Tomato, moderate consumption for joint ailments

“Is it convenient to eat tomato every day now that you are

Tomato is a vegetable typical of the Mediterranean region and its gastronomy, and its consumption is abundant during the summer months as it is its natural growing season. Fresh, it is ideal to taste in a salad, as an ingredient in soups, gazpachos and juices, and the surpluses are used to make sauces that can be used the rest of the year.

It is a plant of the nightshade family, and due to its particular composition it is advisable that people who suffer from joint ailments do not take it daily.

Tomato and bad joints

Diet is a factor to consider in the etiology of arthritis. There are foods that, due to their particular composition, promote inflammation, which worsens the annoying pain. Among them are the plants of the Solanaceae family (Solanaceae) whose consumption can negatively affect arthritis in sensitive people. This family includes the tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum L.), the potato (Solanum tuberosum L.), the eggplant (Solanum melongena L.), the pepper (Capsicum sp.), The tobacco plant (Nicotiana tabacum L.) and others recognized for their toxicity such as mandrake and belladonna. All of them have in common their content of toxic alkaloids and one of them, solanine, is the most recognized substance. These glycoalkaloids play a relevant role in the development and protection of plants by defending them against fungi, bacteria and parasites.

In the human body, the accumulation of toxic glycoalkaloids affects cholinesterases, a group of enzymes responsible for controlling, among others, the processes of cellular inflammation. These enzymes break down the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, and this reaction is necessary for certain neurons in the nervous system to return to their resting state after being activated. The inhibition of these enzymes is therefore associated with muscle spasms, weakness, pain and musculoskeletal stiffness, and could explain joint discomfort in people suffering from arthritis. Although genetic improvement has reduced the presence of these natural toxins in the vegetables of this family, their frequent and abundant consumption is not indicated for people sensitive to this disease.

Another theory that is being considered to explain the affectation of these vegetables in joint disorders is that the nightshade contain a very active metabolite of vitamin D3. In affected people, the accumulation of this compound can cause calcifications in the soft tissues (kidneys, lungs, tendons, ligaments …) due to excess calcium being diverted from the bones.

These glycoalkaloids are more abundant in the green areas of these vegetables, so it is always advisable to avoid these parts. Likewise, it is essential to collect the vegetables when they are ripe and store them appropriately so that they do not turn green, either in dark, cool places protected from sunlight. Cooking reduces the alkaloid concentration by up to 50%, although it may not be sufficient for sensitive individuals.

Test season

One way to check the degree of sensitivity towards tomatoes and other nightshade vegetables is to avoid their consumption for a season. Tobacco is part of this plant family, so abstaining from smoking will also bring benefits.

Summer is the time of greatest natural production of many of these vegetables (tomato, pepper, fresh potatoes …). The proposal is to abstain from eating these vegetables during this season and check if there is any joint relief or other related problems such as gout. It can be difficult because there are countless simple and popular recipes that include these foods: salads, gazpachos, juices, boiled potatoes, purees, in tortillas, etc.

If the person is sensitive to the alkaloids of these vegetables, they will improve their joint discomfort by omitting these vegetables from their menus or by being very restrained with their consumption.”

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