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Nightshades, a large family of plants that include such kitchen staples as tomatoes, peppers, potatoes and paprika, are a dietary issue for some people. Wild Zora will soon offer TWO delicious nightshade-free snacks.
Nightshades are blamed for increased inflammation and a host of other medical issues, such as migraines, GI tract irritation, and arthritis flare-ups, among others.
The culprit is a group of alkaloids these plants contain. One of them, called solanine, impacts metabolism of neurotransmitters which means it can negatively affect your nervous system if it builds up in your body. That certainly sounds scary, but remember that many nightshades, like peppers and tomatoes, are full of vitamin C and other antioxidants. Furthermore, ripe nightshade fruits and vegetables contain only traces of alkaloids and won't affect most people.
Artichokes, cherries, huckleberries and blueberries don't belong to the nightshade family, but they also contain solanine.
At this point, there are no major scientific studies on the effects of nightshades. Anecdotal evidence has linked nightshade consumption to rheumatoid arthritis in certain people, however there are also many people who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis, but nightshades don’t seem to have any impact on them. It has been suggested that some people are more sensitive to alkaloids than others.
Some can also have an allergic reaction to nightshades. The reactions can vary from a rash to anaphylaxis. The nightshade allergy is rather rare, so is not considered a common allergen.
How do you find out if nightshades cause your painful arthritis flare-ups or leaky gut?
1. Start by keeping a food journal. Check labels carefully and ask questions when you eat at a restaurant. Don't forget to write down any medications, vitamins and supplements you take. Note all the symptoms you experience.
2. Try to avoid nightshades for at least two weeks. This can be tricky, because nightshades are common ingredients in many foods. Be careful with spice mixes and store-bought salad dressings, as they often contain paprika or cayenne pepper.
3. Share your food journal with your doctor. The information you gathered will help you both determine whether nightshades are the culprit behind your condition.
Eating a nightshade-free diet can be challenging, but it's not impossible, and Wild Zora is here to help: our Mediterranean Lamb bar is our nightshade-free flavor available now, and we are adding a new nightshade-free Apple Pork flavor, which can be purchased first through Kickstarter through April, 2017.
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