouldn’t cripple me.
    I look forward to this dialogue and the answers that will follow


      1. Thank you. The skin rash and associated insane itch has calmed down substantially on my forearms after 7 days. I’m all in for at least 40 days. ❤

  3. Just want to say we have mostly given up nightshades and don’t personally cook with them unless on a fluke (a picky tomato only niece/nephew comes and I want to also honor their desire to eat it (i have once tricked them into eating a pizza when they thought it was tomato). I make an excellent sustitute for tomato sauce in pizza and even pasta. My hubby is from a country where tomato is the base of most every dish. But as an avid reaearcher i knew for me to give up tomato I would need to find something that would be close substitute and satisfy us just as much. For us we have found that by using some combination of butternut sqaush, beets, tamarind, and umboshi. Perhaps not always all of those but maybe a combination of a few of them. I have even found it at times to taste just as good or better without tomato. I was able to pass our beet pizza sauce for tomatoes on two of the most picky eaters I know. I am one of the beet haters actually so the fact that I found myself happy in the company of beets was not a small miracle. But the hardest ingredients I have learned when used in just the right composition can become delectable. It usually takes me a few seconds at the table of a cook who knows how to reconstruct such difficult ingredients for audiences that would normally struggle
    with the off putting tastes they are known for to reimagine how use of that ingredient in my life may actually be possible…luckily that happened for me at one restaurant here in columbus with a beet veggie burger they annually give on earthday for free…and I am a sucker for freebies. Anyhow, umboshi and tamarind and beet are key players in most of our tomato substitutions. Thanks to whosever blog I got that tip from and sorry I don’t remember for reference but it is the only way we could ever get tomatoes out of our everyday or often diet. We may have personally only bought tomato a handful of times last year primarily because of company at our house. Pretty sure I could count it on one hand. Now I am not ever sure how we could give up chilies….guess we will have to do an elimination diet to see if we can keep that. My husband also comes from a country where chillies are in every meal. Need to get up the willpower and morale to do an elimination diet for us two picky/finicky eaters…since after 20 years I just finally had the ability to get a surgical diagnosis of endometriosis. Wish you all well was hoping to encourage those who linger on tomatoes that its possible even to live without tomatoes if that is the base of every meal as in most/many indian dishes.

    1. Alycia, thanks for sharing the veggie combo that works for you & all the tomato lovers in your family. With a little experimenting, you might well find a wonderful chili substitute as well. There’s actually a cookbook you might also enjoy. It’s called My Paleo AIP Indian Adventure. It’s nightshade-free and based on the AIP elimination diet. It’s written by a woman named Bethany who married a man from India and wanted to recreate some of his favorite dishes in ways she could eat as well. Here’s a link: . Wishing you health and happiness!

  4. Bhavana Verman

    I was wondering if wildflower unpasteurized organic honey, vegan chocolate and swiss water process decaf coffee nightshade free?

    1. Hi Bhavana. Most foods are NOT nightshades. It’s a specific family of vegetables, and I’ve included the complete nightshade list above. Just check the ingredient list on anything you buy, to make sure nightshades aren’t included. But it would be rare for nightshades to be included in any of the items you mentioned. They’re more often included as spices in prepared meats and sauces – that’s how they could slip in unnoticed if you didn’t check the ingredient list.

      1. Bhavana Verman

        Hi Eileen. Thanks so much for replying! That was very helpful. Ive seen these on different lists so I thought I would ask you. I am suffering from joint pain and it may be hypothyroidism or RA (very mild) or OA. Have not been able to correctly diagnose it. 2 Rheumatologist have said I have mild RA and 2 others said I don’t. Very confusing and frustrating. I’m also going thru peri-menopause (hives, insomnia, joint pain hot flashes- not fun!!). I thought I would try out reducing my night shade intake. I LOVE tomatoes. If I deseed and take off the peels and pressurizing them, do you think that would be safe? Tomatoes are the base of most all of my cooking as well as pressure. I am already vegan so I have eliminated so much. There is so much contradiction on the net about night shades. Love to hear your advice. Thank you so much for your time!

        1. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news. But if nightshades are a problem, you absolutely need to remove tomatoes in all their forms in order to accurately test that theory. After 30 days, if you see improvement in your pain, you can try reintroducing them the way you described as a test to see how your body responds. Then, you’ll know for sure. Also, I’ve recorded a podcast that might interest you on Menopause – Episode 105 – . Being 51 years old myself, that information was very helpful for me! Lastly, you may or may not be aware that my diet is paleo rather than vegan. I don’t proselytize. Everyone needs to decide the diet that works best for them. But if you want to learn more about why I made this choice, here’s an article: . Wishing you wellness in every way.

          1. Bhavana Verman

            Yes that’s bad news indeed BUT I don’t know if nightshades are behind what is causing my issues. I would have to test it out.

            From my reading/research I switched to being vegan to get rid of my joint pain or to keep whatever I have at bay. I don’t really feel pain but stiffness and tenderness in the joints but I think there is some hormonal stuff happening. I am working with a naturopath. I feel great not eating meat and dairy on many levels although it involves a lot of discipline as I love the taste of meat and milk products. From my reading I believe they are inflammatory. I will look into the Menopause podcast you have for sure and look at why you made the choice to be paleo. Thank you for your time to respond. I will figure this out!!

  5. Do you know if extractives of paprika, such as Paprika Extract, or Paprika Oleoresin, are likely to cause nightshade reactions?

    1. Hi Mia. Paprika extracts are still nightshades. I don’t recommend them for anyone following a nightshade-free diet. However, when it comes to food tolerance, it can vary from person to person. If you want to do a personal test, eliminate all nightshades for 30 days (also eliminating the extracts) and then try reintroducing a food that contains the extract and see how your body responds. For details on the reintroduction process, check out this article:

  6. I live in Chile, we don´t have all the possibilities ans different brands you guys have in the supermarket. I have to do everything myself. What would you do in my case?

    1. Actually, when I first started AIP there were no storebought options either, so I did make everything by hand. My best advice though is to keep it simple and focus on what you CAN eat. Don’t worry so much about trying to substitute flavors. Just create delicious, simple, flavorful meals with quality meat, seafood, veggies, healthy fats, and AIP-friendly herbs. Also Yuri, I know you have a lot of questions as you’re new to the AIP. If you don’t have my book, A Simple Guide to the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol, I recommend it! It’s available in English – or Spanish –

    1. Hi Janet. Most curry contains nightshades in the form of chili pepper. At the bottom of the article in the Survival Tips section, I include a link to a recipe for nightshade-free curry as well as one storebought variety (which is really rare – it was created for the AIP community).

  7. Much tnx for the full list!!! I cant believing that nightshades was slowing me down in every aspect of my life!!! Tnx Lord i finally found cure! First I thought it was food Latex, since tomato and potato has it…but i’m 100% sure now, its nightshades!!! Much love!

  8. If you consume nightshades, how soon do you notice the negative effects? Could someone notice symptoms after only one hour? I think you already mentioned this, but would a small amount of potato starch now and then in food send someone’s symptoms going or might it be ok? Maybe it’s different for each person. Thanks so much! 🙂

    1. Hi Lisa. It’s very individual. Reactions show up within 72 hours. Some people notice something right away, while for others there is a delay. Regarding your second question, during the elimination period, avoid all nightshades 100% for at least 30 days with no exceptions. Then, during reintroductions, you can test that small amount of potato starch to see how your body reacts. For some people, a small amount is enough to keep their symptoms going. For example, many people discover there are nightshades in their supplements that were continuing to drive inflammation, and when they replace those supplements with nightshade-free versions, their inflammation resolves.

        1. Hi Lisa – My nightshade systems (sinus congestion, headache) start about 20 minutes after consumption after that sometimes migraines, stomach pains, constipation and/or diarrhea combo(IBS like), joint pain, irritability and yes paranoia) and can last from 4 hours to more then 24 hours depending on the food and amount consumed. I finally get some relief after the food has passed thru my system; usually headaches gone, sinus clear but sometimes irritability and paranoia persist. Maybe because I’ve felt terrible for the last day. I’m finding lately that I’m actually more reactive since giving up nightshades all together 2 1/2 years ago. I had something the other day that had a small amount of French’s Classic Mustard in it and had all systems for close to 12 hours because of the paprika in it. I’m a chef and it can be tough making items without nightshades.

  9. Have you come across info on Evening Primrose as a Nightshade? It is a night time flowering plant. I’ve been nightshade free for 9 months and added Evening Primrose back into my supplement routine and all my symptoms resurfaced. Thinking it may be the cause and as an oil wouldn’t it be more concentrated?

  10. It is interesting that in the book Eating 4 Your Blood Type People with Blood type A are told to avoid,

    “Peppers, olives, potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, all kinds of cabbage, tomatoes, eggplant, mushroom (Type As are very sensitive to these vegetables. They have a strong deleterious effect on the Type A digestive tract.)”.

    It would be interesting to know how many people that react to nightshades are type A. I am and I do react to nightshades.

  11. I read an article recently where they claim that cooking with a pressure cooker (like the instant pot) helps get rid of the lectins (or whatever they are) in nightshades so they are safe to consume.

    1. Don’t believe everything you read on the internet. Unfortunately, that’s simply not true. Some people do tolerate cooked nightshades better than raw, and vice versa. It’s very individual, but there’s no cooking method that makes them tolerant to everyone.

