Should I Avoid Nightshades?


With the TB12 book coming out a few weeks ago, I’ve had quite a few questions about the claims that he makes in the book. One of claims Tom Brady makes is that he avoid nightshade vegetables to reduce inflammation. I did some research, and here is what I found.

Nightshades are a group of vegetables that are in the Solanceae family of plants. The Latin name stems from the plants’ production of the compound solanine, which is toxic to insects and thus acts as a defense system for the plants. Although many nightshades are inedible, like tobacco for instance, there are a few that are staples in most people’s diets including potatoes, eggplant, tomatoes, and peppers (including spices made from peppers like paprika and red pepper flakes).

After reviewing the research, I can firmly say that there is no need for the general population to avoid nightshades. There is very little research on the topic, and the research that does point to nightshades being harmful is flawed. The studies either fed an outrageous amount of solanine to the mice in the study (one study replaced 2/3 of mice’s diets with green potatoes), or straight out failed to prove a cause-and-effect relationship by basing their results on surveys or anecdotal evidence.

There is some evidence that a small amount of people may have a sensitivity to solanine which could cause inflammation if ingested. I can’t say if this is the case for Tom Brady or not, but just because it may be an issue for some doesn’t mean you should avoid these vegetables. If you do, you’ll be missing out on beneficial compounds including a variety of antioxidants like vitamin C and lycopene which have been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects!

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