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Dr Russ Blog - Are Nightshade Vegetables Bad for Arthritis?
Are Nightshade Vegetables Bad for Arthritis?
Created on 9/14/2010

P writes in with a question about nightshade vegetables, specifically whether or not they worsen arthritis symptoms when eaten.

This caution about nightshades (chiles, potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant and peppers) in the setting of arthritis has been handed down for generations. The good news is that there is no identifiable scientific data to suggest that nightshades need to be avoided if you have arthritis.

That stated, it's important to keep in mind that each of us is quite different from one another, and some people might be sensitive to specific foods, including nightshades. That sensitivity might manifest as pain in the instance of arthritis.

If you notice that a specific food makes you feel worse, it's possible you are sensitive to that food and should lessen your intake of it. A food sensitivity can induce a slight functional change in the body and is different from a true food allergy, however, where the immune system is activated in response to exposure to a specific food allergen.

P noted that she has rheumatoid arthritis, an automimmune disorder, not osteoarthritis which typically occurs from overuse. I recommend following an anti-inflammatory diet for any autoimmune and inflammatory disorder, one that focuses on healthy fats like those found in cold water fish and walnuts; healthy oils such as extra virgin olive oil; plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables; and avoidance of foods and food substances that might increase inflammation in the body such as partially hydrogenated oils and trans fat, fried foods, highly processed products, and rapidly digesting carbohydrates.

The symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis often respond to other measures aimed at decreasing inflammation including mindfulness meditation, gentle yoga therapy, and acupuncture. Sometimes the use of select anti-inflammatory supplements also helps, but it's best to speak with your doctor about them first because of the potential for interaction with your medications.

I hope this helps, P, and that you enjoy your nightshade vegetables again!
Be well.
Dr. Russ

** Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment. **

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