Author Topic: Tomatoes and hot peppers contain nicotine!?  (Read 17086 times)

Offline JWSthe3rd

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Tomatoes and hot peppers contain nicotine!?
« on: January 06, 2009, 04:58:49 PM »
I found this really neat article on a site that promotes a brand called Nomato. I found it very intriguing and wanted to share it with you all. I will certainly be eliminating tomatoes and peppers from my diet next, especially since I am an ex-smoker!

Nightshade foods and human health

An information sheet from NOMATO - the world's only tomato-free range of sauces and ready meals. Fully organic, too.

In the diet of Europe and Asia only one nightshade food was eaten until recent times: the aubergine or eggplant. Other nightshades such as henbane, thorn apple (datura stramonium), belladonna and mandrake were well known but their use was restricted to specific medical applications (sedative, anesthetic or poison) or in witchcraft.


Then, in the 1600s and 1700s food and drug crops based on nightshades were imported from the Americas and for the past 400 years have penetrated and become ubiquitous in the Western diet. These include tobacco, tomatoes, potatoes and chili peppers. It is not surprising that these novel foods, being nightshades, were regarded with suspicion at first and were slow to take hold in the European diet. They all contain solanine in some form, named as solanine (potatoes), tomatine (tomatoes), alpha-solanine (aubergine) or solanadine (chillies and capsicums). They also contain nicotine in small amounts. Nicotine has a synergistic action with solanine--it stimulates the production of acetylcholine.


It is now apparent that there are groups of people who cannot tolerate nightshades in their diets, wish to avoid them anyway or find that eliminating them helps alleviate a variety of mental, emotional and physical problems. The following groups of people avoid nightshades.


1. PEOPLE WITH ARTHRITIS - Some researchers believe that arthritis is misdiagnosed in people who are in fact just suffering joint aches and swelling arising from consumption of nightshades. One in three arthritics react badly to nightshades. These individuals frequently have a sensitivity to the solanine chemicals present in these foods. It can take up to six months of exclusion of nightshades from the diet to achieve a beneficial effect. Lupus and Still’s disease are also associated with tomato consumption.


2. MACROBIOTICS - since the 1960s, the macrobiotic diet has recommended avoidance of all nightshades. This proven diet for health and longevity is followed by celebrities such as Sadie Frost, Gwyneth Paltrow, Chris Martin of Coldplay and Madonna.


3. CHILDREN WITH ECZEMA – for some children the elimination of nightshades from the diet helps clear eczema, particularly around the mouth.


4. GASTRO ESOPHOGAL REFLUX DISEASE – consumption of nightshade vegetables, particularly tomatoes, can causes a reaction where the stomach contents are pushed back up the esophagus towards the throat with symptoms of heartburn, chest pain, choking while lying down and asthma symptoms when sleeping.


5. THOSE QUITTING SMOKING – some programmes to help people give up cigarettes also recommend giving up nightshade foods in order to completely eliminate low level nicotine intake and consequent re-addiction.


6. BLOOD GROUP DIET – Dr. Peter d’Adamo’s Blood Type Diet recommends people of blood types A and B to avoid all nightshade foods. This represents about half the population of most European countries.


7. CYSTITIS, LUPUS, PSORIASIS– giving up nightshades can help relieve symptoms of cystitis, lupus and psoriasis.

What are the Nightshade foods? How do they differ from each other? What are their origins?

TOBACCO
- The most powerful source of the nicotine alkaloid found in all nightshades became a popular drug in the early part of the 1900s, when mass produced cigarettes made them available to the expanding urban societies. Although the nicotine content of tobacco is much higher than that found in nightshade vegetables which are eaten, the practise of smoking reduces the amount of nicotine absorbed. The nicotine in a single cigarette, if taken direct into the bloodstream, would be fatal. Eating a single cigarette could cause severe illness. There are several instances of livestock poisoning where cattle or sheep have eaten nightshade plant leaves.


