Often you find it harder to control your urge to buy some extra kilos of blueberries whenever you find them in the market. Undoubtedly they look alluring with that nice blue hue and tastes sweetly delicious thus fruit lovers can barely say no to this berry sister.
But if you’ve noticed there is an argument over this much-loved fruit blueberry saying it might be nightshade.
So now you’re wondering what’s the word nightshade stands for actually. Or maybe you’re hesitating while taking some extra bite of blueberries thinking if it’s a ‘Nightshade’.
To explain to you what does nightshade means why some vegetables are called nightshade and if blueberries do fall in that category.
What are nightshade fruits and vegetables? Why are they called nightshade?
Fruits and vegetables that are part of the Solanaceae (also known as Solanum) family are known as nightshade.
Solanaceae is a large group of flowering plants that includes many vegetables, fruit, seed, and herb. What these Solanaceae family members have in common is the presence of different alkaloids in them.
Alkaloids are a group of nitrogenous elements that are originated from plants. They are poisonous molecules depending on their variants and can cause harm to health.
But two types of alkaloids that are found in plant-based foods- Capsaicin and Solanine are edible. These are also known as glycoalkaloids. Nightshade fruits and vegetables contain these glycoalkaloids and can be consumed.
Nightshade fruits and vegetables include tomatoes, eggplants, all kinds of peppers, black paper, potatoes, ground cherries, goji berries, etc. Though there are claims that say eating nightshade foods can be harmful to certain health issues, it’s not been proved yet.
The reason why fruits and vegetables containing glycoalkaloids are named nightshade is not very clear yet.
Some say it’s because many of these fruits and vegetables are grown in dark and shady places. Some flowers of these family blooms at night are another idea that supports the naming of these specific plants.
Many also believe the name nightshade indicated the negative side of these poisonous plant groups. But none of these theories are solid. However, scientifically the word nightshade is used to specify the plants that produce toxic alkaloids.
Are blueberries nightshades?
Blueberries aren’t nightshades though they contain Solanine, a kind of alkaloid. Blueberries belong to the family Ericaceae. Solanine can be present in plants that aren’t nightshade. But a few varieties of berries such as goji berries, garden huckleberries are in the category of nightshades.
Blueberries surely do contain Solanine, which is an alkaloid but it doesn’t belong to the nightshade group.
Nightshade plants are the ones that are a member of the Solanaceae family. But blueberries are from the Ericaceae family that has no similarities with the Solanaceae group.
Nightshades are largely known for containing toxic nitrogen elements, alkaloids. Alkaloids have a large range of varieties and they can be mild to dangerous for health. But producing alkaloids is not the only nature of nightshade plants.
Alkaloids can be found in many other plants too that are not associated with the Solanaceae family in any way. For example, Solanine, a glycoalkaloid is found in many vegetables and fruits that don’t belong to the nightshade family.
So if you’re still in the fog whether blueberry is a nightshade plant, fruit, or veggie, here we’ve explained:
Are blueberries nightshade plants:
Blueberries are not nightshade plants. Nightshades are of the Solanaceae family and blueberries don’t belong to that family.
They are far way different than the category nightshade except for the fact they too contain a type of alkaloid which is Solanine.
Are blueberries nightshade fruits or vegetables:
Blueberries are neither nightshade fruit nor vegetable. Though a type of glycoalkaloids is found in blueberries they can’t be called nightshade as they belong to a different family.
There are berries from the nightshade family such as garden huckleberries, goji berries, etc. But blueberry is defiantly not nightshade.
What berries are the nightshade family?
Though blueberries are not nightshade family members technically there are a few types of berries that belong to the family of Solanaceae.
Goji berries are known as nightshade fruits. Also known as wolfberries, this is a fruit of Lycium barbarum or Lycium Chinese, two of the varieties that belong to the large Solanaceae family. Goji berries contain a poisonous alkaloid called Atropine.
Apart from goji berries, garden huckleberries are also a member of the nightshade family. They are not like usual huckleberries and are known as black nightshades.
