Arthritis is a term used to describe a variety of different joint pain and joint degeneration. Symptoms of arthritis can include swelling and inflammation, joint stiffness, pain that becomes worse with time and a decrease in the body’s range of motion. Arthritis can cause simple daily activities to be excruciating. Oftentimes those who suffer from arthritis can find basic tasks such as buttoning a shirt or standing in a line up for a period of time difficult and very painful.

Arthritis is not uncommon. Millions of people are diagnosed with arthritis every year. While arthritis is most prevalent in the aging population, arthritis can affect anyone from males to females, adults and children, young and old alike.

Over-the-counter medications such as Advil and Tylenol, in combination with regular physical activity are widely used to combat the symptoms of arthritis. In severe cases, specifically designed interventional procedures and even surgery can be necessary in order to manage arthritis.

Diet is closely linked to health. We are encouraged to maintain an active lifestyle in combination with a diet rich in vitamins and nutrients. Fresh fruit and vegetable contribute greatly to our daily vitamin intake. However there exists a category of foods that, similar to dairy and refined sugars, are thought actually aggravate the symptoms of arthritis, specifically the body’s inflammatory response.

This category of fruits and vegetables is called “Nightshade Foods”. While more research is still needed with regard to the relationship between nightshades and arthritis, the theory is that nightshade food have the potential to work against those dealing with arthritis.

Large quantities of people living with some form of inflammatory arthritis have reported worsening arthritis symptoms after the consumption of nightshade fruits and vegetables. Nightshade foods such as potatoes, peppers and tomatoes share certain characteristics which are thought to be related to the aggravation of arthritis symptoms.

The largest similarity in all nightshade fruits and vegetables that may have an affect on arthritis is something called alkaloids. Alkaloids are an organic compound found in nightshade vegetables that are thought to have inflammatory properties, therefore making arthritis symptoms worse.

Although research is still needed to understand what the possible link is between nightshades and arthritis symptoms, the anecdotal evidence is overwhelming. The fact of the matter is that most nightshade fruits and vegetables are very high in both vitamin A and C which happen to be essential vitamins, especially for those who are suffering from arthritis.

If you feel that the pain in your joints worsens after consuming nightshade foods such as eggplants, tomatoes, hot peppers and potatoes, try keeping a food diary rather that eliminating foods that are high in vitamins and nutrients. Keeping track of the foods you put into your body while noting the changes to your symptoms day to day is an excellent way to understand how your body responds to nightshade foods.