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Is there a link between nightshade vegetables and lupus?


Updated February 11, 2009

Question: Is there a link between nightshade vegetables and lupus?

Despite the ominous name, nightshade vegetables (those in the nightshade family) are fairly common. They include white potatoes, sweet and hot peppers, tomatoes, pimientos, cayenne, eggplant, tomatillos (green, small fruit often found in salsa), tamarillos (a plum-like fruit from Peru), pepinos (purple, egg-shaped fruit from Peru), and paprika. These vegetables /fruits contain glycoalkaloids, a natural defense against disease, insects and predators.

There is no scientific evidence that nightshade vegetables can worsen lupus. Lupus activity and flares are very individualized. If you think you have a problem with nightshades in relation to your lupus or think they may have a connection to your lupus flares, mention this to your rheumatologist and see what he suggests. He may tell you to eliminate these vegetables from your diet and track your reaction when you are not eating them.

Again, lupus activity varies from person to person. Always check with your doctor when you think something is affecting your disease.


Stopping Inflammation: Relieving the Cause of Degenerative Diseases. Nancy Appleton, PhD. Square One Publishers, 2005.

Nightshade vegetables. The George Matljan Foundation. January 2009.

Healthy Eating and Weight Management & Lupus. Chat Transcript for Dr. Laura Coleman. Lupus Foundation of America. March 2008.

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