The 8 Most Nutritious Nightshade Fruits and Vegetables

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What are nightshade fruits and veggies?

Nightshade fruits and vegetables are a broad group of plants from the Solanum and capsicum families. Nightshade plants contain poisons, one called solanine. While ingesting nightshade plants can be fatal, fruits and vegetables in this same classification of plant, many of which you’ll find at your local grocery store, are actually safe to eat. This is because the amount of this toxic compound is lowered to nontoxic levels once the fruits and vegetables ripen. Still, the leaves and berries of the deadly nightshade plant are poisonous and shouldn’t be consumed. So, which nightshades are the most nutritious?

Tomatoes

Tomatoes are a staple of many diets for numerous reasons. In addition to how easy they are to grow, they’re also packed with nutrition. This fruit is high in vitamins A and C and is also a good source of iron, potassium, vitamin B-6, manganese, and dietary fiber.

According to Penn State University’s Extension program, current research suggests that tomatoes contain carotenoids, powerful antioxidants that protect the body from certain types of cancers. Lycopene, the most common carotenoid found in tomatoes, may help reduce the risk for pancreatic, prostate, and digestive cancers.

Potatoes

Potatoes are one of the most abundantly grown foods used in the Western world. They’re also part of the perennial nightshade family that can be mildly poisonous when eaten before they’re ripe, while the skin is still green. Potatoes are excellent sources of vitamin C, which helps aid immunity. They also contain enough potassium, vitamin B-6, and fiber to make a healthier staple than you may realize. Moreover, they provide carotenoids, flavonoids, and caffeic acid, all forms of phytonutrients known to promote health benefits, according to the USDA.

There are also many different types of varieties, which have various health benefits. Potatoes are rich in vitamins A, B, C, and E, along with iron and zinc. They provide an easy way to get necessary, critical amounts of nutrients for people living in developing worlds. Potatoes aren’t as healthy when they’re prepared with high amounts of fats, salts, and oils, like french fries.

Bell peppers

If you need a boost of vitamin C, bell peppers are an excellent choice. One green pepper contains more vitamin C than an orange (who knew?). Bell peppers are one of the tastiest snacks in the nightshade family. You can slice them up and dip them in hummus, add them to a stir-fry, or ????? (You fill in the question marks).

Hot peppers

Hot peppers may be nightshades, but like the sun they can bring some heat, and if your tongue can endure the burn, these fiery devils contain proper nutrients. Common hot peppers, such as jalapenos, serrano peppers, and red or green chilies, are excellent sources of vitamins C and A as well as potassium. Capsaicin, what helps give spicy peppers their kick, has been shown to decrease inflammation, which can help people with joint disorders walk with less pain.

Eggplant

Eggplant is an excellent source of manganese, a mineral essential for both development and metabolism. Additionally, according to researchers, eggplant contains natural antioxidants that can help protect your skin from the oxidative stress of the sun’s ultraviolet radiation. Because of their meaty texture when cooked, they’re famous for vegetarians, think eggplant parmesan, as well as with vegans.

Tomatillos

The tomatillo is a nightshade that grows in a husk and is similar to a tomato. Common in Central and South America, it’s a staple of Mexican green sauces and can be boiled, fried, or steamed. While not as nutritiously plentiful as your garden-variety red tomato, they contain antioxidants and can help you sneak some extra fiber into your diet without adding in too many extra calories.

Goji berries

To find fresh goji berries, you’ll have to visit a Chinese plantation. However, they’re also typically found at specialty food stores in dried form, sometimes labeled as wolfberries. Goji berries contain protein and many healthy amino acids such as tyramine. They’re high in antioxidants, which help immune function and cell health. If you’re trying them for the first time, know that it’s possible to be allergic to them. You’ll want to stop eating them should you develop a rash or become ill.

Blueberries

Blueberries contain solanine alkaloid like nightshade plants, though they aren’t technically a nightshade plant. Blueberries are often touted as a superfood because many believe they contain cancer-preventing ingredients. They’re high in antioxidants, which are known to reduce inflammation. With that in mind, blueberries are thought to prevent inflammatory diseases such as metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and cardiovascular disease.