TOMATOES
- Tomatoes were first brought to Europe from Mexico by Cortez and were first cultivated for food in Naples. The English regarded them as poisonous until the 1700s. They were introduced in America as an ornamental garden plant in 1808, but were not eaten as they were believed to cause stomach cancer and appendicitis. The botanical name for tomatoes ‘Lycopersicon’ means ‘wolf peach’ and refers to the association between werewolves, witchcraft and nightshades. Then, in 1820, Colonel Robert Johnson defied the advice of his physicians (“You will foam and froth at the mouth and double over”) and ate tomatoes on the steps of Salem Courthouse, New Jersey, in front of a crowd of 2000 witnesses, the local sheriff waiting to arrest him for suicide. He survived and people began slowly to accept tomatoes as food. In the US and Northern Europe they really took off as food with the introduction of canning and canned soups and then rose again with the expansion of consumption of pizza and pasta in the past 30 years.


POTATOES
- Potatoes were elevated in status when the celebrated Parmentier produced a galaxy of delicious potato recipes in 1785 to help relieve famine in Paris. Potatoes were cheap food for the masses - a peasant or worker could be fed from a quarter as much land if they ate potatoes instead of grain. Nonetheless, the French Revolution took place 4 years later. The Paris Commune declared potatoes ‘Revolutionary food’ while English landlords made them compulsory on their Irish estates.
- Traditionally potatoes were kept in paper sacks and sold unwashed. This practice protected them from direct sunlight. The modern practice of washing potatoes and packing them in plastic bags allows light to affect the potato and stimulate its production of solanine, the nightshade alkaloid that, in nature, sickens animals that might dig up potatoes for food. In 1976 the Department of Health, concerned about high levels of anencephaly and spina bifida, urged pregnant mothers to wear rubber gloves when preparing potatoes and to discard in their entirety any potatoes that showed signs of greening or of blight (black streaks in the potato) It is not enough to simply remove the discoloured part - the entire potato should not be eaten. The solanine in potatoes is 4 times greater in the skin than in the rest of the potato. The fatal dose of solanine for an adult is 200-250 mg depending on body weight. Potatoes should not contain more than 20 mg of solanine per 100g, so it would take at least 1 Kg of potatoes (2.2 lbs) to be fatal. Potato peels have been found to contain up to 180 mg of solanine per 100g, so a person consuming 150-200g of deep fried potato peels with a high solanine content could be at considerable risk. Potatoes that have been properly stored and are from low solanine varieties will only contain 7 mg/100g. In 1996 the Committee on Toxicity stated that potatoes should not be eaten if they still taste bitter after the green parts and sprouts have been removed. However, few people taste-test a raw potato once it is peeled to assess its bitterness. Although spina bifida prevention now focuses on preconceptual consumption of folic acid, the world’s highest incidence of spina bifida is in Ireland, where the wet climate encourages late potato blight. A study in Belfast showed that mothers who had given birth to a child with spina bifida or anencephaly could reduce the risk of a similar defect in the second child by 50% if they maintained a potato-free diet.


PEPPERS AND CAPSICUMS
- Peppers and capsicums were rare in the Western diet until the 1980s, when they became widely available as fresh vegetables and, in their hotter forms, in Asian cuisine and as hot sauce. Chillis replaced peppercorns in Indian cuisine from the 1650s onwards, after Portuguese traders brought plants and seeds from Brazil. Hot peppers are rich in capsaicin, which creates a burning sensation that affects pain receptor cells and causes them to release endorphins, the body’s natural opiate-like painkillers, that create a temporary feeling of euphoria. Peppers and capsicums also contain solanine and solanadine, the nicotine compounds that are unique to nightshade plants.


AUBERGINES
- Aubergines or eggplants most resemble in appearance the belladonna nightshade plant that may be their wild ancestor.


So what is solanine, the active alkaloid in nightshades? What are its effects? Solanine acts as an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor.

WHAT ARE ACETYLCHOLINESTERASE INHIBITORS?


