Are you suffering from joint pain and stiffness? Are you not able to workout without feeling pain in your knees? Do you hands hurt? What if all you had to do for some relief is cut out certain foods from your diet? Would it be worth it to you? If so, then read on, because we have some good news that may help you get the joint pain relief you’ve been searching for.The foods you eat play an essential role in your overall health. Both the foods you include in your diet and the foods you limit can affect various conditions, including arthritis. According to the Arthritis Foundation, there is not a specific diet for people that have arthritis. But in some cases, it may be helpful to avoid eating nightshade vegetables.
What is arthritis?
Arthritis is a group of diseases that lead to inflammation and pain in the joints. There are different forms of arthritis, with the most common being osteoarthritis. According to the Arthritis Foundation, there are about 100 forms of arthritis, which affect approximately 50 million adults in the United States.
Some forms of arthritis develop due to wear and tear on the joints, and some types are thought to occur due to autoimmune problems. In some cases, arthritis only affects certain joints. In other instances, symptoms may be more widespread, and various joints may be affected. Symptoms of arthritis include:
- Joint pain
- Decreased range of motion
What are nightshades?
Nightshades are a group of vegetables that are part of the Solanaceae plant family. There are many different species of Solanaceae plants, some that are toxic and some which are grown and routinely eaten.
Vegetables in the Solanaceae family contain solanine, which is an alkaloid. In large concentrations, solanine can be toxic. In nightshade vegetables, solanine is only found in trace amounts. But it may still have some adverse effects.
Examples of nightshade vegetables include:
- White potatoes
- Bell peppers
- Goji berries
A Word about Potato Starch
Besides avoiding nightshade vegetables, you need to be aware that many foods have potato starch added to them, including soups and processed foods. Potato starch acts as a thickener for soups, and it is also used as a substitute for wheat in prepackaged foods.
How do nightshades affect or cause arthritis/joint pain?
The physiology behind the connection between increased symptoms of arthritis and nightshade vegetables is not fully understood. But some evidence supports the theory that the glycoalkaloid solanine in nightshade vegetables may have an effect on the immune system and joints. Research indicates that the glycoalkaloids may cause anticholinesterase activity and disrupt the cell membranes. The disruption may adversely affect certain organs and symptoms of the body, which might increase arthritis symptoms. (1)
It’s also thought that the alkaloids in nightshades may stimulate an immune system response, which can lead to an increase in symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. In one study that involved rats with rheumatoid arthritis, the effects of nightshade vegetables were studied. The rats were divided up into different groups. One group ate a diet that included potatoes, and another group did not. The study indicated that the rats that consumed potatoes had increased markers for inflammation including C-reactive protein. (2)
It’s not entirely clear whether eating nightshade vegetables has a direct effect on inflammation or if sensitivity to solanine may have an impact on people with arthritis leading to increased symptoms. Either way, some research indicates that limiting vegetables that contain solanine along with other small diet adjustments may result in improvement of arthritis symptoms. (3)
Besides joint pain, what other health symptoms can nightshades cause?
Joint pain and inflammation are not the only possible consequences of eating nightshade vegetables. For example, some data indicates that the glycoalkaloids may be stored in the body and released during periods of stress, which may have negative effects on organs in the body including the gastrointestinal system. (4)
Nightshade vegetables may also worsen symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. One study involving mice indicated that the mice that ate white potatoes had increased colonic injury as compared to mice that were not fed nightshade vegetables. The results suggest that eating nightshades may aggravate existing bowel diseases, such as irritable bowel syndrome. (5)
Additional research also supports that eliminating nightshade vegetables that might irritate the gastrointestinal tract eases symptoms of certain bowel diseases. In one study, participants followed a strict diet that included eliminating nightshade vegetables. After about three weeks, study participants with ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease reported decreased symptoms. (6)
Some people may also have a sensitivity or allergy to the alkaloids in nightshade vegetables, which can lead to a variety of symptoms including gas, bloating, and diarrhea. An intolerance to nightshades can also cause hives, itchiness, and nasal congestion.
Limiting nightshade vegetables
People that are sensitive to nightshade vegetables might have an increase in symptoms of arthritis including joint stiffness and inflammation a few hours or up to a couple of days after eating the foods.
In some cases, avoiding or limiting the amount of nightshade vegetables eaten may be helpful to relieve pain in your joints. Consider cutting out nightshade vegetables for a few weeks, keep a food diary, and monitor your symptoms. If symptoms improve, add nightshade veggies back again to determine if inflammation and pain increase. If your symptoms improved when you avoided nightshade vegetables, there is likely a connection between your arthritis and the nightshades.
For people that discover a link between nightshades and arthritis symptoms, eliminating certain foods from their diet may significantly decrease discomfort and give the body a chance to heal.
It is often easy to substitute nightshade vegetables and swap them out for other foods. For example, eat sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes. Use spices, such as white and black pepper, instead of cayenne pepper. Swap goji berries for blueberries. Instead of tomatoes-based pizza sauce, use basil-based. Consider eating mushrooms instead of eggplant.
There are many foods you can switch with nightshade vegetables that still provide nutrients without the possible negative effects. It might also be helpful to consult with a nutritionist to make sure you are limiting nightshades without compromising your nutritional intake.
Joint Comfort Supplement for Relief
Along with the right dietary choices including limiting nightshade vegetables, it’s also helpful to take a joint supplement. Hotze Vitamins carries Joint Comfort, which is a supplement that promotes healthy joints. It contains natural ingredients, such as glucosamine and chondroitin, that renew cartilage in the joints, decrease inflammation, and may increase joint mobility. The supplements have no wheat, milk, sugar, or eggs. A joint supplement is a great, natural way to decrease pain and inflammation and improve function without the side effects of medication.
Did you know that Hypothyroidism Can Cause Joint Pain?
Did you know that low thyroid function can cause joint pain? Take our syptom checker to discover if you are experiencing other symptoms of hypothyroidism. By restoring your thyroid function to normal, you can get relief of your symptoms and feel your best.
Did eliminating nightshades help your joint pain?
Have you cut nightshade vegetables out of your diet and had joint pain relief? Share your experience with us below.
- Potato Glycoalkaloids: Chemistry, Analysis, Safety, and Plant Physiology
- Effect of Solanine on Arthritis Symptoms in Postmenopausal Female Albino Rats
- An Apparent Relation of Nightshades (Solanaceae) to Arthritis
- Kinetics and Retention of Solanidine in Man
- Potato glycoalkaloids adversely affect intestinal permeability and aggravate inflammatory bowel disease.
- Rapid Improvement in Symptoms and Quality of Life among Patients with Inflammatory Bowel Disease following an Autoimmune Protocol Diet