According to researchers at the Gerontological Society of America, evidence from recent studies show that blueberries contain flavonoids, specifically one called anthocyanin, that’s directly associated with cognitive benefits. A cup of blueberries provides a quarter of your daily vitamin C needs, as well as supplying some dietary fiber. The fiber, when combined with probiotics in yogurt, can keep your gastrointestinal tract in good working order.

Adapted by: Debra Rose Wilson, Ph.D., MSN, RN, IBCLC, AHN-BC, CHT

Nutrition Nugget

Drink Plenty Of Water! Yes, you’ve heard that several times but are you taking the advice? Not only will water keep you hydrated but it will help you boost your metabolism. Drinking plenty of water improves your liver and kidney function, too!

Inspiration Nugget

It's better to be slapped by the truth than kissed with a lie. - Russian proverb

 

 

Rockin’ Moroccan Stew

 

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2 tsp olive oil

1 c chopped onion

1 c diced celery

1 c  chopped green pepper

1 clove garlic, minced

3 c low sodium vegetable broth

3 c unpeeled, cubed sweet potatoes

1 14oz can diced or stewed tomatoes, with juice

1 14 oz can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed

Juice of one lemon or 2 T refrigerated lemon juice

2 tsp grated fresh ginger

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp curry

1 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp chili powder

1 tsp black pepper

1 c raisins

2 T natural peanut butter

2 T chopped fresh cilantro

Heat oil in a heavy, large pot. Add onions, celery and green pepper and saute over medium-high heat. Cook and stir until veggies begin to soften; add garlic. Continue cooking another couple minutes until veggies are translucent. Add all remaining ingredients except raisins, peanut butter and cilantro. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer covered about 20 minutes. Stir in raisins, peanut butter and cilantro. Mix well, then simmer for another 5 minutes to blend flavors. Serve hot.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving:

Calories 236, Fat 4g, Saturated fat 0.5 g, Carbohydrates 46g, Fiber 7g, Protein 6g, Sodium 360mg

This recipe is vegan and gluten free; even die hard meat eaters find this a delicious and satisfying meal.

Tip of the day

A better-for-you brew. Get some calcium along with your morning caffeine boost. Make or order your coffee, latte, or cappuccino with fat-free or low-fat milk.

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Easy Vegetarian Crock-Pot Chili

Serves: 8

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1 can Black Beans, rinsed and drained

1 can Kidney Beans, rinsed and drained

1 can Garbanzo Beans, rinsed and drained

2 cans Diced tomatoes

2 Tbsp. Tomato Paste

1 cp. Frozen Corn

1 large Onion, chopped

1 Green Pepper, chopped

3 Carrots, peeled and chopped

3 cloves of garlic, crushed

1 tsp. Cumin

Dash of Tabasco Sauce

Dash of Worcestershire Sauce

1 qt. low sodium Vegetable Broth

1/4 tsp. Salt or to taste

Place all ingredients in a large slow-cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 2-4 hours.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving: 

Calories 220, Fat 1.5g, Saturated Fat 0g, Carbohydrate 42g, Fiber 12g, Protein 11g, Sodium 620mg

Tip of the Day

Are you food safe? Use a food thermometer when cooking. A food thermometer should be used to ensure that food is cooked and held at safe temperatures until eaten.

Daily Inspiration 

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Black Bean Quinoa Salad

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 4 Servings

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A light and healthy quinoa salad tossed in a refreshing orange vinaigrette, full of protein and fiber.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 large naval oranges, cut into segments
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and diced
  • 1 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup canned corn kernels, drained
  • 1/3 cup chopped red onion
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves

For the orange vinaigrette:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 1 tablespoon sugar

Directions: 

  • In a large saucepan of 2 cups water, cook quinoa according to package instructions; set aside.
  • To make the vinaigrette, whisk together olive oil, apple cider vinegar, orange juice, orange zest and sugar in a small bowl; set aside.
  • In a large bowl, combine quinoa, oranges, bell pepper, jalapeño, black beans, corn, onions and cilantro. Pour the vinaigrette on top of the salad and gently toss to combine.
  • Serve immediately.

