Thank you so much for all the lovely comments and support from my article in the Sunday Express Magazine. I have been truly touched by all those getting in touch that have Lyme Disease as well as those just thanking me for raising awareness and several people asking for help.
We will all find our way out of this!
Since my last blog I have been experimenting on myself with food to work out why my pain level had gone up and I am pleased to say I have cracked the code! It is a small advancement, but a positive one.
Nightshade fruits and vegetables belong to the family of Solanaceae plants. Some people have a sensitivity to them, and if so it can cause a number of things such as diarrhea, gas, bloating, nausea, painful joints, headaches and depression.
Quite a list of ways to feel dreadful and it seems that the increase in pain in my joints and headaches are partially related to nightshade.
I had increased my intake of potatoes, peppers and tomatoes and on reflection that is when my pain level shot up. Having taken them back out, it has helped to reduce the pain a bit.
The naughty list
If some of you are experiencing discomfort, give this list consideration:
- Potatoes – including white, red, yellow and blue-skinned varieties. The good news is that sweet potatoes and yams are not in the nightshade group, so make a switch and save yourself some pain!
- Tomatoes – call them a vegetable or a fruit, but they are on the list. Stay away from raw tomatoes and those pre-cooked in to a tomato sauce or ketchup.
- Peppers – this also includes bell peppers, jalapenos, habaneros, cayenne and paprika.
- Tomatillos – often found in Mexican food.
- Goji berries – including garden huckleberries, ground cherries and cape gooseberries. Thankfully not normal gooseberries or blueberries!!
The technical bit
There are plenty of things written about why nightshade veg and fruit have a disruptive effect.
Essentially, nightshade plants produce a pesticide called Glycoalkaloids, which essentially is there to defend the plant against fungi, viruses and insects.
Glycoalkaloids are known to be anti-inflammatory but they do also have numerous damaging effects in too high a quantity. There is research that outlines that they can damage the red blood cells and the central nervous system.
They contain various things including alkaloids, which cause inflammation and also block important enzymes in nerve cells, which can result in joint stiffness and pain.
I am still working my way through everything. There is so much conflicting information out there around food as to what is helpful and what isn’t.
The tricky thing with it all and the advice on various diets, is that one size doesn’t fit all. We are all so individual. Our bodies and immune systems are in different states and those of us with Lyme have other co-infections so don’t just have one thing wrong to contend with.
So it is a complex process. One I continue to work through.
If you have Lyme or any other issues, I would encourage you to consider what you are eating and the impact it might be having.