Gardening

Properties and benefits of nightshades

Many people ask whether nightshades are poisonous or not and whether they are edible. It is a group of flowering plants that are both deciduous and perennial. In this family of plants there are different types of trees, shrubs and even aromatic herbs. The doubt of many people is that when they see the scientific name they think more times about the fact that if these plants are edible or can become poisonous.

In this article we are going to disprove some myths and tell you everything about nightshades, their properties and cultivation. Do you want to learn more and get out of doubt? Keep reading.

What are nightshades

Within this family of plants we find tomatoes, Goji berries, peppers and aubergines among many more. Now is when the doubt is solving something, right? And it is that when we use the scientific name of the plants doubts can arise when seeing that they do not agree with the common names. For those who do not know the scientific nomenclature, that name in Latin does not provide any information.

In the nightshade we find numerous benefits and other contraindications that come from their alkaloid content. That is, a chemical compound that has a high nitrogen content. Various studies have been carried out on these alkaloids and it has been concluded that they may have applications in the field of pharmaceuticals against malaria or to treat cancer.

There are four types of alkaloids present in Solanaceae. The most common are steroids such as solanine in potatoes and tomatine in tomatoes. There are many people who have ever told you not to eat a potato that has already germinated. The reason is because there is a high content of glycoalkaloids in the parts where the outbreak is emerging and consumption can cause some health problems.

Apart from this mentioned, there are many nutritional benefits that nightshades provide us in our diet. Now yes, the doubts that the nightshade are poisonous or dangerous for health arises as a result of maintaining them at home. For example, if the potatoes are left in the sun, the concentration of these glycoalkaloids increases up to 4 times and can be toxic. Therefore, it is always said that we have to keep the potatoes in a dark place in a closet.

Potatoes and tomatoes

The concentration of alkaloids is lower when they have been cooked. The bad reputation spreads as soon as something negative is told about certain foods. For example, there have been many controversies about the consumption of palm oil, when it has existed for a lifetime. Obviously, its habitual consumption can be negative, but if it is done responsibly and at certain times, we can eat products with palm oil. The dose is what the poison makes. However, while many people feared palm oil, many of those who do smoke regularly and are killing themselves for it.

This is why the alkaloids contained in nightshades has raised the alarm in many places. You have to be calm. The concentration of these alkaloids is very low and even less when food is cooked. As long as you don’t eat a potato that is germinated and exposed to direct sun, nothing will happen to you.

Potatoes have a great contribution of energy based on complex carbohydrates, are low in fat and rich in vitamin B. It also has some minerals such as magnesium, potassium and phosphorus. For this reason, the potato, which belongs to the Solanaceae family, is a good food to consume without any fear of alkaloids.

Tomatoes have numerous varieties between species. They are used in salads, soups, sauces and juices. Tomatoes are really healthy since they provide us with vitamins A, K and C, as well as beta-carotenes, xanthines and lutein.

Peppers and aubergines

Peppers also belong to Solanaceae in all its varieties. They are very beneficial for health due to their high content of vitamin B. This vitamin is the one that participates in the metabolism processes that help us obtain energy through food.

It is also good for its contribution of vitamin E that serves to keep our hair with better quality and that our skin is young. In particular, red peppers are rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatories. They have a compound that is used to give peppers their spicy flavor and is used in the industry to make pain and anti-inflammatory creams.

As for the aubergines, they have a great contribution of fiber and vitamins of group B. It has the B5, B6, B1 and B3. Goji berries are excellent for their antioxidant properties and with their high content of vitamin C and the presence of the 8 essential amino acids make it a rich food.

Solanaceae should be eaten

After all the benefits mentioned, there may still be people who think about the risk they can take. You have to know that nightshades are very nutritious and basic foods in many diets. For example, potatoes and tomatoes are the basis of many foods here in Spain.

It is not recommended for some people who suffer from arthritis or have a problem with their immune system that can make their symptoms worse when consuming nightshades. Only in these cases is it not advisable to consume this type of food because it worsens the conditions in which we find ourselves.

Finally, you have to think that all foods, whatever they are, have their pros and cons compared to a varied and healthy diet. There will be foods that, depending on the health conditions of each one, will be better for you and others that will be worse. However, you should not call a food poisonous or dangerous without first knowing more about it and getting to know it closely. Give these nutritious nightshades a try.

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