Reprinted from Damn Delicious

Tip of the Day

Seafood love. Eat seafood rich in omega-3 fats for heart health. Include a variety in your meals such as salmon, trout, and oysters.

Daily Inspiration

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Turkey BLT Wrap

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Yields: 4 wraps

Serving Size: 1 wrap

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Ingredients:

  • 6 mini bell peppers (sweet), chopped
  • Honey Roasted turkey, thin sliced
  • 8 slices bacon, cooked
  • 1 cucumber, chopped
  • Baby spinach
  • Colby Jack Cheese, grated
  • 4 fresh tortillas
  • Any dressing of your choice

Instructions: 

  1. Heat a pan over medium heat and drizzle in a little olive oil. Add the peppers and saute until tender. Remove from the heat and in a nonstick skillet over the same heat cook the tortillas. Once they are cooked, sprinkle with cheese and allow it to melt.
  2. Place a tortilla on a plate and spread a little sauce all over it. Layer the turkey, peppers, spinach, and cucumbers on the tortilla and roll the wrap. Enjoy!!

ohsweetbasil

Tip of the Day

Choose veggies rich in color! Brighten your plate with vegetables that are red, orange, and dark green. They are full of vitamins and minerals. Try summer squash, cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, or collard greens. They not only taste great but also are good for you, too!

Daily Inspiration 

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Ultimate Burger

Makes: 4 servings, Prep: 5 mins, Cook: 11 mins

INGREDIENTS:
1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 large clove garlic, minced
Olive oil for grilling
4 whole-wheat hamburger buns
1 cheese slice or substitute a tomato
1 small red bell pepper, sliced or substitute 1 small red onion
Lettuce leaves

*You can always add ALL the ingredients (substitutes) for additional vitamin  intake

DIRECTIONS:
1. In a large bowl, mix together the beef, lemon zest, salt, black pepper and garlic. Divide meat into four equal pieces and gently form into 1/2-inch-thick patties.
2. Heat the grill to medium high and brush the grate generously with oil. Transfer burgers to grill. Close the cover and cook 2 to 3 minutes a side for medium rare. Remove from grill and rest 5 minutes.
3. Arrange burgers on the buns and top with cheese, peppers and lettuce….or whatever healthy toppings you desire!

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Fitness Magazine 

Tip of the day

Cook more often! If you don’t usually cook, start gradually. Make it a goal to cook once a week and work up to cooking more often.

Choose My Plate

Daily Inspiration 

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Shrimp Ratatouille

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Makes: 4 servings

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 32 minutes

Ingredients:

– 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon olive oil

– 1 red onion, roughly chopped

– 3 garlic cloves, minced

– 1 medium eggplant, cut into 1-inch cubes

– 2 zucchini, cut into 1-inch cubes

– 1 red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces

– 1 yellow bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces

– 1 tablespoon fresh thyme (about 4 sprigs), chopped

– 1 28-ounce can chopped tomatoes

– 1 cup green olives, pitted

– 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

– 1/2 teaspoon salt

– 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

– 1 pound large shrimp, shelled and cleaned

– 1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped

– 1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted

Instructions:

1. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a heavy pot over medium heat. Add the onion; cook 5 minutes. Add the garlic; cook 2 minutes. Add the eggplant, zucchini and bell peppers; cook 5 minutes. Add the thyme, tomatoes, olives, red pepper flakes, salt and black pepper. Reduce heat to medium low; simmer 20 minutes.

2. In a large nonstick skillet, heat remaining oil. Add shrimp and cook 2 minutes on each side. Stir shrimp into ratatouille.

3. Spoon onto plates. Garnish with mint and almonds; serve.

Nutrition facts per serving:

398 calories, 30g protein, 32g carbohydrates, 19g fat (3g saturated), 10g fiber

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