Lately there have been many articles talking about the harmful impact Solanaceae have on the human organism. Since the Solanaceae family includes some of the most favourite garden vegetables, such as tomatoes, potatoes, peppers and eggplants, we wish to say a few words to anyone who has been cautious about consuming these vegetables or has even stopped using them.
It is true that Solanaceae contain alkaloids which are harmful to our health – tomatoes contain tomatine, potatoes contain solanine and peppers contain capsaicin – however the quantity of most of these substances that can be found in the parts of the mentioned garden vegetables intended for eating, is very small.
Let’s look at tomatoes for example. Unripe tomatoes contain so much alkaloids that they are deemed inedible, however ripe tomatoes hardly contain any alkaloids. Despite this, it is recommended to remove all white and green parts of tomatoes before eating them.
The same is true of potatoes. Most alkaloids are found in sprouts and flowers, somewhat less in the peel and its green parts, and least in the tuber flesh. When heat processed, the amount of solanine is further reduced, however the preparation of sprouting potatoes must be avoided, as sprouting incites strong solanine production.
Capsaicin, which is found in peppers and chillies, is even anti-inflammatory and helps boost blood circulation. This is especially beneficial to people that are often cold.
Finally, the above mentioned vegetables and fruits contain plenty of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other substances that are good for our organisms, which makes them beneficial to our health and not harmful.
This is why you can continue to eat potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, eggplants and other Solanaceae without fear. However it is important to adhere to the rule of moderation and diversity, as with all food.