Do Nightshade Vegetables Cause Inflammation?

Throwing Shade at “Nightshades Cause Inflammation”

Nightshade vegetables have been given a bad rap lately, and even celebrities like Tom Brady claim that these foods cause inflammation and our bad for our health. As successful as he is, I hope you don’t rely on Tom Brady for any evidence-based nutrition info. Stick to football dude. Let’s get to the bottom of this…

What are nightshade vegetables?

Nightshades are members of the Solanaceae family of plants. Edible nightshade vegetables include tomatoes, white potatoes, peppers, and eggplants. They contain solanine, a chemical that when consumed in large amounts, can be toxic to humans. Ever seen a green spot on a potato chip? That’s solanine! I bet you ate it, and look, you survived!

Do nightshade vegetables cause inflammation?

Some nightshades can literally kill you, that’s why we don’t eat them. The levels of solanine found in the varieties of nightshade vegetables we do consume is in trace amounts and safe. Unless you are eating lots of green potatoes, which is gross anyway, you’re fine. No studies have ever demonstrated that these foods trigger inflammation. In fact, there is evidence to the contrary. For example, tomatoes contain antioxidants such as Vitamin C and carotenoids. Tomato juice has actually been demonstrated to reduce inflammation and oxidative stress in several human studies. Furthermore, nightshade veggies contain many healthful nutrients including Vitamin C, fiber, and potassium.

Should I avoid nightshade vegetables?

Vegetables from the nightshade family are staple foods for many people.

Nightshades are nutritious, healthful foods, and the idea that they cause inflammation is not supported by evidence. However, if you ever feel like a certain food triggers negative symptoms, then you should definitely avoid it.


Tomato juice consumption reduces systemic inflammation in overweight and obese females.Ghavipour M et al. Br J Nutr. (2013)


trans-Lycopene from tomato juice attenuates inflammatory biomarkers in human plasma samples: An intervention trial. Colmán-Martínez M et al. Mol Nutr Food Res. (2017)


The Effect of Tomato Juice Consumption on Antioxidant Status in Overweight and Obese Females. Pourahmadi Z et al. Women Health (2015) 

Krystle ZunigaComment