It is not common knowledge, but nicotine is actually in a few common foods that we consume on a regular basis. Most of the foods that contain nicotine are from the Solanaceae (Nightshade) family, but not all of them.
Tomatoes contain approximately 7.1 ng (nano gram) of nicotine in every gram of tomato. As the tomato ripens, it has been noted that the nicotine content decreases. The actual nicotine alkaloid found in a tomato is tomatine. Tomatoes are a great source of potassium, phosphorus, calcium, vitamin C, and folate.
Eggplant is another common food that contains nicotine. Eggplants contain the second highest amount of nicotine in the Nightshade family, while Tobacco is the first. Eggplants have approximately 100 ng of nicotine per eggplant. Eggplants are a fantastic source of fiber. Eggplants also contain nasunin, a very strong antioxidant. Nasunin helps protect the body against free radicals.
Unlike tomatoes and eggplant, cauliflower is not a member of the nightshade family. Cauliflower is known to have 16.8 ng/g of nicotine, even though it is not a member of the nightshade family. According to MyHealthyFoods.com, regular consumption of cauliflower promotes numerous health benefits including detoxification, protection against certain cancers, and protection against rheumatoid arthritis.
When potatoes are first sprouting, they have an approximate nicotine content of 42.8 ng/g. Once the potato is fully ripened, it is estimated that their nicotine content is only 4.3 ng/g. The skin of a potato also contains the nicotine alkaloid solanine. Potatoes are a well known source of vitamin B6, vitamin A, and potassium. Regular consumption of potatoes has been linked to a reduced risk of heart attack. Along with the cardiovascular related benefits of potatoes, they have also been linked to lower blood pressure in those that consume them on a regular basis.
Research indicated that both caffeinated and decaf green & black tea have a small amount of nicotine. Instant teas have been shown to have a much higher nicotine content than brewed teas. Tea, specifically green tea, has been linked to a multitude of health benefits. Researchers have indicated that some of the health benefits from regular tea consumption include a lower risk for heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.
6. Peppers and Capsicums
Common peppers are reported to have solanine and solanadine, which are both nicotine alkaloids. Most common peppers are estimated to have 7.7 – 9.2 mg per 100 gram serving.