Nightshade fruits and vegetables are a broad group of plants from the Solanaceae family. Nightshade plants contain poisonous alkaloids, one called solanine.
While ingesting nightshade plants can be fatal, fruits and vegetables in this same classification of plant — many of which you’ll find at your local grocery store — are actually safe to eat.
This is because the amount of this toxic compound is lowered to nontoxic levels once the fruits and vegetables ripen. Still, the leaves and berries of the deadly nightshade plant are toxic and shouldn’t be consumed.
Find out exactly which of the nightshades are the most nutritious.
Tomatoes are a staple of many diets for numerous reasons. In addition to how easy they are to grow, they’re also packed with nutrition. This fruit is high in vitamins A and C, and is also a good source of potassium, vitamin B-6, manganese, and dietary fiber.
Try this fresh-from-the-garden tomato soup to warm you up on a cold day.
Potatoes are one of the most abundantly grown foods used in the Western world. They’re also part of the perennial nightshade family that can be mildly poisonous under certain conditions.
Potato “eyes” or sprouts, as well as any green skin or flesh, are likely to contain a toxin called solanine. But solanine can also be found in parts of the potato that aren’t green.
Solanine may be found in potatoes that are:
- picked too early
- exposed to light
- stored someplace too cold, like the fridge
When eaten, solanine may cause:
- abdominal pain
Solanine can be found in other foods too, like tomatoes and eggplants. Eating a very large amount of the toxin can cause more severe symptoms and even death, in very rare cases. But there’s
Fortunately, peeling and cooking potatoes tends to reduce the amount of toxin in the food.
Many of these nutrients are
Beyond being nutritious, simple to prepare, and affordable, potatoes may have more surprising advantages. They are also a source of resistant starch, a substance that helps your body control blood sugar levels.
Keep in mind that potatoes contain more sodium or saturated fat when cooking with salts and oils, like french fries. One serving (170 grams) of restaurant-style french fries
Because nothing beats a homestyle staple, try this take on roast potatoes.
If you need a boost of vitamin C, bell peppers are a great choice. One green pepper contains
Bell peppers are one of the most versatile snacks in the nightshade family. You can slice them up and dip them in hummus, add them to a stir fry, or try making this bell pepper farro salad.
Hot peppers may be nightshades, but like the sun they can bring some heat. And if your tongue can endure the burn, these fiery devils contain good nutrients.
Common hot peppers — like jalapenos, serrano peppers, and red or green chilies — are good sources of vitamin C and vitamin A.
Capsaicin, what helps give spicy peppers their kick, has been shown to decrease inflammation, which can help people with joint disorders walk with less pain.
If you want something sweet with your spice, try making these chili-chocolate dipped cherries.
Eggplant is a
Because of their meaty texture when cooked, they’re popular among vegetarians — think eggplant parmesan — as well as with vegans.
Whip together this curried okra and eggplant to try something with a bit of Mediterranean flair.
While not as nutritiously plentiful as your garden-variety red tomato, they contain small amounts of antioxidants and can help you sneak some extra fiber into your diet without adding in many extra calories. They are also a
Check out a healthy tomatillo salsa or better yet a roasted tomatillo chicken rice bowl packed with protein and fiber.
To find fresh goji berries, you’ll have to visit a Chinese farm. But they’re also typically found at specialty food stores in dried form, sometimes labeled as wolfberries.
Dried goji berries
If you’re trying them for the first time, know that it’s possible to be allergic to them. You’ll want to stop eating them if you develop a rash or become ill.
To get more beneficial nightshades in your diet, try adding goji berries into this double berry cobbler.
Blueberries are not technically a nightshade plant. But, like nightshades, they contain some solanine.
Blueberries have been called a “superfood” because they contain antioxidant compounds.
According to researchers, evidence from recent studies show that blueberries contain flavonoids, specifically one called anthocyanin, that’s directly associated with cognitive benefits.
With that in mind, blueberries are thought to reduce risks for inflammatory diseases such as
A cup of blueberries is a
For a healthy morning burst of blueberry bliss, try this blueberry and spinach smoothie.