• The chemical that transmits nerve impulses from one nerve ending to the next is acetylcholine - once it has transmitted a nerve impulse it has done its job and is no longer needed so it is broken down by an enzyme called acetylcholinesterase and recycled.
• Solanine (or tomatine from tomatoes) slows the production of this acetylcholinesterase, so acetylcholine isn't broken down as fast as it's being produced.
• Acetylcholine builds up causing a 'traffic jam' of stimulation at the receptor nerve endings.
• The nerve endings become overstimulated
• This overstimulation can lead to muscle weakness, muscle twitching, hypertension, increased intestinal contractions and increased secretions of tear, sweat, saliva, gastric and intestinal glands.
• All nightshade foods contain solanine, a strong acetylcholinesterase inhibitor. This is what makes excessive consumption of nightshade foods unsuitable for many people.


Certain pesticides, particularly organophosphate and carbamates, work as acetylcholinesterase inhibitors, achieving the same effect as solanine.


For a diet that seeks to maintain a strong and healthy nervous and neuromuscular system there is considerable evidence that the safest approach is to avoid nightshade vegetables and to eat food that is grown without the use of carbamate or organophosphate pesticides, i.e. organic food. Before the discovery of chemical pesticides, nicotine was a widely used insecticide. It kills insects in the same way, but chemical sprays are cheaper and longer-lasting. Until they were replaced by hormones and antibiotics, organophosphate pesticides were also used by livestock farmers as growth-promoters - the mechanism whereby they cause muscle weakness and increase secretions of digestive fluids also causes animals to exercise less and eat more, thereby fattening them up more quickly.


WHY DO PEOPLE LOVE NIGHTSHADES?


What is it that makes tobacco so addictive? Why is it that sometimes only chips will do, or we are gagging for a pizza? Solanine, by inhibiting the breakdown of acetylcholine, stimulates increased activity of the acetylcholine receptors in the brain and this leads to increased flow of adrenaline. This increases the heart rate, blood pressure and leads to increased blood glucose levels. This mild increase in energy level is achieved, along with a reduced nervous sensitivity; producing a combination of calmness and stimulation. This provides short term relief in the face of the stresses and pressures of modern life. In the longer term it puts a strain on the nervous system as the receptors are being overstimulated.


WHY DON'T WE EAT TOBACCO?


The leaves of all nightshades contain high levels of nicotine. One could, at a pinch, smoke potato or tomato leaves. A potent insecticide can be made with tomato leaves. The levels of nicotine in the leaves of nightshade plants are much higher than in nightshade fruits or tubers. 8-10 cigarettes, if eaten, would be enough to kill a person. First time smokers experience dreadful nausea but gradually develop a resistance to the effects of nicotine and this is how addiction develops – more and more is needed to satisfy the craving.

WHY ARE NIGHTSHADES LEGAL?

If the nightshade foods were to be introduced to the Western diet today, under current Novel Foods regulations they would have to be tested for safety. It is unlikely that they would be permitted to enter the food supply, solely because of their solanine and nicotine content. However, like cigarettes, they slipped into our diet despite some voices in opposition and have assumed a major role in our nutrition and health, a role that, in a free society, should be accepted. However, moderation in all things is a worthy principle and it could be argued that, in our diet we have perhaps gone too far down the road of nightshade acceptance.
Nomato products enable all consumers, not just those with particular problems with tomatoes, an opportunity to enjoy foods like ketchup, pasta sauce, tomato soup, vegetarian chilli and baked beans without exposing themselves to solanine alkaloids or trace levels of nicotine found in tomatoes and other nightshades.


Bon appetit!

Offline paleoeat

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Re: Tomatoes and hot peppers contain nicotine!?
« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2009, 08:34:50 AM »
so eggplant is old world food although it is in the night shade family?? does it mean it is "a Paleo food" ?


Offline JWSthe3rd

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Re: Tomatoes and hot peppers contain nicotine!?
« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2009, 05:52:10 PM »
I found this information about the history of the eggplant on Wikipedia.

Eggplant is native to India. It has been cultivated in southern and eastern Asia since prehistory[citation needed] but appears to have become known to the Western world no earlier than ca. 1500 CE. The first known written record of the eggplant is found in Qí mín yào shù, an ancient Chinese agricultural treatise completed in 544 CE. The numerous Arabic and North African names for it, along with the lack of ancient Greek and Roman names, indicate that it was introduced throughout the Mediterranean area by the Arabs in the early Middle Ages. The scientific name Solanum melongena is derived from a 16th century Arabic term for one type of eggplant.

