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Grown after the frost and in the warmth of a common soil, meet the Nightshade family.

This family (also known as solanaceous) includes some of our more commonly eaten fruits and vegetables such as eggplants, tomatoes, capsicum and potatoes, which offer unique nutrition of their own. Moving into the cooler months we find this family more frequently in our lives through slow cooking, stews, soups and roasts. So as we gently stir our warming soup here’s some of the beautiful nutrients they are giving our body.

Tomatoes have long been touted for the power of C, carotenes and lycopene. All antioxidant nutrients to protect our health but lycopene holds some additional punch. Lycopene has been shown to protect against colon, breast, prostate, lung and skin cancers, reduce macular degeneration and lower the risk of heart disease. Fresh sliced with dulse flakes and pepper or warmed in a nourishing soup are just some of the ways we can enrich our diets with tomatoes.

A dense rich purple colour says a lot about the potency of antioxidants in the eggplant and in particular the skin of this nightshade. One particular antioxidant, nasunin, works its magic in two special ways, by protecting cell membranes from damage and helping maintain a careful balance of iron and transporting any excess out of the body.  Roasting eggplants with a drizzle of miso glaze is my pick for this plant.

With fibre, thiamine, folate, vitamin C, K and B6, capsicum is one of the most nutrient rich vegetables hanging in the nightshade family. Research in the treatment of cataracts and reducing the risk of heart attack has shown increased consumption of capsicum to have a powerful effect. Capsicum is versatile and sweet, ready to be eaten whole to replace fruits, with hummus for extra protein, or stuffed with herbed quinoa and baked for a delicious boost of phytochemicals in your day. 

Jacqueline Alwill

Jacqueline is an Accredited Nutritional Medicine Practitioner specialising in family and early childhood nutrition and gut health. She writes for several media publications, hosts a regular nutrition segment on Channel 7 and in 2016 published her first book, "Seasons to Share" (Murdoch Books). Jacqueline is passionate about working with corporations and brands to support and educate their community and audience and is currently a media spokesperson and ambassador for Remedy Drinks, Eimele Australia, Woolworths, Kitchenaid and Nutrition Director at Bondi Bubs Wholefoods. She is mum to Jet and outside her working hours you'll find her with her family in the surf, on the beach, or out and about in nature.

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