How to Make Nightshades More Digestible



Excessive in an antioxidant phytochemical referred to as lycopene, tomatoes help your pores and skin, eyes, and cardiovascular system and have ­anticancer properties. They’re additionally a bountiful supply of the immune-system-supporting vitamins quercetin, lutein, and nutritional vitamins A, C, and E.

Optimize: The seeds and skins present about 50 % of tomatoes’ vitamin C and lycopene. Until you’re coping with particular autoimmune challenges, you’ll be able to get pleasure from tomatoes contemporary. Lengthy-simmering tomato sauce can triple tomatoes’ lycopene content material, making this one meals that’s much more nutritious when cooked.

Mitigate: To cut back alkaloids which will irritate a delicate immune system, take away the seeds and pores and skin, and pressure-cook tomatoes. (Or just prepare dinner them down.) Many individuals with autoimmunity discover they’ll tolerate tomatoes this manner.

Swap: For those who’re avoiding tomatoes, attempt utilizing a unique acidic fruit in salads, akin to grapefruit. For one thing candy and colourful in salsas and sauces, contemplate beets. You’ll be able to all the time add slightly lemon or vinegar to offer acid the place wanted.


Candy bell peppers, in addition to spicy cayenne peppers and different chili peppers, belong to the nightshade household. (The black-pepper plant isn’t a nightshade.) A few of the most nutrient-dense meals accessible, bell peppers ship nutritional vitamins C, Ok, and B6, in addition to folic acid and a number of phytochemicals. Capsaicin, the identical compound in chili peppers that brings the warmth, is an efficient ache reliever and gives cardiovascular advantages.

Optimize: Get pleasure from peppers uncooked, roasted, or sautéed. Consuming bell peppers uncooked preserves their vitamin C, however some analysis means that cooking might enhance their antioxidant advantages.

Mitigate: To cut back alkaloid content material, take away the seeds. Conventionally grown bell and scorching peppers might include regarding ranges of organophosphate pesticides, based on the Environmental Working Group, so purchase natural when you’ll be able to.

Swap: Strive carrots, cucumbers, and celery for different colourful, crunchy snacks. It’s arduous to copy the warmth of spicy peppers, however you’ll be able to swap in different daring components, akin to olives, vinegar, and citrus zest.


French fries apart, potatoes have loads to supply when it comes to vitamin. Notice that candy potatoes and yams will not be nightshades. (For extra, see “The Well being Advantages of Consuming Potatoes“.)

Optimize: When potatoes are cooked and allowed to chill, their starch transforms into resistant starch, a type of carbohydrate that nourishes the useful micro organism in your intestine.

Mitigate: Purchase natural every time you’ll be able to. Conventionally grown potatoes are sprayed with fungicides and pesticides and handled with sprout inhibitors throughout storage. You’ll be able to remove as much as 70 % of poisonous residue, and considerably cut back alkaloid content material, by peeling them. (The alkaloids are concentrated within the pores and skin.)

On that be aware, keep away from consuming potatoes which have began to show inexperienced; that colour is brought on by growing alkaloids within the pores and skin, which will increase their bitterness and may trigger abdomen upset.

Swap: It’s surprisingly straightforward to swap in different root veggies, akin to candy potatoes, turnips, parsnips, and celeriac, in addition to cauliflower, in recipes and as sides.


Underappreciated in the US, varied eggplant varieties are staples in Asian and Mediterranean cuisines. They’re an important supply of fiber, and the shiny purple pores and skin incorporates cancer-fighting antioxidants referred to as anthocyanins.

Optimize: As a result of the deeply hued pores and skin of purple eggplant is such a wealthy supply of vitamins, search for varieties with skinny and tender pores and skin; some varieties have unappetizing more durable skins.

Mitigate: Alkaloids in eggplants are what trigger the bitter taste; search for sweeter varieties akin to Chinese language, Japanese, or Thai.

Brisker eggplants are sometimes much less bitter as properly. Salting, whereas masking the bitterness of eggplants, doesn’t take away the alkaloids. Cooking might diminish solanine’s toxicity.

Swap: For a silken texture that resembles that of eggplant, attempt portobello mushrooms or thick-sliced zucchini or different summer season squash.

Relying on the recipe, root greens, akin to rutabagas, turnips, and celeriac can even make good substitutes for eggplant. (Nonetheless skeptical? Do that recipe for Baba Ghanoush the place you roast the eggplant which supplies it a nutty taste.)

This was excerpted from “The best way to Navigate Nightshade Meals” which was printed within the July/August 2022 concern of Expertise Life.