      1. ive eliminated that, i accidentally ate jalapeño Thursday, the nose sore started them, it lasts about a week, multiple areas of my nose.
        when its not inflamed, when I’m not eating NS’s i can feel tiny bumps in there , its in its dormant state??? the cycle reminds me of a cold sore.

        1. Since I’m not a doctor, I can’t diagnose, but it seems that whatever the condition, nightshades do exacerbate it. I’m sorry you recently got nightshaded – I hate it when that happens! May your flare pass quickly. If you haven’t seen a physician for this condition, I recommend it, just in case other treatment is indicated.

          1. i have lyme, EBV, mycoplasma , leaky gut, prprobaly candida. its a shi$ show what I’ve been through. The drs I’ve seen don’t really know. My llmd i think believes its staph infection in the nose, i guess it flares with nightshades

  12. Omg…you are a blessing… I have reactive allergies to lots of things I have eliminated so many things out of my diet I have just become aware of the nightshades and I’m already feeling a little better since I’ve eliminated them a week ago so I’m doing my 30 days now started a week ago and ho my gosh it’s so hard because I lived off of potatoes and tomatoes because I can’t have celery or carrots or onions or garlic or gosh a whole lot of other things so this is a world wind of a journey for me so you’re a blessing and a help thank you so much for doing this

  13. Hi Eileen. I have tight muscles, tendons, etc. that spasm and are very easily strained or sprained, even by just stretching. The resulting pain becomes severe, not in proportion to the injury, and healing can take a long time. I am wondering if nightshade sensitivity can do this sort of thing to the body. Doctors have been no help. They just want to dispense drugs I won’t take. I am wondering if you (or anyone else here) has experienced this sort of thing as a direct result of long-term nightshade ingestion.

  14. Thanks for an honest article. There are far too many internet memes that circulate misinformation. My question is, if you eliminate nightshades and your health issues disappear, why would you subject yourself to the misery of reintroducing them? Obviously reintroduction is “just to be sure”, but if you are already certain that they are the culprit, what would be the point of doing that?

    1. Good question, and you don’t have to reintroduce them. But some people aren’t intolerant to the whole category. The goal of reintroductions is to get clear information on which ones we can and can’t eat, enjoying the least restrictive diet for our health.

  15. So happy to have found this site! I am just discovering an intolerance to nightshades and need some help. I already have to eat gluten and dairy free but have suffered with terrible soreness in my joints as well as awful insomnia. I read about nightshades and realised it might help. I ate a lot of tomatoes in nice healthy salads but not really fussed with any of the others. Occasionally eat potatoes but found them easy to give up. Stopped eating tomatoes and within a week my joints eased and I am sleeping better so its clear that I do have a problem with nightshades. The problem is that many foods have potato starch, especially gluten free bread. I have a slice of toast for breakfast so am still eating potato starch in a small amount. I still have some joint pain but nowhere near as bad as before so is it okay to still have one slice of bread containing potato starch a day? Eating even the smallest amount of gluten or dairy has a devastating affect on me.The only alternative I have found contains soya which I also have a problem with, it makes my scalp itch excessively. Which is worse, a small amount of potato starch or soya each day? Any advise would be wonderful

    1. Hi Gill. I don’t recommend soy or potato starch. One idea is to give up bread altogether. The truth is that most gluten-free breads have odd ingredients added that are designed to mimic wheat’s texture, but aren’t beneficial to health. I don’t eat bread myself any more, unless I make it myself. If that seems too challenging right now, check out Canyon Ranch. They sell gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, and nightshade-free bread.

      1. Hi Eileen, thank you for your reply, I am working towards giving up bread but it is, as you say, a bit challenging! Unfortunately, I am in the UK so its not so easy to find sites to buy from so I may have to put a bread maker on my Christmas list! At the moment its a choice between two evils, potato starch or soya, and which symptoms are least troublesome. Many thanks for your advice and for providing a site with such good information to help people like me.

      2. Do you have a good bread recipe you’d be willing to share? I’d love to see a sampling of your menus as well. I’m so at a loss sometimes as to what to eat.

        1. My favorite bread is a sour dough and I do plenty of GF baking for Farmers Market in the season…
          Gluten Free Sourdough Bread
          • 80 g brown rice flour
          • 140 g cold sourdough starter
          • 110 g water
          • ————–
          • 350 g water at room temp
          • 20 g psyllium husk
          • 10 g ground golden flax seeds
          • ————–
          • 60 g of each
          • – sorghum flour
          • – oat flour
          • – buckwheat flour
          • – corn starch
          • – Tapioca starch
          • 24 g granulated sugar
          • 1 tsp salt
          1. In the evening: Mix brown rice flour, sourdough starter and water in a bowl and cover with cling
          film. Let sit over night(8-12 hours) in a warm and non-drafty place.
          2. In the morning: Mix water, psyllium husk and ground flaxseeds in a bowl and whisk until a thick
          gel forms. Set aside.
          3. In a separate bowl mix all of the dry ingredients.
          4. Add the sourdough starter that you made the night before to the wet ingredients and mix.
          5. Add half of the dry ingredients to the wet mixture and stir.
          6. Add the rest of the dry ingredients and stir.
          7. Using an electric hand mixer with dough hooks, work the dough until the flour is fully
          8. Transfer the dough to a floured work surface and shape it into a loaf.
          9. Place the loaf in a proofing basket lined with a tea towel(+ some buckwheat flour to avoid the
          dough from sticking to the towel)
          10. Fold the towel over the loaf and place the basket in a plastic bag.
          11. Allow to rise in a warm and non-drafty place for 4-6 hours.
          12. Preheat the oven to 400°F/200°C with a baking pan inside.
          13. Flip the dough upside down on a parchment paper and transfer to the hot baking pan. Score the
          14. Put a pan with a couple of tablespoons of water in the bottom of the oven. Bake the bread in the
          middle of the oven with a tin foil tent on top for 40 min.
          15. Bake another 20 min without the foil.
          16. Let cool on a wire rack for at least 1 hour.

  16. Mary Gerelene Dominici

    Years ago I was introduced to the nighshade foods list. Glad I refreshed my memory because I’ve found some of my now symptoms on the list. I’m starting right now going back to not eating Nightshade Foods because I know it works. I’m 74 years old and was introduced to this way of life when I was in my early 40s. Saved my life.

  17. After age 50 (menopause) I developed allergies (mostly pollen) and psoriasis (only on my feet). I suspect that nightshades are causing the psoriasis and think I have detected a correlation to consumption and outbreaks. But I’m not 100% sure yet. I’m a 20+ year vegetarian and healthy otherwise. I am not aware of an immune deficiency issue. Any insight?

  18. Have you ever heard of anyone healing from nightshades sensitivity? By lets say healing leaky gut?

    1. Yes, I have known some people who expanded their tolerance to nightshades as they healed. Sometimes this was due to improved gut health. Other times they improved their autoimmune health which calmed down an overactive immune system. It’s usually not a quick process, and it doesn’t happen for everyone, but it is a possibility.

      1. Hi Eileen,

        I’m curious if you’ve researched or considered doing an article on healing the gut so that we can tolerate nightshades like others do. I’m not sure, but there must be some specific strains of probiotics that help break down these compounds (let alone help improve or rebalance immune function), or else everyone would be having similar reactions.

        I wonder too if calming down an overactive immune system comes from improving the microbiome balance, which then results in improving the autoimmune health, rather than the other way around?

        I hope you’ll consider writing an article along these lines. 🙂

        1. I can see why you want a “cure” for nightshade intolerance, but if there was a clear solution that I could summarize in an article, I’d have written it long ago, I promise.There is no probiotic that breaks down these compounds, and leaky gut is a condition that is managed, not cured. This is because intestinal permeability is dynamic – it changes depending on what’s happening in our lives. It increases during times of stress, poor sleep, poor diet and/or increased autoimmune activity. People with autoimmune disease are especially susceptible, because all autoimmune diseases simultaneously attack the gut. This is why nightshade tolerance seems to improve with remission and people without autoimmune disease don’t have this issue as commonly as we do. You are absolutely right that the microbiome is intimately connected to autoimmune activity – but it’s a circle, not a straight line. So, all steps taken on the path to autoimmune health simultaneously help the microbiome, and vice versa. That said, it’s a winding path and unique to all of us. While scientists hope someday to be able to write probiotic prescriptions unique to each individual, we’re not there yet. It’s a very new field of research, and human beings are very complex.

          1. Thanks for your detailed reply, I appreciate it. But either I don’t understand your claim that ‘all autoimmune diseases simultaneously attack the gut’, or I’m misinterpreting it.

            As you pointed out in the article at the link:

            “In fact, many studies have shown that increased intestinal permeability
            (leaky gut) precedes the development of autoimmune disease (and in some
            cases can predict an oncoming flare). Yes, all the current science,
            including this new paper, show that a leaky gut comes first.”

            So, doesn’t that suggest that so-called autoimmune diseases aren’t attacking the gut, they’re a result of a leaky gut. It may later become a vicious cycle, but it starts w/a leaky gut — so I’m not sure why repairing a leaky gut, and repopulating it with specific probiotics and perhaps soil-based organisms and maybe even selected ‘friendly parasites, might help reverse and stop this cycle. There are a lot of studies on the Hygiene hypothesis that suggest these chronic conditions may exist more now than they did in the past because we’re too ‘clean’, especially our guts, due to excessive antibiotic use over the past 50 years or so. Just a thought…

            And just an FYI — I used the phrase ‘so-called autoimmune diseases’ — not to denigrate anyone or any concept, but only to point out that at least it’s my understanding that the body isn’t really attacking ITSELF, it’s attacking compounds that seem like invaders, because of the leaky gut problem.

