What's the deal with Nightshades for Lupus?

"Eliminate nightshades! It eliminated all my problems!" If you've ever posted on an autoimmune online group, it's very likely someone has commented or posted this. While that may be true for some people with autoimmune diseases, just like everything you read on the internet - it may not apply to everyone.

First things first, What are nightshades?

Nightshades are a type of plant from the family Solanaceae. The nightshade family includes many edible and many poisonous plants, including the "deadly nightshade" aka "belladonna" which is often mentioned as a poison in many books/movies.

Here’s a very comprehensive list of nightshades we commonly eat, I put in bold the examples that may be most familiar:

  • Ashwagandha

  • Bell peppers (or sweet peppers) - any color - red, yellow, orange, green (all the same, the color is just a reflection of the ripeness)

  • Bush tomato

  • Cape gooseberry (or ground cherries, these are NOT the same as regular cherries)

  • Cocona

  • Eggplant

  • Garden huckleberry (these are NOT the same as regular huckleberries)

  • Goji berries (or wolfberry)

  • Hot peppers (like chili peppers, jalapenos, habaneros, chili-based spices, red pepper, cayenne)

  • Kutjera

  • Naranjillas

  • Paprika

  • Pepinos (or melon pear)

  • Pimentos

  • Potatoes (there are hundreds of potato varieties that are in the nightshade family and you are probably most familiar with a white potato) - NOT sweet potato or purple potato - these are from a different family

  • Tamarillos

  • Tomatillos

  • Tomatoes

  • Tobacco! obviously not edible but still really toxic for us in the form of cigarettes, chewing tobacco, cigars, etc. - also smoking can reduce the efficacy of hydroxychloroquine

Can you find the nightshades in the picture below?

Be careful with spice mixes as many spice mixes often include paprika, chili powder, and cayenne.

These are NOT nightshades but some lists on the internet include them as nightshades:

  • Artichokes

  • Blueberries

  • Huckleberries

  • Okra

  • Sweet Potatoes