The Solanaceae Family sounds well dodgy and something you don’t want to mess with. If you have chronic pain and inflammation particularly joint pain, muscle stiffness and possibly osteoarthritis then you would be advised to stay well clear of this family.
The Solanaceae family instead of referring to a Sicilian crime family that might threaten to fill your boots with concrete are the family of foods and food chemicals of over 2000 species that we more commonly have heard of as Nightshades. Of course the deadly Belladonna is included in that family but in terms of chronic pain and inflammation I am referring to tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, aubergines, blueberries and although I do regularly recommend it as part of stress management protocol to support the adrenals and anxiety, Ashwagandha.
I’m constantly spouting the benefits of an omnivorous, meat and two veg diet. No food is truly a superfood but some foods are more super for you and 5others are more evil megalomaniac dark destroyer types. And if I’m honest this is a thinly veiled dig at choosing to narrow and restrict your nutrient intake by only consuming plants. Plants that have evolved over eons to survive and spread their little seeds did not set themselves up solely to be our food. They have many sneaky tricks under their leaves aimed at protecting themselves. The more commonly heard of is Phytic Acid that is found in seeds, grains, legumes and nuts mostly. This plant chemical blocks mineral absorption in your meal. So unless you soak or sprout these foods it could be a further factor in nutritional deficiencies. I run blood tests several times a week and see nutritional deficiencies they accompany symptoms constantly zinc and iron being amongst the most common. So plants in excess can cause health issues and make life more difficult to get in all the nutrients you need each day. Add in digestive issues such as intestinal permeability (Leaky Gut), processed food, pesticide and not organic food, cooked to death food, food barely chewed but hoovered down the hatch and any number of stresses from external; the world has gone mad, financial to internal; digestive infections, food sensitivities, environmental toxins, and a big one currently medications in all their guises and you need nutrients coming in by the barrowload. The last thing you want when you are working on being the healthiest best version of yourself is to have your body robbed of those priority nutrients.
So if you rely heavily on plants for nutrition and especially if you live in the U.K. we are sort of in summer, (well one day we are and the next not so much) then plants as salads and smoothies are likely to be at the top of the menu. Most of us love tomatoes and in the U.K. sales are up 12% and we already ate around 500,000 tonnes per year. Over 1% of the U.K. a population is reported to be vegan and numbers are rising with growing numbers of people believing that eating a plant based diet is “an admirable thing to do”.
Autoimmune conditions cost the UK £13 billion annually and inflammatory conditions are on the rise. There are 10 million people in the U.K. suffering various forms of stiffness, pain and fatigue that come under the arthritis umbrella. Arthritis is a form of inflammation such as oestro arthritis and in since cases can be autoimmune;
• Rheumatoid Arthritis
• Psoriatic Arthritis
• Reactive Arthritis
• Ankylosing Spondylitis
• Axial Spondyloarthritis
Infections can lead to autoimmune conditions and there have certainly been plenty of that cause over the last two years. I always espouse a food first route to health and support or supplemented with supplements. The problems can come when there has been an over reliance on a narrow range of foods and those particular foods caused the problem or are present in your current diet at levels that exacerbate your inflammatory condition or symptoms.
In my experience many of us assume what looks healthy on the plate is healthy for us all. And it’s quite often difficult to explain that what we believe to be healthy can in fact be doing us harm. I love tomatoes to be fair, and peppers, and I am not aware of increasing the amount or frequency relating to any change in my health, lucky me. I have also done several blood, food sensitivity tests and these foods have never come up. Coffee, foods heavily sprayed with pesticides and several chemicals used in food processing can also be problematic so it can be difficult to spot the connection between your lunchtime chicken salad and your pain but it can also be challenging to spot the source. If you do have pain and/or fatigue as well as inflammation whether it’s as advanced as an inflammatory disease (Inflammatory Bowel Disease; Ulcerative Colitis, Crohn’s Disease, Coeliac Disease) or asthma, allergies and arthritis it is definitely important to consider food sources as well as the medicatons you are taking before you need more medications to manage your symptoms. If what I have been trying to explain resonates with you and to further corroborate this line of thinking, you have consumed more nightshade plants of late that coincide with an increase in symptoms it’s definitely worthwhile considering removing or at the very least reducing the dose for a period of time. If they really are a no go for you and a significant factor in your suffering then it is wise to do it properly and abstain for up to 3 months.