            I agree — we’re not there with specific probiotics for specific diseases or individuals, but there are some ‘success’ stories out there. And yes, humans are definitely, definitely complex. So many factors to consider…

          2. That was a long article, so I understand if it was a little confusing. There are now studies showing that autoimmune disease causes leaky gut, in addition to leaky gut causing autoimmune disease. The article talks about both of these situations. The former theory (which you quoted) is more well-known. The latter theory is only recently becoming understood. Here’s another quote from the article. The person speaking is Dr. Sarah Ballantyne: “I was asked if this paper confirms what I’ve been saying all along: that a leaky gut contributes to autoimmune disease. But, this research shows something altogether more intriguing: that once the immune system develops the ability to attack tissues of the body, the gut is the first victim….Rather than a leaky gut causing the dysfunctional immune system that leads to autoimmune disease, this research shows that it might just be the other way around. ”

            That said, you and I aren’t disagreeing about the importance of microbiome health and how deeply it’s connected to autoimmune health. There just isn’t a prescription I can share with you. Everything’s in the experimental stage right now. And the success stories I’ve seen are actually conditional. You might be interested in listening to my podcast on Fecal Microbiota Transplants, which can lead to dramatic improvements in autoimmune health and expanding food intolerances, which is wonderful! But unfortunately they don’t lead to complete cures.

  19. captaincameron

    I am going to have to look into this further.
    I have been a hot pepper fan for as long as I can remember, and for at least four decades, have always enjoyed tomato-based sauces (although ketchup–bleah) and eaten a slew of fresh tomatoes as part of a theoretically healthy diet.
    And I have had a slew of joint injuries–both knees have been wrecked, both wrists, and my right shoulder. Add to this general wear and tear and while i still move around very well, for a 50 y/o, sometimes it hurts.
    Certainly my enjoyment of jalapeno-tomato salsa did not cause my rotator cuff tear, but I wonder if it is possible that my shoulder would ache a lot less if I adjusted my diet.

    1. It’s certainly worth experimenting. Try stopping nightshades for 30 days, and see if you notice a difference. I know it can be challenging and saddening to give up these foods at first, but pain is a strong motivator. If you notice an improvement in quality of life, it makes it worthwhile.

  20. Tracking each parent, each had different allergies. One celiac to her father and all her eight other sister siblings. All had and needed hip and knee replacements, with spinal weakening and strong arthritis, and esophageal bleed with anemia for a lifelong white skin, lethargic and brain fog…
    My other parent to his mother, and the this nightshade allergy, killed him early with phlebitis infection amass in a leaking abdominal cyst, as I had. but I lived long enough to have intervention radiology pull out the infection. Get septic, and have normal complication with lung and liver abscess. All healed up thanks to my sister’s teenage scoliosis that lead her to start back in the early 1970’s on the integrative medicine, holistic food path. We worked nutrition to heal, and then I used acupuncture session for food elimination and reintroduction to diagnosis my nightshade allergy.
    One whole year of abstinence of nightshade foods or foods with solanine. It’s like an acid trip to never, ever have pain, healing, attention to mending, vitamins, and all the time out of life like everyone else. ONE YEAR, no pain. It’s so marvelous.
    My mom cursed the MD’s for not checking her for celiac disease for 80 plus years. And then came to me in a Reiki session to ask my forgiveness for her lack of understanding of food allergies and how it nearly killed me and did sicken and kill my father at a young age with my same symptoms – all from nightshade foods.
    I was mom’s caregiver and since I started cooking her food choices without gluten, but the replacement with potato flour, nearly killed me. So going from my home to her home in family service, landed me on my $220,000 hospital vacation to heal from her food choices. Caregivers in poverty have less choices, since family service is multi-level – food, faith, and future…
    We get our genes and not all four of my mothers children have all the same food allergies. We all are different, and working with our diets. We all are aging out very healthy now. One is age 77, and the youngest is 60… the span is great, and our environment in the home was the same place, so we chalk it up to genetics solely!

    1. Thanks for sharing, Ava. I’m so glad you and your siblings are doing well and support each other’s healthy choices.

  21. I want to thank you for your post. As a blogger I understand how hard it is to come up with great content, but as a person looking for ways to fix her health and eating habits this has been very helpful. Thank you again.

  22. Hi Eileen

    Thank you so much for your curry and Nomato sauces recipes, as one food I really miss is a good, hearty bolognaise. Tomato and chili are my huge no-no’s although I can tolerate potato to some degree.

    I was only diagnosed with Nightshade intolerance last year, and it’s made a massive difference after decades of fog brain and exhaustion which I thought was laziness, as everyone else seemed to have lots of energy. After some investigation, it turns our my maternal family can track the intolerance back as far as my great grandmother (who used to be violently ill even looking at a potato) with each generation suffering in some form, but never connecting the dots.

    A couple of symptoms I had, that cleared up with removing these from my diet, were heart palpitations and throbbing varicose veins. One of the key pointers, that my doctor picked up on was I had high free iron in my blood, but normal stored iron, being an indicator of an autoimmune reaction – and my naturopath picked up on the leaky gut.

    Again, thanks for spreading the word on this common, but undiagnosed, life changing intolerance

    1. Thanks for sharing your experience, Elizabeth. That’s fascinating that you can track it back through your family. Interestingly, aside from potatoes, my mother has never “liked” nightshades and even has a childhood memory of sitting at the table, refusing to finish her meal because it contained tomatoes. She doesn’t remember it causing symptoms, but she clearly had a deep intuition that they weren’t good for her. If you’re looking for a good nightshade-free bolognese, here’s one: I’ve gone ahead and added it to the article, in case anyone else has a similar craving.

  23. I knew I had an extreme tomato allergy and a nightshade sensitivity when I was 13. I was also diagnosed with type II diabetes at the same time. It never made any sense to my doctors why I wasn’t a juvenile onset diabetic. Over the years, my blood sugar numbers never made sense, I used to get sick to the point where I had to quit whatever job or school I was working and rest for over a month or two. Fast forward to 2016, day after Christmas, I couldn’t move my legs, my feet were having continuous muscle spasmings and twitching. A week later my hand got stuck in a cramp and I was unable to use it completely. I lost the ability to control my arms. The following week, I was in a wheelchair. I wasn’t able to leave my room for over a month! The medications they put me on, helped some with my symptoms but no where enough to where I could regain my normal quality of life. My doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me. I saw 12 specialists all across Virginia. No one had any answers. My mom started to do research on her own to find some kind of help. She found some information about allergic muscles and stiffman syndrome. At that time I had no reflexes, no control of my feet and the bottom half of my legs, severe muscle spasms, numbness and tremendous continuous pain. The research said that my nightshade sensitivity could be causing my symptoms. She also found out that all of symptoms (including my diabetes, infertility, psoriasis, perherial neuropathy, IBS and anxiety stress disorder) could be explained from GLUTEN! I had the tests done to see if I had a gluten allergy, they were negative, just like my tests for nightshades. By this time, I was so sick, I ended up in the hospital for almost a week for extreme vomiting, bloating, diarrhea and dehydration. At the hospital all they could find is strep throat and a fatty liver. I was on fluids only for 5 days. When I came home, I came off all my medications and was beginning to feel better but then became sick again. We had an idea that maybe since I don’t have an allergy to gluten, I could still have a sensitivity to gluten. That’s where we found about non-celiac gluten sensitivity. It explained everything!! I went on a strict restrictive diet and immediately began to feel better. Within 2 weeks I was out of my wheelchair, within a month I stopped using my cane. I still have some set backs because a gluten and nightshade free diet is very complicated, but I am taking it one day at a time.
    I said all that to say, check all of your medications, most of them have potato or wheat starch in them, check ALL of your foods and DRINKS. There never is a thing called being overly cautious when you have food allergies or sensitivities.

    1. Hi Katrina. Your story shows what a dramatic impact food sensitivities can sometimes have. I’m so glad you found this piece to your healing puzzle. Thanks for sharing.

    2. Hi I have had a very similar thing happen to me no one can tell me what is wrong i was not a ill a you but had the same thing in my legs i felt my toes were going to explode and i had throbbing veins also I was told I was type 2 D but my b/s didn’t make any scene 8 years on I was getting nowhere went private I live in UK and had an allergy test done and found 14 things I could not eat I was so upset by this but N/Sh were not on that list so i am not sure how accurate it was. By shear chance i thought tomatoes as I ate them every day I could never eat potatoes a they gave me pain in my legs but i didn’t connect the two silly really my pain is much better now but still have some and the doc has told me i am no longer classed as a D I don’t think i ever was I think it was alleigies that caused a rise in my B/S as stress to the body usually dose. My doc thinks my thinking is wrong and will not recognise the tests I have had done as he didn’t and wouldn’t do them for me.

  24. Thanks for the great article! I appreciated the support in finding alternatives for those things we love like spices. This seems like such a daunting task and I’m going to need all the help I can get! I’m so frustrated with thow many good groups I’ve had to give up, and wonder when I will be able to start loosing weight and feeling better.

    ~ Kate Ruehle

    1. Hi Kate. When the weight is caused by inflammation, there’s often a quick weight loss after removing inflammatory foods like nightshades. But often weight issues are more complex than that and progress is slower and might require some troubleshooting. I always say health first, though – look to improve how you feel before focusing on the numbers on the scale. If you hit a healing plateau, here’s an article that might help: Troubleshooting Weight Loss Difficulties.