The Nightshade family includes many fruits and among them, a small portion is occupied by different types of berries from the Solanaceae family.
Are nightshades bad for you?
It’s a matter of confusion whether nightshade is harmful or not. So Here we’ve pointed out the health benefits of nightshades and also the downsides to know clearly.
Nutrient advantages of nightshades:
Nightshade fruits and vegetables are filled with nourishing ingredients that help to develop our body.
Tomatoes, goji berries contain antioxidants and vitamin A, C that reduces inflammation. Vitamin C also helps to absorb iron and fight against Anemia.
Pepper, Chili peppers heal heartburn and help to lose extra calories. Muscle weakness, oxidative stress, diabetes, etc. health issues are controlled and reduced a lot with the ingest of nightshades.
Nightshade foods such as peppers, capsicums, tomatoes have antioxidants, polyphenols and some of the nightshades contain lycopene.
All these properties can lower the risk of high cholesterol and heart issues. Besides, fibers in nightshade veggies like eggplant are essential for bowel movement.
Disadvantages of nightshades:
Alkaloids in nightshades can be very toxic for the body depending on their variety.
People who have autoimmune issues, arthritis may have to deal with severe inflammation problems because of steroid alkaloids in nightshade fruits or veggies.
Tobacco can cause cancer because of the toxic chemicals in it. Solanine, an alkaloid in nightshades can weaken the body while making one feel nauseous and ill if consumed a lot.
Nightshades do have some bad sides, but they are beneficial as well. Since the benefits of nightshades are much higher, they can’t be bad for humans. However, limited consumption is still encouraged.
What are the benefits and side effects of blueberries?
Blueberries are full of nutrients and are loved by all of us. But it surely has some negative effects too. Let’s know about both of the sides of blueberries.
Rich in antioxidants:
Blueberries contain antioxidants in a very high amount. Antioxidants prevent one’s body from free radicals. Controls aging line, damage of the cells and reduces the chance of cancer.
Controls blood sugar:
Blueberries have a very low amount of sugar but enrich in fiber. So it’s beneficial for high-blood sugar patients as it can regulate the sugar in the blood.
Lowers the risk of Heart disease:
Blueberries contain anthocyanins, an element that helps cardiovascular activity to run smoothly. Thus these fruits prevent and reduce heart problems.
Improves eye health:
The properties in blueberries help to keep the eyesight at its best state. Taking blueberries regularly boosts the vision and also protects the eyes from various age-related problems.
Fight against Urinary Tract Infection:
Having blueberries regularly can reduce the chance of Urinary tract infection. The antioxidants and A-type proanthocyanidins in it protect the bladder wall from bacteria.
It can harm diabetes patients:
Blueberry might do good to people in general but diabetes patients might face trouble due to The low glycemic index of this fruit.
It can lower the sugar in the blood leading people with diabetes to serious conditions.
Can lead to muscle issues:
Antioxidants when overdosed doesn’t bring any good to health. Since Blueberries contain antioxidants along with other properties at high levels when consumed too much it can harm the muscles.
Can trigger Salicylate sensitivity:
Blueberry has a great amount of salicylate. People who are sensitive to salicylate can experience nausea, rash, headache, vomiting, etc. if eaten beyond the limit.
Can you eat blueberries every day?
Blueberries are tasty and full of health benefits. It’s one of the most antioxidant-containing fruit. It also has potassium, vitamins, anthocyanins, fiber, and phenols.
Moreover, blueberries contain much less sugar thus keeping the blood sugar balanced. It boosts the immune power and prevents various deficiencies if kept on a regular diet.
Blueberries boost metabolism as well as take care of the skin too. It revitalizes skin while improving it from underneath. Also prevents the appearance of fine lines on the body.
So you can and should eat a few blueberries each day to live a healthy life. But too many blueberries can do the opposite so it’s wise to know how much you’re eating.
Not every plant that has solanine is nightshade. Blueberries are not a member of the Solanaceae group thus they can’t be called a nightshade fruit even though blueberries contain alkaloid Solanine. But there are a few berries that belong to the Solanaceae family and are nightshade fruits.