I struggle to sleep well at night and when I mentioned it to a friend, she said it could make me gain weight and lead to health issues. Is that true?

Humans have a biological clock which is in sync with the sun and the moon. It’s called the circadian rythm. Our body produces melatonin, the sleep hormone, after sunset and late evening. Our deepest sleep is around 2am – 4am and the body temperature is low at this time, enabling the system to rest well. With sunrise, blood pressure and body temperature rise, preparing our body to wake up. Melatonin production goes down, while adrenaline, testosterone and cortisol go up making you feel more alert and fresh. Planning activities according to your circadian rhythm will ensure that the cells work optimally resulting in better energy, alertness, concentration, and endurance. By not following the internal clock, you are disturbing the basic functions of the body, including metabolism, mood, blood sugar levels. As the metabolic hormones are released between morning and early evening, eating late night or at odd hours would lead to weight gain.

Some diets advise against nightshade veggies – what are they and am I better off not eating them?

Nightshade vegetables are the edible parts of flowering plants that belong to the plant family Solanaceae. There are many nightshade vegetables and most of us are going to be healthier eating them than avoiding them. But if you have a leaky gut or an auto immune disease the cause of which is a leaky gut, you need to avoid the following vegetables: tomatoes, white potatoes, eggplant, okra, peppers, baby tomatoes, gooseberries, melons, cayenne pepper and potato starch (found in processed food like gluten-free bread too). The main problem with these vegetables are the alkaloids present in them – solanine, capsaicin and nicotine are the main ones. The last alkaloid nicotine found in fries (made from potato) and ketchup (made from tomatoes) raises valid questions, such as why we are so addicted to both of these and the combination. These alkaloids can cause more sensitivities and further more inflammation in those struggling with a leaky gut. You should also look out for symptoms like heart burn, IBS issues and joint pain after eating these. If you do have symptoms, refraining from them is a good idea.