  25. Wondering if anyone knows if Lacto-Fermenting nightshade vegetables will degrade/reduce the lectins and alkaloids? Or, if other processing methods have been helpful in reducing these compounds allowing for nightshades to be more easily tolerated or re-introduced?? I.e.. Cooking, removing peels, pickling etc..

  26. Wow. Thank you for this information! About 8 years ago, I had an acute reaction to tomatoes, with unexplained knee pain for about 4 years before that. Since then, I’ve just done without tomatoes (other things seem to not bother me). Reading this article ahs made so much sense…and was much more helpful than visiting the nutritionist I once did. Thank you!!!! I’m excited to find that there is a community out there who also knows the pain!

  27. I had suffered a horrible rash for over a year and a half. I tore myself to bits and woke each morning covered in blood (when I DID sleep). I was treated for everything from scabies to every kind of eczema. I had biopsies and injections. I tried every holistic home remedy short of soaking in bleach. Finally through my own research, I found out about nightshades. It was then that I realized that many of my other symptoms such as joint pain, muscle issues, headaches, insomnia, brain fog and so on were probably related. I stopped consuming nightshades and a great portion of my health issues were lessened if not gone all together. I still have other immune problems and allergies. I have problems with some dairy, wheat, certain grains amd sugars. I am learning and adjusting as I go along. So glad to have learned that simply removing nightshades could give me so much relief!

    1. Thanks for sharing your story, Kacy. I’m glad you’re feeling so much better! Nightshades can have a very potent effect.

  28. While I make every effort to steer clear of nightshades – both obvious and hidden – it does seem that some of them are more detrimental for me than others. It also seems that quantity may in fact make a bit of difference, sometimes if not all the time. And of course there’s the old bugaboo, expectation – if I don’t know these items are in a restaurant meal but when I find out about it afterward I sometimes see that I’ve had no reaction. It appears that allergies and sensitivities may have their own rules, and as with everything else having to do with health, can be different for different people. I imagine this is heresy, but the attempt to be totally pure can produce a lot of other problems – and stress definitely has an effect on the muscle issues I deal with. So many variables to consider.

    1. Hi Janet. It can’t be heresy unless diet becomes religion, and none of us want that! Yes, in the article I mention that some people do find they are sensitive to some nightshades and not others. Going through a careful reintroduction process can help you identify them one at a time. And there’s certainly different levels of sensitivity. My friend Sophie can “get away” with eating nightshades occasionally because her symptoms are minor. For me, I’ll have pain for weeks so I don’t take the risk. We are all unique, and it’s a journey to find what our individual bodies need.

  29. Brent Peterson

    Have had problems with mood, digestion and brain fog for several years. Definitely have candida. Paleo has helped. Food journal suggests night shades. Can they cause such symptoms? I probably eat tomatoes almost everyday. But only a little. Is that enough to cause such problems?

    1. Hi Brent. Yes, those symptoms are all listed in the article above, and any exposure has the potential to cause them. Moderation doesn’t seem to matter when it comes to nightshade sensitivity. However, the only way to know for sure is to remove them for 30 days and see if your symptoms improve.

  30. Robin Clabaugh

    Hi there! I did think of one more question after hearing from my doctor. He doesn’t feel like I have anything wrong because my inflammation markers are normal. Does that mean anything to you? It doesn’t to me since I feel so badly all the time & would love to have your insights. Thank you!!

    1. Hi Robin. Since I’m not a doctor, I can’t give medical advice, but you wouldn’t be the first person whose doctor said you were fine because all of your bloodwork was normal, when your symptoms say otherwise.

  31. Robin Clabaugh

    Thank you so much! I just went though all of my supplements. One of them has lycopene. I know that is in tomatoes. Will that affect me if I keep taking it?

    1. Hi Robin. It depends on where they got the concentrated lycopene. If it’s from tomatoes, you’ll want to avoid it. I recommend contacting the supplement company to ask.

  32. Robin Clabaugh

    Thank you so much for this information. I have been progressively been getting worse year after year for at least 6 years now. I thought I had tried everything. My arthritis has gotten so bad in every joint it’s debilitating. I was told my one doctor that I have fibromyalgia as well as arthritis every where, They have me on medicine for both. I have tried tons of natural remedies. I cannot take this pain any longer. I found Dr. Hyman’s 10 days detox & have done that for almost a month now. Basically eating veggies & meat. I have not felt better. I have actually felt worse. Guess what I have been eating tons of? You got it! Peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, curry, AND I take the supplement for ashwangda. Not sure that is spelled correct. I feel like I have just stumbled on to my answer! I am past the point of feeling deprived & I just want to feel better!! I really love spices so thank you for the curry recipe. I will definately try it! I thought I read somewhere that chamomile tea wasn’t good either. I don’t see it on your list of nightshades. If I have chronic inflammation is there a reason I should avoid that? This all makes me crazy since I bought it to help with my inflammation!! Thank you so much! I will start following you more. I can’t wait to see how I feel in 30 days! Thanks again!

    1. Robin, I’m so glad you found my blog and this article. There is a such a strong connection between arthritis and nightshades. It’s made a huge difference for me. I hope it does for you as well. Chamomile isn’t a nightshade and should be fine to drink.

  33. Thanks for the great article Eileen. I haven’t yet tried to re-introduce any nightshades and am thinking that I may not even try although I miss chipotle a lot (sigh). Before starting the AIP I had a permanent, unremitting low grade headache (24/7) but now, having been on the AIP for more than 4 months, I only get the occasional headache. I feel so blessed!

  34. I have two daughters who suffer from extreme nightshade sensitivity. Despite our best efforts, there are occasional incidents. Immediate consumption of copious amounts of liquid seem to help a bit. But once the headache and vomiting have begun, what can we do to speed the process of eliminating the toxins from the body?

  35. I followed the no-nightshades plan for a month and lost pain, stiffness, brain fog and 21 pounds! Then I relapsed. I call it that because as a recovering alcoholic, I know the thinking that leads to using something not healthy for me. After two weeks of pain and stiffness enough was enough and I’m back (sigh) on the wagon. But this experience really drove home for me how important this way of eating is for my health. I’m so grateful for the information and community I find here.
    BTW making my own curry seasoning (per your recipe) made me feel like a real chef! It enabled me to enjoy my favorite Spicy Curry Kale Salad recipe – I just leave out the cayenne and add more garlic and ginger. So delicious!
    And I have found Annie’s Organics mustard with no nightshades, and Sir Kensington mayo. Onward and Upward to better health!!
    Thank you for your dedication to better health for us all.

  36. I just started going to a Functional Medicine doctor. He recommended I go completely sugar free and nightshade free. I’m getting worried I’m going to be living on salad 🙁 I can only have half a serving of berries/day.

    I’m already paleo, grain-free and dairy-free.

      1. Thanks for the response. My doc basically is picking and choosing what diets to follow. I was already AIP Paleo before deciding eggs don’t bother me at all. I have heaps of allergies that I’m trying to manage as well.

  37. Your blog has become my new bible. Thanks so much for putting this information out here for people like me. I’m on day 4, pain and stiffness seems to be cycling in and out, but I feel clearer mentally and less bloated. Determined to stick it out and cautiously hopeful that I can once again enjoy life without constant debilitating pain!

  38. Organic Prairie Grassfed Beef Hot Dogs do not contain any nightshades. I verified this with the company. I have found them in two different supermarkets in my area. Also found them when traveling to Rockwall, Texas. I love them and stock up on them.

    “Thank you for contacting Organic Prairie.
    The Organic Prairie Grassfed Beef hot dogs spices include organic white pepper and no nightshades.
    If I can be of further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me.
    Lori P.
    Organic Valley / Organic Prairie
    Consumer Relations Associate

    1. Great tip, Rickey! It’s so rare to find hot dogs without paprika. These are going on my shopping list. 🙂

  39. I am a person who suffers from hidradenitis suppurativa HS for short it is apperently a autoimmune disease which causes abscesses in the groind armpits breasts buttocks areas from some of the research I have done many say that eliminating nightshades is the key I would like to thank you for the information it seems to be a more complete list than I have seen so for I have never seen potatoes on any list before I’m glad that I don’t like most carbs I have yet tried to remove them from my diet honestly don’t know how I’m going to go without my spices or tomatoes but if it will give me some relief from this horrible condition after almost 30 years I’m willing to try it but was hoping you might be able to tell me on a good substitute for paprika and BBQ sauce which I love and use almost daily as well as I’m a person of very low budget and because of this I’m forced to eat things like potatoes spaghetti for the low cost is it much more expensive to eat this way I live almost half under the poverty line so I’m very much hoping it is cost efficient to do this thank you again for sharing and any information you might be able to give me

  40. Hi Eileen,

    Thanks so much for this article and your site. I couldn’t do the AIP with out it! My question is that I have heard that spinach is also a night shade, is this true? It’s not on your list. I am hoping it’s not because I make juice and smoothies with it and have not been off of it with the AIP.

    Thank you


    1. Hi Latifa. No, spinach is not a nightshade. I actually address this in the article, in the paragraph under “Beware of longer lists on the internet.”

