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tomato-61738_640When Tom Brady and Gisele Bundchen’s personal chef revealed in a January interview what the pair eats, it was not very surprising. The couple eats a diet comprised mainly of vegetables and protein. The chef stated that 80% of the couple’s diet is made of vegetables. However, they totally avoided a group of vegetables called nightshades. Nightshades have been such a hot topic since the interview that the Google search for “what are nightshades” has increased 500 percent.

Brady claims he does not eat them because of the supposed inflammatory effects. However, keep in mind that Brady is an elite athlete whom requires different dietary recommendations from most people. In short, just because the quarterback avoids them, does not mean you should!

Here are the most common questions on nightshades:

What are nightshades?
Nightshades are part of the plant family, Solanceae. They received the nickname “nightshade” because some of them grow in shady areas and tend to flower only at night.

What are included in this group?
There are over 2,000 different species, but here are the most common ones:

  • Tomatoes
  • Peppers
  • Eggplant
  • Tomatillos
  • Goji berries
  • Spices made from peppers (paprika, cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes)

What are the health benefits of nightshades?
There are many nutritional benefits by adding these to your diet plan.

  • Tomatoes are packed with vitamins C and K, biotin, and lycopene.
  • Bell peppers pack a punch, since they are full of vitamin C, phytochemicals and carotenoids (such as beta-carotene), and capsaicin. Note: The red ones have the highest nutritional value, since they have been allowed to grow on the vine the longest.
  • Eggplants are a great source of vitamins C, B6, K, thiamin, niacin, magnesium, phosphorus, fiber, and folic acid.
  • Tomatillos may be small, but they are a nutritional giant. They are stocked with vitamins C and K, dietary fiber, niacin, potassium, and manganese.
  • Goji berries, also known as wolfberries, are full of vitamin C, dietary fiber, antioxidants, and (surprisingly) protein.

As with any food on the GreenLite diet plan, be cognizant of the serving size and macronutrient units.

Is there anyone that should avoid nightshades?
There are some claims that nightshades are not recommended for people with autoimmune disorders and arthritis, but the jury is still out on the validity. Always discuss any dietary concerns or questions with your physician.

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