strawberry juice beside strawberry fruits
Juicing orange juice and pomegranate

Vegetable Myths We Need to Stop Believing

Let’s get one thing straight right off the bat: most of us don’t eat enough fruits or vegetables.

The recommended number of vegetables isn’t high – 7 to 10 servings a day, which I put in terms of handfuls – at least two large at both lunch and supper. Fruits, a piece or two a day.

Even easier is to ensure that half your plate is fruit and/or vegetables.

As a dietitian, it’s hard enough to parse out the reasons why people don’t get their produce. When these reasons include nutrition myths and outright misrepresentations of science, it’s even more aggravating. 

I want you all to eat as many plants as possible, and to do it without fear. 

This is why I’m here to debunk the 6 most common myths about fruits and vegetables. 

Myth #1: Nightshades cause inflammation.

Nightshade vegetables are named for their preference for shady growing conditions and their ability to flower at night. Nightshade vegetables shouldn’t be confused with belladonna, aka deadly nightshade. 

While they’re from the same family, belladonna can kill you. Bell peppers, not so much.

Nightshade vegetables include tomatoes, eggplant, white potatoes, and peppers. These foods contain an glycoalkaloids, which are a natural defence mechanism that’s produced by the plant.

Potatoes, in particular green potatoes, have the highest levels of the glycoalkaloid solanine, but you’d have to eat a lot of green potatoes – which are incredibly bitter – to ingest enough solanine to make you sick. Contrary to common belief, tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant don’t contain solanine. 

Some people believe that nightshades cause inflammation which can exacerbate the symptoms of arthritis and autoimmune diseases. There is no credible research that backs up this claim, and the Arthritis Society of Canada does not recommend removing them from our diet.

That doesn’t stop many alternative providers from recommending that nobody consume nightshades. It’s always a red flag when you see a blanket recommendation like that one. Do some people have reactions to nightshades? Probably. Does this mean none…

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