It is also possible that your food sensitivity is your actual condition and removing the offending food is the treatment and not the drug to manage the pain of a medical condition you don’t have! It’s all possible. I am not a medical doctor, I have no desire to operate as a licensed practitioner so please if you are reading this article and have a medical diagnosed condition discuss your medication and remaining deadly tomatoes from your diet.
Unfortunately many of us don’t appreciate the power of food to heal our bodies and equally and conversely don’t appreciate the power of our food to harm us. I find it’s only once people so make the changes that the lights come on. I am firm believer in lab testing to find out how your body works on the inside. On many occasions you can be working with someone and the clues they are giving you are strong, you are really confident you know what the issues are that need addressed. However your client isn’t there yet. One of the issues with the majority of health advice coming from the medical community that are not well trained at all in working face to face across time with peoples various nutrition and lifestyle problems is the disconnect from the control each of us has in our own health versus the repeatedly reinforced connection between this symptom needs this drug. The “this for that” approach and the power and persuasion of medical authority is a hurdle. It’s a hurdle for lifestyle change. If your GP is sitting behind a desk or hiding over the phone (of course I appreciate there are many situations where telephone or Zoom is practical and appropriate, I’m not a hypocrite) and prescribing drugs for symptoms driven and created by the wrong food choices it’s a difficult nut to crack, pun intended. So about 9 times out of 10 I run lab tests with clients. Partly so we both can see what we really are dealing with and the correlation to the clients signs and symptoms but also to add financial buy in and most of all reverse the authority to your body! It is your body that is producing too high or too low biochemical markers in the lab test. It is your body that is telling you what is going on in the inside of you. When you see that objectivity sitting there in black and white;
• H.pylori, a digestive infection
• Antibodies to gliadin, gluten sensitivity
• Low free cortisol, high total cortisol, high thyroid, obesity
• High liver enzymes, liver damage, fatty liver disease, inflammation
These are not definitive, we do not treat the test results and as I said I am not a doctor. We use this hard data as strong clues to the steps we need to take to improve health. I always see far far higher buy in to health changing strategies when someone sits there and can see the data from the lab test and realises they are not mad, there is a reason they feel the way they do and are then champing at the bit to take the necessary action. Maybe not jumping through every hoop but it provides the catalyst for change that all too often with people with chronic issues have been round the houses seeing and paying and investing time and energy into one expert after another chasing their symptoms. Medications can commonly not be helping and with the information we uncover that can help set up productive conversations with medics, primary care physicians, for when drugs are warranted as part of the health building program. I had a client recently that each night felt like they were having a heart attack as a result of what seemed to be the use of an antiviral drug. There are nutritional approaches and targeted supplementation shown in peer reviewed journals that can support inflammation, immune suppression and viral replication and again knowing this and testing for the bodies inefficiencies and imbalances point to direct steps to take and can provide back up or support with your medic.
These super healthy foods at certain dosages can act as enzyme blockers or Cholinesterase inhibitors, called glykoalkaloids or solanaceous glykoalkaloids, SGA for short. Even potatoes have been studied alongside organophosphates and fungal antibiotics to show how they can block the breakdown of the brain chemical or neurotransmitter, Acetylcholine (Ach). This is a good thing in Alzheimer’s or Vascular Dementia where Ach is in short supply and required for normal brain function and memory. These SGAs can inhibit the breakdown of anaesthetic drugs and also cocaine. So your mince and tatties could alter the breakdown of your pain killing meds. These clever little plants make these SGAs to prevent attacks from insects and pests as a defensive measure. Different bad bugs, pathogens and nutrient deficiencies also trigger theincrease in these compounds within the plants. It is an interesting conundrum whether you experience the benefits of their anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial (bug killing, antibiotic like action) and anti-carcinogenic action or their stimulating pain, stiffness, fatigue and more inflammation.
Again health can be complicated and takes time and energy to make changes. It’s generally a good guide to take the guess work out of what has gone wrong in your body and what to about it by testing. However if the above explanation makes sense to you, your diet does have high or maybe just frequent doses of tomatoes, peppers, potatoes and aubergines, and you now see a possible pattern to your symptoms in severity and how often they flare up it might be a very direct way to achieve some symptomatic relief at least and give the Solanaceae family a body swerve for the next few weeks and maybe as long as 3 months before trying a very slow, measured re-introduction to gauge just how much they could be healthy but weren’t the healthiest of foods for you. If instead you would rather just run a specific lab test please let me know.