  41. If anyone is interested, Just Mayo (Original) is nightshade free. Email from Hampton Creek: “Just Mayo Original is totally free of nightshades! But you won’t be able to have the flavors— garlic, chipotle, and sriracha— as they contain some nightshades such as peppers.”
    So only the original is nightshade free. But that’s what I was buying anyway. I actually get it at my local Walmart. Yea!!

  42. I found a nightshade free yellow mustard that I’m going to try. It comes from Canada. I sent an email to verify ingredients, and this was their response. “First I would like to thank you for your interest in our product. The Product is Maison Orphee Organic Yellow Mustard.
    The only ingredients in our mustard are water, organic apple cider vinegar, organic mustard seeds, sea salt and organic turmeric.
    Should you have any other question, please do not hesitate to contact us.”

    1. I have found nightshade-free mustard from Annie’s Organics, and a mayo from Sir Kensington. Both were bought at Sprouts. Yay!

  43. Great article! I’m new to all of this. My husband is an extremely stubborn picky eater and was just diagnosed with Lupus, high pre-diabetes, high wheat allergy, chron’s, yeast allergy, and hashimotos. I actually cried because I can’t figure out what to cook for him and provide snacks (he has to eat every 2 1/2 hours) when he won’t eat anything or try anything hardly. He said turkey burgers are awful…. He won’t eat quinoa so my meal shoes are so limited. He is not into any kind of hip or trendy ingredient recipes. He also reuses to eat the same thing more than once in a day. I am even doing this with him to support him. I went to whole foods and spent over 400.00! If i had the money, i would hire someone to teach me how to make food he likes!

    1. Hi Amy. It sounds like your husband might like the paleo diet, which is the one I recommend for autoimmune disease. It eliminates grains and legumes – that means no quinoa. And it embraces high quality meats, fats, fruits and vegetables. He doesn’t have to eat turkey burgers. Beef burgers are fine. However, he will have to give up processed foods, pizza, breads, cookies, soda, etc. In the end, he has to be the one who wants to to heal. Unfortunately, you can’t make him. And we all empathize! It’s hard to watch someone we love make poor health choices. I recommend the book The Paleo Solution by Robb Wolf. It’s written by a man I respect who is a straight-talker. A lot of men get the message when it comes from Robb.

  44. Thank you for this information. My son (9) has Eosinopfilic Esophagitus and has now had to go nightshade free he also has to have a extream gerd diet and avoid corn. He struggled with the new changes but knowing there are others to help come up with fun recipes is a huge weight off.

    1. Hi Misty. I’m also grateful to the internet for helping us feel part of a larger community. You’re a wonderful mother to help your son this way. Hugs to both of you!

  45. Is black pepper, especially black peppercorns, safe?
    And how about Apple cidar vinager?
    Thank you.
    I am going to elimate nightshades and see how I do.

  46. Wow, this is what I needed to know. Thank you!!! I am new to your website – came here for the great AIP meal ideas. The round table has been a Godsend. I have been on restricted diets for years and finally have been following strict AIP for about 8 months, but have never gotten completely rid of symptoms (or lost any weight *sigh*). I recently found out from my Functional Med. Dr. that I am hypothyroid, as well as, having issues with Adrenal Fatigue. She put me on two herbal supplements and for the first 6 months I felt great, then I started to see more symptoms, and now have bad joint pain. Due to my increased symptoms, I decided it was time to re-start my AIP from the beginning. No change. Frustrated, today I finally searched for a complete list of nightshade plants, before going over all my supplements and re-reading personal care product labels. There is Ashwagandha in two of the supplements I was put on! And, I am taking 9 to 12 of those puppies a day! Thank you, thank you. Had NO idea it was a nightshade. I am looking forward to not only feeling better, but perhaps educating another doc! So relieved.
    Thanks for helping me find the answer.

  47. Like many here i have been struggling with unexplainable diverse and debillitating symptoms since a surgery 2 years ago. I tried an elimination diet, but muddled it, stayed away from wheat, but symptoms persisted. I think i knew that potatoe was a problem, but went into denial due to emotional food attachment! Recently suspected nightshades, so all this info has been really helpful. Eileen, just have to say what an incredibly kind and supportive lady you are thankyou

  48. I have just reached one year being nightshade-free and cannot believe what a difference it has made!

    Before cutting out nightshades I would experience stomach pain immediately after eating tomatoes and was sensitive to other nightshades as well. By cutting out all nightshades I went from having stomach pain every week to only a few episodes over the year (I have learned the hard way that a lot of meat seasonings and asian sauces have chilies hidden in them, so be careful when ordering food at restaurants!).

    I know it can seem daunting cutting out nightshades completely, but it made such a different for me and has been entirely worth it.

    Some nightshade-free tips:
    -pesto sauce and sweet potatoes make great substitutes
    -if I don’t think a waiter will take my request for no catchup or paprika on my food seriously, I use the word “allergic” and they are often much more receptive to my dietary needs
    -for many recipes it is easy to leave out nightshade spices and still have a tasty dish

  49. Do you know if fermentation affects nightshades at all by reducing the sensitivity? I’ve had a hard time finding information about that. For example, fermented salsa? Thanks!

    1. Unfortunately not, Gina. Fermentation adds probiotics and aids digestion, but doesn’t affect the nightshade content at all.

  50. Thank you for your article. I’d never heard of nightshade intolerance, so I’m very grateful for the info that I can now look into further.

    Now in my 50s and having the past 20 years destroyed due to severe chronic illness involving multiple systems after an initial bout of ME after stomach flu, I was never taken seriously by doctors and was basically treated as a malingerer. But since my 40s my joints and spine got involved, but I was still fobbed off, until recently having xrays and MRIs have proven how severely damaged my vertabrae and joints are – which after looking into it I believe has been the ultimate outcome of living with a chronically dysfunctioning digestion system, intolerance and allergies that for years manifested as all the horrible systemic ills that I was suffering.

    It’s a big lesson for everyone not to simply believe doctors, or be put off by them, but now we have the internet use it wisely to try and find why you feel so very unwell all the time when doctors say there’s nothing wrong.

    I wish the light had dawned much sooner for me to make me wonder whether food could be the real root of my problems. But I honestly believed the lie that unless you have a full-blown allergy everything is just in your mind and intolerance is just belly ache. I’ve known for ages that potato juice made my hands red and itchy like contact dermatitis, but it didn’t equate to me that potato could also be irritating the inside of my body after eating it.

    A few months ago after becoming addicted to bread products and for a week having eaten several portions per day I realised that my mouth, tongue, throat felt raw, coated and sore, and my breath was foul. So I stopped eating bread and began feeling much better generally, which surprised me, so I decided to give up gluten and within three weeks I felt more well than I had done for many years; there was much less pain and I only needed a third of my meds.

    But there has still been something wrong when I eat. So after not having potato for a long time I ate a large portion for a few days and have become inflammed and painful. My tongue and throat are sore with a burning/raw sensation. So it’s clear that potato is my nemesis and I’ve started looking at starch intolerance, and my specific search query led me to find your page!

    I now have to figure out if I have only nightshade intolerance, or starch, or both. Your page makes great sense to me as I have those symptoms, plus I love nightshades and eat them every day! I’m very glad I found you, so I realise that nightshades might be like poison to my body – it kind of does feel like I’ve swallowed something caustic since eating potatoes. I will eliminate the nightshades and see what happens, then I will eliminate all starches. If I then eat a big portion of a nightshade that isn’t a starch I will know my answer.

    Although I’m going to have to stick to a very restricted diet with no gluten and perhaps both nightshades AND starches out, it will be well worth it if it means that my pain/inflammation and other severe ills are going to be significantly better, or even eliminated, because I’ve been so sick that I’ve had to try very hard not to kill myself to end the pain and lack of sleep.

    Thanks once more for your understandable article. I wish you wellness.

    1. Thanks for sharing your experience, Jan. It is frustrating that doctors don’t see the connection between food and health. Best wishes with your experiments – my hope for you is that you become completely pain-free.

  51. Is it ok to have infused oil such as chilli oil, garlic oil etc? The chilli taste is within the oil but the actual pieces of chilli remain in the bottle. Hoping so as getting a bit sick of steamed veggies. Thanks for you time.

    1. No Kerry. Chili oil will give you the same reaction as eating nightshades, so you want to avoid that. However, garlic isn’t a nightshade, so you can eat as much of that as you want. Lastly, if you want some flavor boosts for your veggies, check out my tips here for adding flavor and heat to you food: Spices on the AIP.

  52. Based on my experience, I would say yes. I have had sudden RX to chiggar bites (and I live in the South!), when I never reacted before. I think some of it has to do with my having autoimmune conditions. When the immune system is in a mood to act up, it reacts vigorously!

  53. Hi there
    I am wanting to start a nightshade vegetable and fruit free diet, is there a recipe book I can purchase?

    1. Hi Cathy. Fruit-free is easy to to – you don’t need a cookbook for that. But I don’t recommend fruit-free diets. Fruit has a lot of nutrition, so long as you don’t overdo it. Berries are especially beneficial, containing more antioxidants than many vegetables. Just avoid Goji berries, since they’re a nightshade. If you’re looking for a nightshade-free cookbook, here’s one on Amazon, although I haven’t personally used it, so can’t give it a review either way: Caroline’s No Nightshade Kitchen.

  54. Is it possible to basically get these symptoms all of a sudden? I have never noticed a problem, but for about a month and a half I have had terrible hives, esp. At night and in the morning. Sometimes the hives produce joint and bone pain “underneath”. Some throat irritation as well. I was just working with my tomato plants outside today and had a big outbreak of hives and pain on my hands, which is what has suddenly given me this idea. Thoughts??