The name eggplant developed in the United States, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada because the fruits of some 18th century European cultivars were yellow or green and resembled chicken or hen's eggs. The name aubergine in British English developed from the French aubergine (as derived from Catalan albergínia, from Arabic al-badinjan, from Persian badin-gan, from Sanskrit vatin-ganah). In Indian and South African English, the fruit is known as a "brinjal." Aubergine and brinjal, with their distinctive br-jn or brn-jl aspects, derive from Arabic and Sanskrit. In the caribbean Trinidad, it also goes by the Latin derivative "melinloongen".

Because of the eggplant's relationship with the Solanaceae (nightshade) family, it was at one time believed to be extremely dangerous. While it can be eaten by most people without ill effect, for some, consuming eggplant as well as other edible nightshade plants (tomato, potato, and capsicum/peppers) can be harmful. Some eggplants are bitter, and can irritate the stomach lining, causing gastritis. Some sources, particularly in the natural health community, state that nightshades, including eggplant, can cause or significantly worsen arthritis and should be avoided by those sensitive to them.

Offline paleoeat

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Re: Tomatoes and hot peppers contain nicotine!?
« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2009, 07:36:39 AM »
Hmmm....  so ity appears that eggplants have been eaten by humans longet than tomatos and peppers.  but being from the nightshade family they may not be tollerated by some.

I bet many of the fruits/veggies we eat were not always around during our evolution.  seriously how can we expect that.

so where does this leave the eggplant??

Offline Tarlach

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Re: Tomatoes and hot peppers contain nicotine!?
« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2009, 05:42:12 PM »
For me it is out.

Everyone seems to have a different idea of what paleo eating means and it is up to you to decide what you will eat based upon your research and beliefs.

I have spent the last three years eating paleo and researching food.  I do not consider myself an expert, but I do like to think that all of my decisions are based upon very good data and I am happy with them.

According to the theory of evolution it takes roughly 40,000 years for a species to adapt to a new food source.  I think that anything that we have been eating for only 10,000 years is not good for us as a general rule.  Over the next 30,000 years we may adapt to be able to handle these foods, but genetic modification, selective breeding, hormones and the other weird things they do to these foods probably means that they are back at the start again :(

I understand that none of our food is like it was 40,000+ years ago, but it is possible to eat an indicative diet of what may have been around.  To me this means, a lot of meat and some fruit and veg and none of the food types that have only been eaten for a short time.

I think the following graph sums it up nicely:



Offline paleoeat

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Re: Tomatoes and hot peppers contain nicotine!?
« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2009, 08:06:56 PM »
Tarlach,  according to your research which friuts and veg. are off the list???

Offline Tarlach

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Re: Tomatoes and hot peppers contain nicotine!?
« Reply #6 on: January 10, 2009, 08:27:53 PM »
Tarlach,  according to your research which friuts and veg. are off the list???

The ones in my sig - Tubers, legumes, nightshades, etc...

We also don't eat some of the curcubits, but I don't know enough about them all yet...
« Last Edit: January 10, 2009, 08:36:13 PM by Tarlach »

Offline JWSthe3rd

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Re: Tomatoes and hot peppers contain nicotine!?
« Reply #7 on: January 11, 2009, 11:36:35 AM »
What's wrong with the cucurbits?

Offline PaleoMum

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Re: Tomatoes and hot peppers contain nicotine!?
« Reply #8 on: January 11, 2009, 04:42:13 PM »
What's wrong with the curcubits?

We think some of them are too 'new age'... still looking into it (don't know enough about the food group to make a definitive decision yet).  Usually I am very sensitive to foods so if I have a reaction we research it for a while and if research satisfies us, we'll keep it or toss it...  I generally don't like Cucurbits as they make me feel lethargic so they've gone onto our research list.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2009, 05:49:44 PM by PaleoMum »