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What Is the Connection between Tomatoes and Arthritis?

By Jennifer Leigh
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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The connection between tomatoes and arthritis is not proven, but many people believe that it exists. Tomatoes are a member of the nightshade family of vegetables, which is often though to have negative health effects on certain people. Since arthritis is such a painful problem for those who suffer from it, new theories are often being developed about ways to treat it. Individuals can try changing their diet to help beat the problem, especially those interested in natural healing and cures for common ailments.

Nightshade vegetables, which include tomatoes, potatoes and eggplants, grow in the shade at night rather than during the day. These plants are believed by some to negatively affect certain health conditions such as arthritis, though researchers have not come to any formal conclusions on the subject. Vegetables in this group were believed to be poisonous for many years before being consumed regularly by a large portion of the population, and there are people who still believe today that they have poisonous properties in some humans. It was not until a few thousand years ago that tomatoes began to be introduced into the diet of many people due to this reason.

Since the 1940s, tomatoes have been looked at as a problem for individuals suffering from arthritis symptoms. It is believed that the problem with tomatoes and arthritis is that they cause chemicals, such as steroids and cholinesterase, to build up in the body and increase joint pain. Tomatoes can also cause muscle spasms, inflammation, and stiffness in some arthritis sufferers. This connection is not easy to pinpoint, however, because there are so many possible causes of arthritis based upon genetics and the environment. There are people who have spent many years looking at the connection between tomatoes and arthritis without coming to any conclusions.

There are physicians who believe that tomatoes and arthritis might be one type of food allergy that affects the symptoms of the ailment. Individuals who believe in natural healing can try changing their diet in order to see if their symptoms diminish. Removing tomatoes can help an individual see if tomatoes and arthritis are connected in his or her body, as everyone is different. This should occur for at least one month to be effective. An allergy test can also provide some information into whether a person is affected adversely by tomatoes, but this might not tell a lot about whether the symptoms of arthritis would be reduced by eliminating them from the diet.

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Discussion Comments

By bear78 — On Sep 21, 2013

@fBoyle-- There is nothing silly about it. It's a known fact that some foods have anti-inflammatory properties and others have inflammatory properties. Tomatoes have inflammatory properties.

My doctor recommended that I go on an anti-inflammatory diet for my arthritis. This diet doesn't allow nightshade vegetables. I have been doing better on this diet.

By burcinc — On Sep 21, 2013

@fBoyle-- The connection between tomatoes and arthritis has not been proven in either direction. So all we have are different opinions.

I don't think that tomatoes and other veggies in the nightshade family can cause arthritis, but I do believe that they can make some types of arthritis worse.

I have rheumatoid arthritis and I truly feel that tomatoes, potatoes and eggplants worsen my symptoms. I've been avoiding all three for the past six months and my pain and inflammation has lessened. Unless what I'm experiencing is a placebo effect, there is a connection between tomatoes and rheumatoid arthritis.

By fBoyle — On Sep 20, 2013

I find this theory kind of silly. I don't think that tomatoes can cause arthritis, unless someone is allergic to them or something.

I have arthritis and I love tomatoes. I don't think there is any connection between them.

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