Unknown to most people, many food toxins do not come from manmade poisons, but are produced by the plant themselves as protection against invasion by bugs, viruses, fungi, and bacteria. These are called phytoalexins.
In addition, cooking certain plants can produce powerful toxins, as we see with frying potatoes, which produces a carcinogenic toxin called acrylamide.
The production of these toxins by plants depends on a number of factors, including sprouting of the plant (as with potatoes), temperature, sugar content (especially fructose), and how diseased the plant is.
The nightshade plant family (Solanacae) contains over 92 different genera and includes not only the deadly nightshades, Atropa belladonna, mandrake, and jimson weed, but also includes potatoes, tomatoes, most peppers (not black pepper), paprika, eggplant, and tobacco plants.
All of these plants secrete powerful toxins called glycoalkaloids. Recent research indicates that these glycoalkaloids are powerful inhibitors of cholinesterases, which can lead to seizures, muscle spasms, and death in higher concentrations.
In addition, they constain substances that inhibit digestive enzymes, increase intestinal permeability (leaky gut syndrome), worsen inflammatory bowel diseases, and may increase the incidence of miscarriages.
Recent studies have shown that these compounds damage the mitochondria of cells, leading to cell death. Of great concern are studies showing that these compounds impair the implantation of embryos, which is a leading cause of miscarriage in pregnant women.
With the growing incidence of inflammatory bowel diseases, such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis and the demonstration that genetically prone animals fed these compounds develop a high incidence of such bowel disease, one would be concerned with diets containing tomatoes, peppers, and potatoes.
Studies have shown that inflammatory bowel diseases are most prevalent in countries with the highest intakes of these Solanacae plants.
Unfortunately, Americans are obsessed with French fries and potato chips. Studies have shown that frying potatoes significantly increases the concentration of glycoalkaloids.
Posts by Russell Blaylock, M.D.
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