It is already known that nightshades contain potent toxins such as glycoalkaloids (solanine, capsaicin, etc.). However, these toxins for most people are relatively benign, and with proper preparation, can be part of a healthy Paleo diet when consumed in moderation.
The problem is that glycoalkaloids, particularly solanine, are particularly concentrated in the stems and leaves of these plants, as well as in the situation when they are unripe. Unripe nightshades overall contain high levels of toxins, which is why green potatoes, green eggplant, and green tomatoes (despite a particular dish in Southern cuisine) are unsafe to eat.
My question, Paleohackers, is this:
If this is true, what about green peppers? Since green peppers are not a different variety of bell pepper but rather just unripened red peppers, wouldn't that make them inappropriate to eat? If so, why are they still relatively ubiquitous as a food in comparison to other nightshades? Does anyone have information on whether they are ancestral or not?
Not to mention red peppers are in general more nutritious than green peppers in terms of vitamin C, A and E for an equivalent calorie comparison: green peppers vs red peppers. Red peppers are also more nutritious overall per 100g of each food item.
Note that this can also be said of all varieties of Capsicum annuum (eg. green chiles vs red ones).
asked byPsyence (98)
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on August 16, 2013
at 05:57 PM
They are not necessarily unsafe to eat, but some people tend to have a higher sensitivity to nightshades (ie. people with autoimmune conditions). For me, green peppers do not make me feel very good. Indigestion and then they do not get digested properly. I do not have this problem with red, yellow, or orange peppers. As long as they are cooked fully. They all give me some symptoms when they are raw, but only green pepper give the same symptoms when they are cooked.
So, I would say that if they make you feel fine, go on and eat them. If not, then i would avoid them like me.
on August 16, 2013
at 12:20 PM
Nope. They are not toxic, they don't have that high of glycoalkaloid content.
There was a previous discussion on green potatoes here on PH. Solanine deaths are extraordinarily rare. Pretty much you have to eat a significant amount of literally rotten potatoes before illness ensues. Sure you can eat the wrong part of the plant (leaves, roots, etc... not the fruit) and get a sickening dose. But nobody is going to sick from that.
I challenge you to find an example of someone dying from green peppers or green tomatoes. You'll find a couple examples of sickness, but given the millions that eat these foods daily, the rate is extraordinarily low.
on August 17, 2013
at 01:30 AM
The VAST majority of green peppers you get in the store are Permagreen Peppers. This is a specific species of sweet pepper that was cultivated to stay green. These peppers have reached full maturity and are not "unripe red ones". You can tell Permagreen from green peppers by the taste. Permagreen are sweet (like a red pepper) where as teh unripe peppers are much more bitter (and expensive).
One of the reason green peppers are cheaper than red and yellow is the fact that permagreen peppers are less likely to be eaten by animals (because they look like unripe peppers).