For those who struggle with cystic or hormonal acne, excess heat, joint pains, urticaria, or any other autoimmune disorder, ayurvedic practitioner Dr Varalakshmi Yanamandra has some advice: do not consume nightshade vegetables. According to her, such people should avoid potatoes’ skin, tomatoes’ seeds, and peppers’ white pith. “These are some of the first foods we avoid as part of healing for autoimmune disorders. They all belong to the family of vegetables and toxins called nightshades. They are all rich in inflammatory compounds called Alkaloids. As a family of vegetables and toxins, nightshades are potent medicinal compounds as well as toxic chemicals,” said Dr Yanamandra.

She further urged caution while consuming nightshades as they trigger inflammation inside the joints and irritate the enteric system. “Usually, these alkaloids are present in certain parts of the plants. So the skin of potatoes, tomatoes’ seeds, and peppers’ white pith are all considered harmful to consume daily. That’s why it is important to discard these while cooking nightshades,” said Dr. Yanamandra.

But we wanted to learn more. So here’s G Sushma, Clinical Dietician, CARE Hospitals Banjar Hills Hyderabad listing some benefits and considerations when having nightshades.

Potato skin


Fibre: Potato skin is a great source of dietary fiber, which aids in digestion, helps maintain bowel health, and can contribute to a feeling of fullness, which may help with weight management. “The potato peel consists of fiber content which releases blood glucose slowly in the blood. But most dishes prepared using potato in Indian cuisine are without the peel hence it spikes the sugar levels immediately,” said Edwina Raj, Head of Services – clinical nutrition and dietetics, Aster CMI Hospital, Bangalore.

Vitamins: Potato skin contains significant amounts of vitamin C and several B vitamins, including niacin, riboflavin, and folic acid. Vitamin C is important for the immune system and skin health, while B vitamins play a crucial role in energy metabolism and red blood cell production, said Sushma.

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Minerals: The skin is also rich in minerals like potassium, iron, and magnesium. “Potassium is essential for heart health and muscle function, iron is vital for transporting oxygen in the blood, and magnesium is involved in over 300 biochemical reactions in the body,” said Sushma.

Edwina said that potato skin is enriched with phytochemicals such as flavonoids, phenols, and glycoalkaloids that act as anti-inflammatory, anti-aging, anti-cancer, and antioxidant properties.


Pesticides: Potato skin can have pesticide residues, so it’s important to wash them thoroughly. “Buying organic potatoes can help reduce exposure to pesticides,” said Sushma.

Glycoalkaloids: Potatoes contain natural toxins called glycoalkaloids, which are mostly found in the skin and sprouts. “While the levels in potato skins are generally safe for consumption, avoid green or sprouted potatoes as they have higher concentrations of these toxins,” said Sushma.

Tomato seeds


Fibre: Tomato seeds contribute to the overall fiber content of the tomato, which helps with digestion and maintaining a healthy digestive system.

Antioxidants: Tomato seeds are rich in antioxidants, particularly lycopene. “Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant associated with reducing the risk of heart disease and certain cancers, particularly prostate cancer,” said Sushma.

Essential fatty acids: The seeds contain small amounts of essential fatty acids that are beneficial for heart health, said Sushma.

Edwina mentioned that tomato peel and seeds make up 60 percent of fiber and collectively help to improve healthy microbes in the gut which positively impacts your gut health.


Digestibility: Sushma noted that some people may find tomato seeds hard to digest, which could cause discomfort or exacerbate conditions like diverticulitis. “Excess intake is generally not advisable in those suffering from Gastro-intestinal conditions and may cause bloating,” said Edwina. However, for most people, they are perfectly fine to eat, Sushma added.

White pith of peppers


Fibre: The white pith adds to the fiber content of the pepper, which supports digestive health.

Vitamin C: Peppers, including their pith, are high in vitamin C, which is important for immune function, skin health, and antioxidant protection.

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Bioflavonoids: The pith contains bioflavonoids or plant compounds that enhance the absorption and effectiveness of Vitamin C and have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.


Taste: The white pith can be slightly bitter, which might not be desirable in all dishes. However, it is not harmful and can be included in cooking to maximize nutrient intake, stressed Sushma.

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What to note?

Incorporating the skin of potatoes, seeds of tomatoes, and the white pith of peppers into your diet can enhance the nutritional value of your meals by adding fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

“Proper washing and preparation can help mitigate any potential downsides, such as pesticide residue or bitter taste. By consuming these often-discarded parts, you can make your meals healthier and reduce food waste,” said Sushma.

Edwina stressed that if it has caused any disturbance in your health, then speak to your doctor or qualified dietitian about personalized advice.