    1. I agree with Sue. It’s not uncommon for sensitivities to appear later in life, for lots of different reasons. I recommend avoiding the tomatoes (or even all nightshades) for a month and see if your hives disappear.

  55. I was having chronic pain in my hands, hips, back, knees, but mostly my toe joints for about three years. I finally went to a Rheumatologist. She diagnosed me with sero-negative RA. I started on Plaquinil and steroid. Wow, the steroid made me feel great, but it was as needed, and that was everyday! Not a long term solution. Every time I stopped the steroid my symptoms would return. The Plaquinil was not modifying the zero-negative RA. One thing was consistent, I was trying to eat healthy, and I would have a V8 drink every day with my breakfast and lunch. I looked up the connection between tomatoes and joint pain and found many articles on Nightshade vegetables. I stopped drinking V8 the next day. I felt %50 better in three days and much better by now just by eliminating the V8 (That was 23 OZ daily however.) This is certainly NOT scientific but it is working for me. I plan on asking to be removed from the Plaquinil on my next Dr. visit!

    1. It’s amazing what a difference it makes, and you’re not the first person to have that reaction unknowingly to V8. Thanks for sharing your story, Dave.

  56. I wish it were easier to find out where nightshade spices hide – or even bits of the big stuff like peppers. Also that more restaurants and servers – or the general public – knew what nightshades are. And that tobacco’s one of them and as far as I’m concerned may be the cause of a lot of misery, both physical and emotional, from not only direct but also residual smoke, as in hotel bedding and drapes, rental car interiors, etc. Took me a long time to find out why I got weepy and my legs got week on too many vacations where nobody was actually smoking near me.

  57. Thank you for posting this! Tomatoes have always hurt my stomach and other dishes would make me sick as well, but I could never pin down the exact ingredient. It was so frustrating! About nine months ago I read an article on nightshades and realized that all of foods on the list make me sick. I have been nightshade free since then and have felt so much better!

  58. I discovered last March that I’m sensitive to nightshade. I have fibromyalgia and it has reduced inflammation so i am pretty strict about it. I have missed curry etc so much! I was searching Google for substitutions for peppers and found your great article. Thank you so much for the curry and tomato sauce recipes! I can hardly wait to try them!!

  59. A type of “ground cherry” is now sold as “golden berries” (a commercial name) in health food stores. They come dried and sometimes fresh. Just so everyone knows, they are in fact a nightshade (scientific name: Physalis)

    1. Holy crap. I love goldenberries, have loved them for years and eat them on the regular. This explains so much, and is SO FRUSTRATING. How many obscure favorites am I going to have to give up? 🙁

      Thank you for this. It is heartbreaking but will help me dramatically I’m sure.

  60. Thanks for the info, did not know about nightshades and now I understand why I got sik eating “safe” food. Your blog is so helpfull, and I have learned a lot that will help me to eat the right food. My tongue use to be svullen but now it is normal size again (nightshades?) I have less pain and fatique. I use Methotrexate and hope that I can get off the medication in the future.

  61. Thanks for the info. I eat all those nightshades and personally I think I have autoimmune–all the swelling, joint pains, etc. and other symptoms. I will try to avoid them and find out for myself. The doctors just gave me meds which didn’t really address my pain.

  62. Sandra J Pomeroy, PT

    I have been looking for websites to post since I can’t get a response from Dr. Childers site (he may have passed, he would be 104 if still with us) to alert folks that Pravastatin has nightshades in it. A friend who has been off nightshades was placed on it and got worse and worse and discovered it contains nightshades. Please alert anyone who could be affected by this

    1. Since I posted this, the nightshade in it is petunia. It is being used in a lot of areas including genetically modified ones. Be very careful. BTW bought Carolyn’s book, great job!

  63. Interesting article.

    As a child I never liked bell pepper or tomatoes or eggplant. Living in the South, rice was the typical starch, not potatoes. When I moved to South Texas as a young adult I developed a fondness for jalapenos and other spicy Mexican food. Around age 30 (and then living in the Northeast) I developed a severe digestive intolerance to peppers ( I react like food poisoning) and learned the link of paprika to peppers.

    I’ve been off “whites” (including potatoes) several times and notice that the clicking in my joints goes away but I’ve always associated this change with getting rid of those low glycemic carbs, not with potatoes as part of the night shade family.

    Over the years, I’ve developed a taste for tomatoes but still don’t care for eggplants.
    In prepping to do a 30 day cleanse for health reasons my nutritionist mentioned the nightshade family when I told her that I can’t tolerate peppers and I found this article. I am now convinced that I’m one of those that has a nightshade intolerance and I’ll be eliminating all of them on my cleanse. (and I’ve also forwarded this to my dad who can no longer tolerate peppers and has digestive and skin issues.)

    What’s fascinating to me is that these are the very foods I didn’t like as a child – hmmmm – maybe we as parents need to think twice about making our kids eat things they don’t like!

  64. Thanks so much, Eileen, for writing this and to all the others that have commented. After already giving up soy, dairy, gluten, egg, onion, grains and beans, I thought I was the only one who cried at the prospect of giving up nightshades. It means learning a whole new way to cook. It helps to have company.

  65. I’ve been on AIP except for some cheats with coffee and chocolate for about 6 weeks, and my IC and tendonitis and osteoarthritis only vary a bit within a certain range, but then again no standard test shows any autoimmune (RF, citruline(my bad spelling), ANA). So I am adding some things back and I feel the same, except a bunch of string and mung beans were hard to digest, so I’m trying to figure that out. But what I do want to say about nightshades is that my naturopath told me she has patients that flare from some nightshades and not others, so it is important to test each one and not always lump them together. I hope this would help someone, but don’t risk it if you think it will make you to sick. Eliminating them did not seem to affect me one way or another, but I ‘ll see what happens when I test them.

  66. Thanks so much for your final gift of curry!! I cant wait to try it. Curry is one of my favorite things ever! If I eat nightshades I have hives for 24 hours and my throat will close up. I miss Mexican and Thai food the most. If anyone know of a potatoes yeast free beer let me know. I know that stuff like corona and budwiser are fine, but I want a microbrew. A good beer.

  67. I’ve been on the AIP diet for eight weeks now. I wasn’t ready to add anything back in, but I accidentally ate something with red pepper flakes! Ouch! My lips are hurting! Well, at least I know nightshades are not my friends. My swollen lips are what pushed me to this diet. I think I am sensitive to ALL nightshades including my beloved tomatoes!

  68. Is it fair to say that this throat/neck/collarbone feeling could take more than a few days to go away after removing nightshades?

    1. Absolutely. That’s why you need to eliminate them for at least 30 days. That’s enough time to see some improvement, and if you choose to test reintroducing them, you’ll get a clear reaction if they’re the problem.

  69. I am just starting to wonder if nightshades are causing some of my more recent issues (maybe even ones that started five years ago too). I can’t seem to find if they can be a cause of what I am currently going through, but I do know I have been eating a lot of potato and peppers. I have been getting a tightness feeling in my throat/neck and collarbone and it’s really freaking me out.

    1. There’s an easy way to find out. Give up nightshades for 30 days and see if that feeling goes away. I realize that’s challenging to do in the summer, but feeling good is worth it!

  70. I suffer with psoriasis and joint pain. Finishing up my first whole 30. My psoriasis has improved but my joint pain has not. Guess I will go another 30 days, eliminating nightshades this time. Hope it helps!

  71. Hey there. Wondering if fatigue fits in here or “bone pain”. I am wondering about if I might be reacting as I’ve been having some goofy symptoms this week and have been eating quite a few tomatoes. Thanks and hope you are well!

    1. Hi Adrienne. Yes fatigue and bone pain are possible nightshade reactions. If you’d like to test it, stop eating the tomatoes for 30 days, and then reintroduce to see how your body reacts. If you’re up for a wider test, I recommend giving up all nightshades for those 30 days for a totally clear baseline. I’m sorry you’re experiencing pain, and hope it passes quickly!

  72. Hey Eileen I guess I’mjust a hard learner.. Lol I tried reintroduction of tomatoes last sunda and wow big mistake. I wokeup Monday with an ache in me hip and that progressively got worse as the week continued. Finaly feeling better after 4 days of pain. Tough lesson but know you couldn’t pay me to eat nightshades.

    1. I think we’re all hard learners sometimes, but when we get a message that strong, we finally get it. I’m glad your flare has passed.

  73. Thanks for this article and site. I need to find out more. I’m already avoiding gluten, soy, dairy and wheat but am reacting to a supposedly allergen free spaghetti sauce that I made and am wondering if nightshades are the cause. I have an autoimmune disorder so it’s possible.

  74. Thanks for this great article, and the curry recipe! I was thinking I could just cut out the vegetables and keep the spices, but after reading this it seems like the best path is to go whole hog. I have been following a Paleo diet for a year now and seen much improvement in headaches and digestive issues. I still have bad arthritis pain in my foot from an old injury. I have a feeling Nightshade free is the way to go as I have already cut out tomatoes since they make me extremely bloated. I have a question for you… I have this great homeopathic cream for muscle pain and it has Belladonna in it. Do you know if that would also be considered a nightshade?

    1. Belladonna is definitely a nightshade. I recommend looking for a cream that contains Arnica instead. (Also great for muscle pain, but not a nightshade.)

