I suffered with Psoriasis for 10 years in a very delicate area. The intense itch, the flakes, the bleeding were deeply distressing. I tried everything my doctor suggested including medicated creams and while they may have given me a day or two of relief my psoriasis always came back worse than before.
Three years ago I began to research my possible triggers for Psoriasis and noticed that the ‘Nightshade Family’ (which includes potatoes, tomatoes, peppers and aubergines) came up as having a high correlation as a trigger for psoriasis in much of the literature.
I was something of a sceptic as I had always believed that a diet containing vegetables was good for me, but with no other working treatment and hating my psoriasis I thought I would give it a go.
Identifying your Trigger
By luck more than judgement I did what I now know everyone should do to identify a Trigger.
I cut out all possible incidences of what I believed might be my trigger food and while I conducted my experiment I didn’t change anything else.
And to both my astonishment and delight my psoriasis markedly improved within a week. Curious but still sceptical I carried on for a whole month by which time my Psoriasis had cleared up—no itch nor redness at all.
For the first time in 10 years my skin was psoriasis free!
At first my discovery wasn’t all moonbeams and rainbows. I love tomatoes and potatoes almost as much as I hated my psoriasis—so I introduced them back one at a time. Tomatoes first (I was craving them) and all seemed okay; the following week potatoes. Within two hours I had the intense itch and the flaking returned the following day—so I knew that potatoes were my personal psoriasis trigger.
Why Nightshade Plants are often a Psoriasis Trigger
The Nightshade family of fruits and vegetables belong to the family of Solanaceae plants of the Solanum genus. This group of plants contains more than 2,500 species that are widely used as food and medicine. The Nightshade family includes potatoes (but not sweet potatoes), peppers and chilli (but not the pepper you grind on your food), tomatoes and tomatillos, aubergines and goji berries. garden huckleberries, ground cherries and cape gooseberries (but not normal gooseberries nor blueberries).
Key to the family is nightshade plants contain an alkaloid compound called Solanine which comprises a natural defence system for plants acting as a nerve poison on insects that try to eat them.
Solanine is particularly concentrated in the stems and leaves of nightshade plants and in green potatoes. Anti-nutrients in nightshades can interfere with human digestion causing intestinal permeability, or “leaky gut”. This leaves unprotected holes in the intestinal lining, an open invitation to many of our modern auto-immune diseases.
Nightshades contain two primary toxins: Saponins and Lectins.
Both of these chemicals play a major role in increasing intestinal permeability, laying the groundwork for a variety of modern conditions.
Saponins are natural chemicals in some plants that can impair health by creating holes in the intestinal lining. A perforated intestine is vulnerable to any microbes and toxins that may enter the bloodstream. Foods high in saponins are potato skins and potato chips with the skins. Ripe tomatoes have low levels of toxic saponins. But green tomatoes and “hot house” tomatoes, or those that are harvested before they are ripe, are exceedingly high in these toxins. Peppers are high in saponins, such as Bell peppers, Cayenne pepper, Chipotle, Chili pepper, Paprika, Jalapeno pepper, Pimento, Serrano pepper, Ancho, Habanero, and Tabasco.
Lectins are natural proteins in plants that are cell code breakers. Our cell walls are covered with chemical receptors to protect and ensure entry of only the right compounds. Lectins can crack the codes and trick the cell into doing things it normally would not do. Lectins can bypass our defences, “getting behind the lines” to travel all over the body. Lectins can penetrate the protective mucus of the small intestine, promoting cell division at the wrong time, and even causing cell death. Lectins can perforate the intestinal wall, or trick the immune system to thinking there’s an intruder, causing an allergic reaction.
Does that sound familiar? Read one of the accepted key causes of Psoriasis
“The human immune system defends against disease and fights infection and in doing so produces T-cells. T-cells normally travel through the body to detect and fight invading germs such as bacteria, but in people with psoriasis they start to attack healthy skin cells by mistake. This causes the deepest layer of skin to produce new skin cells more quickly than usual, which in turn triggers the immune system to produce more T-cells.”
This may have been the process for triggering psoriasis in my case!!
We still don’t fully understand the process, but really it doesn’t matter…
In my case my skin is largely Psoriasis free. I do have an odd flair up but it usually from a shop-bought sauce which contains potato starch—so now I always make my own.
Your triggers may not be the same of mine, but Nightshades are a great place place to begin your investigation.
So if you suffer from Psoriasis try it out for yourself. You have nothing to lose (aside from the pleasure of the occasional bowl of chips) and it worked for me.
Tags: nightshade family psoriasis triggers