The thing about Alkaloids and Saponins is that they interfere with the intestinal tract. Sounds crazy – but the humble intestine is where the outside world meets up with our immune system. It is our last line of defence against poisons. And when it gets compromised we become ill.
Here’s how these toxins affect us:
- Small intestine tissue is damaged: Leaky Gut, (bloating, irritable bowel, iron deficiency)
- Various enzyme-triggered processes get muddled, (depression, anxiety)
- Inflammation at the site spreads to joints and brain, (arthritis, migraine, headache)
- The immune system is compromised, (viral and yeast infections flourish)
Many people who have experienced joint pain, headaches, depression or anxiety find the symptoms fade when they exclude nightshades from their diet.
Foods Native to South America Can Damage Your Gut
CAPSICUMS (bell peppers in the US) and their relations, CHILLIES are native to South America. So too are EGGPLANTS (aubergines) – plus POTATOES and all types of TOMATOES.
They are part of the Nightshade family of plants. But they contain AntiNutrients – which, among other things actually damage the digestive tract.
Why Are Nightshades Toxic to Humans?
It’s all about how long we have lived with these plants. And the answer is – not very long at all – in human history terms.You see – if we had have lived with them for a few million years – our digestive systems may have adapted. But for most of us – nightshades are ‘foreign’ in our body – because our DNA has only known about them for ~ 400 years when Spanish explorers brought them into Europe and Asia.
BACKGROUND: The first humans appeared ‘out of Africa’ around two million years ago and very slowly multiplied and spread into other parts of the world. They moved north into Europe, west to Britain and Scandinavia – and eastwards to India and Asia (orange section in diagram).
It took almost two million years to spread this far.
Eventually – humans populated regions further north into Russia – then east to the Americas (green section in diagram). The southern part was finally inhabited by humans about 15,000 years ago (quite recently).
So South America was the very last place to be populated by Homo sapiens. And that’s why our bodies don’t have the right equipment to break down Nightshades which are native to this region.
Nightshades Contain Alkaloids and Saponins
Plants native to this area were ‘new’ foods – the Nightshade family, Solanaceae: eggplants, capsicums, chillies, tomatoes and potatoes. Unfortunately – as well as being ‘new’ they also contain two rather toxic substances, saponins and alkaloids.
People not native to South America however were introduced even more recently to nightshades – after seventeenth century Spanish and Portuguese explorers brought them back to Europe and the Subcontinent.
That’s only four hundred years ago – not nearly enough time for the human digestive system to evolve far enough to process these things safely.
So we cannot process alkaloids and saponins. Instead – they process us . . . we become ill.
Many people react badly to nightshades, suffering gastric disorders, headache, joint pain, inflammatory disorders and facial swelling . . . and most have no idea of the connection.
How to check if you react poorly to nightshades? Live without them for a month – then reintroduce them and watch out for symptoms.
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