  75. Thank you so much for this article! I’m recently diagnosed with RA and while plain Paleo is helping my inflammation, I know I need to knuckle down and take the AIP leap. This piece really gave me hope that I’m not giving up that much more with AIP than plain Paleo.

    1. I’m so glad, Victoria. Giving up nightshades was hard for me at first, but when my RA flares went away, it was totally worth it.

  76. I had really loose painful bowel movements all my life and found that I was sensitive to nightshade vegetables after keeping a food journal.

    The food journal I kept had a column for date, food eaten, and a bowel movement rating out of 10 which helped me pinpoint nightshades as the culprit. I now am very careful to not eat any nightshades even while dining out(Google every dish before ordering).

    The food journal worked wonders for me.

    1. Food intolerance often shows up in digestive sympoms. Thanks for sharing, Ben, and I’m so glad you pinpointed the source of yours. Food journals are wonderful tools.

  77. Eileen I WAS thinking of try kombucha I have been seeing it a lot. I was wondering does it help RA AND how much should I drink? Also is there a good aip rendly probiotic you can recommend, I heard it good for your stomach.

    1. I love kombucha, and I do find it has pain-relieving benefits as well as digestive benefits. It’s a subtle effect, but every little bit helps! Check out my kombucha series of articles, if you haven’t already. As for probiotics, I haven’t yet found one that worked for me. In looking for a brand for yourself, the most important thing is to find one that’s allergen-free (which is hard to do since most are dairy-based), and then pay attention to how you feel when you’re taking it. I wrote an article on supplements, you might also find helpful.

  78. Hello,
    I was advised 20 years ago to stay off nightshades (and quit ballet class) because of hip arthritis. Out of desperation, I finally tried cutting out nightshades last year. It has made a difference significant enough that I am will to continue not eating foods that I have loved and enjoyed for many years. One of my struggles is that one of my children has to have a gluten-free diet, and most gluten-free flours and baked goods contain potato starch. I am slowly experimenting with new flour substitutions. Today I learned that some American Chinese restaurants put ketchup (and other surprising ingredients) in their dishes. I appreciate blogs like this one for revealing nightshades in places I would never think to suspect. Thank you.

  79. I feel so hopeless right now. I have Hypothyroidism and Celiac. I am learning that I now can’t eat Nightshades because they are making me sick and my mouth gets all full of sores. I used to love food but now I feel like I can’t eat anything I used to enjoy. It’s so frustrating to live like this. I’m glad I found your blog. I won’t feel so alone.

    1. Sherry, there is a grief process in losing favorite foods. But with time, you’ll discover new favorites. I eat delicious food every day and no longer feel deprived. If you aren’t already following the AIP Recipe Roundtables, I host them here on my blog every week. You’ll find lots of great recipes from creative cooks, who know exactly what you’re going through.

        1. Hi Sherry,
          I am gluten, dairy and sugar free and just going nightshade free now. It is tough, especially when many of the foods that you have to give up have very addictive qualities. It is OK to admit this and that it is a struggle.
          But as the addictive effects wear off, you will want these foods less and less. I went from having pasta at least once per day, to now only getting a craving for it once every 4-6 weeks. I craved sugar for weeks after I gave that up and now realise how sweet vegetables and fruits really are, and find most sweetened foods to be way too sweet (something I didn’t think was possible previously).
          I am hoping that I will feel the same way in time with nightshades.

  80. I don’t see tobacco on your nightshade list. My sister had rheumatoid arthritis from teenage on. She never smoked herself but was exposed to smokers for many years – my father, grandfather who lived with us, her husband, colleagues and of course the general public. When business offices began to be smoke-free it started to become very obvious that her difficulties waxed and waned according to sporadic smoke exposure. She even found pain and stiffness increased when she drove past tobacco plantations on her way to North Carolina. For both of us the sensitivity also produced emotional effects – weepiness, angry outbursts. Hotels, which are not smoke-free in any sense that would benefit those who have a problem, as well as rental cars, which don’t claim to be smoke-free, can be a real challenge. After having at least twelve vacation trips ruined I now carry a homeopathic remedy to counteract the impact of these contacts.

    1. I didn’t include tobacco because it’s not a food, but you make a good point that exposure in other ways makes a difference. Thankfully, smoke isn’t (and never has been) a part of my life. I’ve edited the article to add it to the list. Thanks for sharing your story.

  81. Thanks for this! When I went nightshade-free almost 3 years ago there was almost nothing available in terms of reading or recipes. Now more and more people are discovering how much nightshades are affecting their health. This is a great page! Going nightshade free was a huge learning curve (and still is). It’s nice to find support now.
    Some things to maybe add to your survival guide: packaged shredded cheese nearly always contains potato starch as do many mayonaises (as well as paprika), and even some ice creams are unsafe. Thank you for your blog!

  82. I have been progressively allergic for tomatoes for years now and didn’t know. This problem became impossible to live with. After many visits to gastroenterology specialists and after having done complicated tests I had no choice but to do surgery with a fifty-fifty chance of success, I was told. Prior to the surgery I made a trip to Thailand and China and there all the problems stopped. I had a wonderful vacation not being ruled by the unbearable problems. Once I got back home I started to wonder, why I am OK there and not at home and found that in these countries no tomatoes are eaten! Meanwhile I put myself on an elimination diet and found that paprika’s are not my thing either and I will continue. I am not unhappy at all, that I cannot eat those vegetables anymore, but rather so grateful that before doing useless and tough surgery, I went to Thailand and China and discovered the problem. It is amazing that the many medically trained people didn’t think of this possibility. I suffered my whole life from migraines…(related?) and have recently found to have arthritic pains in the fingers and limbs (related?)
    Liked your article immensely, in particular, as you mentioned, that there is not found too much about it in Internet. Thank you!

    1. Sometimes the simplest solutions are the hardest to find! It would be so nice if doctors had more training in the influence of food on our health. I’m so glad you discovered this connection for yourself. Better late than never!

  83. I’m in shock tight now, finding that my all time favourite goji berries are nightshade… I was eating them in mass, and I developed pain in my fingers and hands. ( I was eating lots of tomatoes, too).
    I will calm down and sip some (decaf) tea, and say good-bye to my remaining goji berries. Thank you very much for the information.

  84. Thank you so much for this info! Last week, I made the most amazing roasted organic chicken, and I made my own curry blend rub with some new spices I had picked up; it was delicious. However, the next morning, my husband and I were both almost completely “broken” – swollen joints, terrible joint pain, stiffness, difficulty moving – it was agony. I’ve been following your blog for a while, so I figured I would check here to see if any of my ingredients were nightshades, and was surprised to see paprika and cayenne on that list (I feel so stupid for not checking first). I had used both smoked paprika and roasted cayenne in my curry blend, everything else I made was fine so those two ingredients had to be the source of our pain. I was pretty vigilant about what we ate before, and am even more vigilant now. Thank you again for your amazing blog!

    1. I know, those spices are tricky. All pre-mixed curry blends contain nightshades as well. Did you see my nightshade-free curry recipe? That’s what I use now. Feel free to use it as a starting point and adapt to your taste.

  85. I have a question, trying to figure out some things. Nightshade is as I told you in another post a huge problem for me! I know nightshades have saponinen in them as well as solanine. Is it possible I react to all things containing saponines like e.g. Spinache, onions, quinoa, tea, legumes, harloc, and also soap and shampoo? I know some saponines like spinache and garlic are good ones for the human body, but I can’t handle them. Hugs from Holland ❤️

    1. I don’t have the answer to this one, Foksola. Although I’m sensitive to nightshades, I don’t have any problem with other saponins. We’re all unique though, and anything is possible.

  86. I have been suffering from knee and pain in my hips for the past ten years and it was 2 years ago I stumbled across an article on the internet about the nightshade family of foods and I stopped eating them and within days I felt I had got my life back!. I have experimented by stopping and again eating these foods and its clear these foods give me severe stiffness and joint pain! just wish I had known about these foods years ago.

    I also take a tablespoon full of dried ginger powder mixed in a glass of warm water every morning as ginger has strong anti inflammatory effects! it really helps. I also take a teaspoon of turmeric powder mixed in a glass of milk as turmeric is also known for strong anti inflammatory properties.

  87. Thank you for sharing this information. I am suffering from multiple food intolerances and thought to finally have a bit of control there. So I ate potatos twice last week and tomatoes and a little bit of capsicum in my rice, just to give my *friend* nightshade another chance… I am in much pain right now, haven’t slept for 3 nights and the acne on my face has become more severe. So…if I ever doubted nightshades…I am now very sure! Greetings from Holland 😉

    1. It’s amazing how clearly the body speaks when we know how to listen, isn’t it? So sorry you’re going through this! In the long run, knowledge is power. Gentle hugs to you in Holland. ♥

  88. Is it possible to have a nightshade sensitivity reaction from canning tomatoes? I canned 21 quarts of stewed tomatoes and the next day felt like I was coming down with the flu. My whole body aches but I have no other symptoms, just my whole body aching. I have never been sensitive to tomatoes before but wondering if absorbed enough through my skin to cause a reaction. Thanks for any information you might have on the subject.

    1. Hi Kathleen. I’m afraid I don’t know the answer to that question. That is a whole lot of tomatoes. Anything’s possible.

      1. I don’t know about tomatoes, but I get the same thing when I chop chillies for my green curry paste (about 30).
        I have recently been diagnosed with lupus and am gluten, dairy and sugar free. I am just about to start nightshade free..

