Can Nightshades Make My Fingers Hurt?

Pain, swelling, and other discomfort in the fingers may be the result of inflammation, especially if you suffer from osteoarthritis. Doctors often recommend dietary changes such as increasing fruit, vegetable, and omega oil intake while cutting down on processed foods to help ease symptoms; one recent trend suggests that cutting out nightshade vegetables can help reduce inflammation, although this hasn’t been proven.

Nightshade vegetables are a category that includes potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants, as well as the spice paprika; tobacco is also a nightshade, which is one more reason to quit smoking. Anecdotal evidence, and some studies, have suggested that these foods may contribute to increased inflammation throughout the body, particularly in the joints. Since the hands and fingers are one of the areas most commonly affected by arthritis, increased inflammation due to nightshade intake may aggravate already painful fingers.

The evidence that nightshade vegetables contributes to or worsens inflammation in the muscles and joints is not definitive – most often, it’s on a case by case, personal basis. One study even suggested that certain kinds of potatoes actually lower inflammation in men, and these foods also contain vitamins and nutrients. However, some people, including those who suffer from inflammatory diseases like osteoarthritis, may find that eating these foods makes their symptoms worse. The best way to determine if they are contributing to your finger pain is try eliminating them to see if it helps ease your symptoms; you can then slowly add them back into your diet and see if it makes symptoms worse. You should discuss all dietary changes, including this kind of elimination diet, with your doctor before doing anything. They may feel it’s harmless, or they may advise you against it, but it’s best to advise them of changes you’re making in case it interacts with other methods of treatment.


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