Tomatoes, friend or foe?

Arthritis enemies, "night shade veggies.

I LOVE TOMOTOES.."bacon, lettuce and tomatoe with mayonaise on toast!!! my favorite kind of sandwich..


BUT..... I have bad bouts of pain with osteo arthritis, and as I was studying  to find relief from the pain, I came across this article about night shade vegetables..sadly tomatoes are in that group..

As I read further into this article..I was relieved to have better answers in how to enjoy my tomatoes.

Let me tell you the good and bad information.


Good...Tomatoes are considered a health food in most circles; known for  having rich suppllies of anti-oxidants like lycopene, beta-carotene, folate, potassium, vitamin C, other flavornoids, as well as other nutrients.  They are most famous for their copious amounts of lycopene, which is well-know as a cancer-figting substance. Lycopene has also been scientifically shown to stop or slow cancerous tumor growths.


Tomatoes contain other antioxidants that fight diseases like heart disease, cancer, diabetes, arthritis and dementia.  Also protecting against high blood pressure, and helps to lower cholesterol, and protects against macular degeneration. The high amount of vitamin C slows down aging, keeps skin looking young and wrinkle-free AND, offers nutirents that protect and help rebuild strong bones.


All good so far...but here is the bad side ( don't be discouraged, there are answers)


BAD...  depending on the amount of tomatoes you eat, and if you are sensitive to NIGHTSHADES.  Even though tomatoes come loaded with beneficial nutrients remember that they are a nightshade vegetable that can aggravate health conditions for some people.


If you already struggle with food sensitivities or allergies, or have any type of inflammatory or autoimmune disease, you should definitely pay attention to nightshades.  Symptoms including joint pain or swelling, digestive issues, heartburn, irritable bowels, or any red or inflamed areas of the skin. Some nightshades can even exacerbate asthma and breathing difficulties.


Nightshades are a group of plants that are a part of the solanceae family.  Many are very common, in fact, most of us eat them every day. Nightshades are known to cause a type of inflammation through a compound called "solanine" which can irritate the digestive tract, and even cause breakdown in red blood cells. They can cause worsening of arthritis in many people, also irritable bowel syndrome, heartburn, acid reflux, and other GI issues.  Solanine is primarily found in potatoes, the tomato version of this is called "tomatine".


The major nightshade plants we eat most every day are...


All variety of tomatoes, tomatillos, white potatoes,(sweet potatoes are ok, not a nightshade),eggplant, okra, all rarieties of peppers - hot or sweet, goji berries, sorrel, gooseberries, tobacco, paprika,cayenne pepper, chili powder..

So, while tomatoes can  have a lot of health benefits if eaten in MODERATE quantities, if you happen to, or have joint pain, arthritis or heartburn, it may be worthwhile to stay off of nightshade family for a month or so to see if they are causing a problem for you or making symptoms worse. 


NOTE:  the writer of this article suggests the main harm from nightshades can come from over-consumi them on a reglar basis year round..part of studying principles of nutrition are that many foods would have only been eaten seasonally by our ancestors, not continuously year-round.


The nightshades have good coupounds and bad compunds, and were eaten only 2-3 months a year.  So it's not that my favorite tomatoe is bad for me, and maybe you too, It is good in many ways ..but better to cycle various nightshades in and out our diets and once or twice a week as opposed to every day..That way you and I benefit from some of the good nutrients in them..


To your good health, Geri


Thank you Catherine and Mike.(writers of much of this article)


"This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it". Psalm 118:24



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donna m | Reply 02.02.2021 22:56

Good article, the key word is moderation!

Kris | Reply 31.01.2021 13:05

Great information. Thank you.

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Latest comments

17.04 | 06:56

Happy Easter, Geri!
This post is beautiful!

06.04 | 16:30

Good words to remember and live by…Thanks

10.03 | 07:19

It’s quality of friends not quantity , I always say. I love that picture of Jacob at Fred Howard park with is little friend. Love ya, Aunt Geri

10.03 | 07:02

This made me smile again about 3 years later. Thanks for sharing again.

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