  89. My 2 year old suffers with eczema very badly and I have found it can be controlled by eliminating the Nightshade Vegetables from her diet. I’ve been looking for some recipes so thank you for your advice and a really informative blog.

  90. Thank you for this. I had known I was sensitive to green peppers for about a month, but just in the last few days started having painful reactions to other nightshades. Now I read this and realize I have been suffering with symptoms of this intolerance for longer than I ever realized. I cried when I thought about what I was going to have to give up. I’m glad I found this. It helped me realize that there are other people suffering with this same intolerance and that I will survive without these foods.

    1. Hi Travis. Grief is definitely part of the process, but once you start to feel better, it gets replaced with gratitude. Thanks for writing.

  91. Dear Eilleen,
    thank you so much for this informative article. I just recently found about the link between my autoimune desease (Hashimoto thyroiditis) and foods and am on quest for finding answers to “why” and “how” some food is bad for me. Your piece brought some much needed epifany to me. Thanks again and all the best!

  92. Great Article. I’m so glad to hear cumin is not a nightshade spice. I thought it was. Thanks for the “curry” spice. So excited to try it.

  93. Hmm…I have fibromyalgia and I’ve found that eliminating sugar has been a huge help for my joint stiffness, but I wonder if eliminating nightshade would help, too? I have to admit, I’m not sure I even want to know if I need to eliminate tomatoes and those spices from my diet! It must be really tough.

    1. I hear ya! I avoided testing this out myself for a while. Ignorance is bliss sometimes (except when it hurts!) I will say that, like anything, you just develop new food habits and eventually forget about the foods you can’t eat any more. My joint pain reduced enough that I feel grateful now, rather than deprived. However, if you want to wait until summer is over before testing this for yourself, I would completely understand!

      1. I don’t know if I’m sorry or not I ran across your article. I’ve been on SCD a long time. It’s pretty lonely. I am somewhat better. But I think if I could control the stiffness and joint pain I might be able to do things again. Also I just planted my whole back yard with tomato plants for canning and froze chili, stew and ribs with sauce. Sometimes I can tell this pain is a reaction to something but I’ve eliminated so much I couldn’t figure it out. I think I already know this will work. I’ll have to change my menu and recipes all over again.
        Thank you for the knowledge, I think.
        I’ll mean it when the pain stops LOL

        1. I stopped the nightshades without even did I do it…all you have to do is pay attention to the lingering taste of the nightshade in’s the tell tell taste in peppers as well..I decided that anything as fattening as potato starch must be totally delicious..and I found it not..I hate the lingering twang of the nightshades.

    2. I can definitely say nightshade free works wonders lowering my pain. I knew mine was not in joints. I also knew I was hurting a lot but when i came off of them for just a week it was amazing. I then backslid and when the pain came back I thought I would die! The level was obvious because at one level i could not do this, then at level 2 not do something else, so I knew what point pain was when i quit eating them. I was off almost a week and it dropped from a worst of 10 down to about a 4.. I fudged and ate some potatoes… Pain the second day after ingesting went to a 30! But I had to sit and figure out, all my life pain had gradually gone up.. all my life i had been affected.. removing them stopped the pain that i had been so accustomed too. So that when I ate a potato, it SEEMED as if I had been a frog thrown right back in to boling water I had just escaped from a few week before. So coming off of them did not make me more sensitive it just ruined me to eat any and feel that pain again! I wont say other will get same response I have but I am almost afraid to eat anything.. I dont want to ever eat any of them again.

  94. Thanks for sharing your informational post! I have heard that tomatoes and peppers can “cause” arthritis… but your post explained how it actually works.

  95. Wow! I’ve never heard of this before. This is very informative and worth my looking into. Thanks for sharing!

    I’m found you link on A Humble Bumble blog hop.

  96. What a great article, Eileen! Last summer I found out the hard way that ground cherries are actually nightshades as well.. I thought since they had cherry in the name, they weren’t even close, but I should have been tipped off by the tomatillo-like outside. 🙂


      1. Ground cherries – I have never heard of it! So it begs the question – is it still safe to eat regular fruit cherries? And what are ground cherries exactly?

        1. Nicknames for foods do make things confusing. Ground cherries actually look and taste like little tomatoes. They’re not related to the cherry family at all. So, definitely continue to enjoy fruit cherries. They’re full of wonderful phytonutrients (like all berries) and aren’t related to nightshades at all.

  97. Great information, just wanted to let you know quite a few people with our illness suffer with joint and rheumatoid arthritis so I’m going to add a link to your site…. Thanks for the information and all your hard work to provide for others the information you have. You have done an amazing job!

    James Weedmark

      1. Hello Eileen,

        I stumbled on the blog while hunting for info on nightshade affects through potato skin, but a key accelerator to health problems, problems w/nightshade is the gmo and the herbicide coatings that remain persistant on the grains in spite of processing, or subsequent cooking methods.
        GMO and herbicides are dressed up, ‘civilized’ versions of biological and chemical warfare on the ignorant and the 99%. This isnt the forum for going into what’s going on except to contribute insight about gmo herbicides to this discourse in this forum.

        Roundup is a high phosphorous herbicide making inflamation by anything with virtually any amount of phosphorous.

        The genetic engineering also has the grains scientifically corrupted with the ‘insecticide’ component, e coli monsanto and /or the other biotech companies genetically engineering into the grains. This is to eat at the larvae of the insects…

        THIS is most likely what is causing the leaky gut that people are encountering and other colon problems that have parasite characteristics that anti parasitics and more dandelion and powerful anti-oxidents and many thousands of mgs of vit c can help improve against that evil gmo/herbicide blowback condition.

        Any diet, and that includes paleo MUST BE GMO and HERBICIDE FREE. This means organic on meat (only grass fed the entire lifespan animal; no grain fed/alfalfa as there now is gmo alfalfa) animals, organic poultry, organic eggs, organic dairy, NO Processed food including fruit juices with sugars but undefined in their origin which if it’s not cane sugar, which isnt gmo, it’s usually gmo beet sugar which usually IS gmo and thus contaminated…

        GMO and associated herbicide side effects last more than a week although if one goes completely gmo and herbicide free, the differences become quite evident quite quickly. But the genetic engineering and herbicide issues can and often have caused other issues that have long tail, ie a longer negative condition needing long aggressive remediation.

        Cancers, tumors, obesity, organ problems, infertility, birth defects ALL have connection and most likely are origined in GMO and herbicides.

        It’s been interesting to read the comments about these health conditions and things like ‘leaky gut’ not only on this blog but others that seem to miss the gmo/herbicide problem and that as a root cause of most health and disease problems.


        1. I can see you’re passionate about this issue, Andrea, and I also avoid GMO foods and see them as ONE of the contributing factors to illness. I think it’s simplistic to see them as the one and only cause, however. There’s so much interacting that brings about illness – it truly is multi-faceted. But you are right – it’s worthwhile to educate ourselves about GMOs and herbicides and avoid them for our health.

    1. Thank you as well, I truly believe this is a joint effort. With the dedication of many we will see a change for the better for many, YOU are truly one we will add to our I CARE PEOPLE!!! Thanks for all you do! James

  98. Great article! I’ve been off the nightshades for about 2 months (a tiny slip here or there…) Something I’m doing is really helping with my Lupus symptoms – I can’t say for sure this is it – but I suspect it is part of it.

    1. Hi thanks so much for your article. I have an amazing story! I have a nut allergy but since June I started to have severe problems with my face going red with a hot fiery hive rash and tongue and eyelid swelling. It became totally debilitating and happened more and more often meaning I had to go to out of hours emergency because I felt so unwell and breathless. I was always given steroids but it came back and I was at my wits end. I was told it may be a contact allergy and got tested and it didn’t show a clear result. I saw an imunologist and was told I had chronic urticaria – caused by an unknown triggger. He gave me high dose antihistamines day and night as I woke up unable to breathe one night and had to take my epi pen and was rushed to hospital. He said if this didn’t work I would need to try immumo suppressants. I was convinced it was a food allergy as my tongue had hives in it too ! I then prayed and asked God what wqs causing it ? I cried out for help. I hen remebered one sat being really bad after eating a baked potato so asked the fox to test my igG to potato and bacon as I ate both. I ate the whope skin too of the potato but normally I dont. Anyhow I just found out I am allergic and was igG 3.53 ! Zero is most people score. I then stopped potato and all potato starch etc. At first I didnt see a huge difference but after three days – wow! I also had lots of people praying for me and on Sunday three days after no potatos I woke up and noticed I didn’t have any hives and my face was amazing. I went to church and realised something was different! I didn’t itch ! My tongue was normal and clear !! Wow !! My eyelid was normal for the first time in months!! Thank you Jesus ! I am amazed as is everyone I know !! And I can be such a cynical person so I am ecstatic! I will not be having any nightshade again! It has changes my life and saved me from a life on immuno suppressants. Keep telling people with immume problems and hives to try no nightshades. I also had terrible cramps and ran to loo when I ate a stirfry of peppers. My eyelid and tongue swole up and my face went red n hives. I woke up w breathing problems that night and had to take steroids to help me. I ate them because I thought they were ok. I then looked up pepper and potato allergy and found all this info on nightshade allergy!! Keep up the good work telling people. I have got the best gift of all!! Healing and lovely skin! J

    2. I have pre-lupus and was just told to go off them. I’m also grain-free so I’m wondering what I’m going to be able to eat.

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