Nightshades can cause issues with inflammation, digestive problems, autoimmunity, and leaky gut. People who are sensitive to the anti-nutrients in nightshades can experience:

  • Irritable bowels
  • Diarrhea
  • Heartburn
  • Nerve problems
  • Joint pain
  • Arthritis
  • Swelling in the joints
  • Acid reflux
  • Heartburn
  • Itching
  • Leaky gut
  • Autoimmunity or chronic conditions

While it can be hard to diagnose some aspects of nightshade problems specifically, they are best found when eliminating all nightshades from the diet for at least 30 days to determine if you feel better without eating nightshades. Adding them back in, one at a time, can help to identify if one nightshade is a problem, or if the whole family of veggies causes symptoms to return.

Some of the most common keto-friendly nightshades that you may need to avoid are:

  • Tomatoes
  • Eggplant
  • Okra
  • Peppers
  • Tomatillos
  • Sorrel
  • Tobacco
  • Paprika
  • Cayenne pepper

But how are you supposed to eliminate nightshades from your diet if so many keto recipes have tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant in them?

You can either skip those recipes or use some of these substitutions:

  • For Tomatoes — In certain dishes, strawberries or strawberry sauce can swap the acidic, slightly sweet profile of tomatoes. Pumpkin and squash-based sauces can replace tomato sauce for pasta-based dishes.
  • For Bell Peppers — While not the same flavor profile, celery and cucumbers can sub in for the crispy deliciousness that bell peppers provide in some dishes. Radishes, when used in cooked dishes, can provide the mild peppery flavor that red and green bell peppers are known for. Zucchini and carrots can also stand in for bell peppers if you are craving their crispiness.
  • For Chili and Cayenne Pepper — Black and white pepper, confusingly enough, come from a different plant and aren’t nightshades. Use these, along with turmeric, cumin, cloves, and ginger, to add a kick to dishes that you want to keep nightshade-free. Onion and garlic powder are flavorful additions that you can try as well. If you need to replace nightshade-based sauces, you can try fish sauce, coconut aminos, or oyster sauce.
  • For Eggplant — Portobello mushroom caps can substitute for eggplants in baked dishes. For keto eggplant noodle recipes, try using zucchini noodles or shirataki noodles instead.

With all of these substitutions, make sure you are tracking the calories and carbs they add to your diet. Some of these alternatives contain more carbs than you think. To read more about nightshades and keto, click here >

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