What are the risks of eating raw potatoes?

Fact Checked

There are many vegetables that are usually eaten raw as well as cooked. Generally, raw vegetables are bright in color, fresh flavored and juicy. Nevertheless, there are some vegetables that are seldom eaten raw and potato is one of them. Although potatoes can be eaten as raw, the slight bitterness and starchy texture are unappealing to many. The raw potatoes are not intrinsically toxic, but there are various reasons to be careful when eating them raw.

If you are planning to consume raw potatoes, it is best to be careful since it might lead to health issues. It is ideal to play safe by sticking with well-cooked potatoes.

Gas and bloating

Since potatoes are indigestible, raw potatoes pass through the upper intestines with minimal changes. They go through the lower intestines intact where they start to ferment under the presence of the intestinal bacteria. The outcome of the fermentation is the production of gas which leads to bloating, flatulence and cramping. Even though none of these effects are a threat to the health, it can cause discomfort and inconvenience.

Raw potatoes
Since potatoes are indigestible, raw potatoes pass through the upper intestines with minimal changes. They go through the lower intestines intact where they start to ferment under the presence of the intestinal bacteria. The outcome of the fermentation is the production of gas which leads to bloating, flatulence and cramping.

Indigestibility

It is important to note that potatoes are essentially a good source of nutrition. Most of the food value of potatoes is in the form of starchy carbohydrates. The carbohydrates are one of the primary fuels of the human body but it is digested poorly. Just like with grain, the starch in potatoes are indigestible and provide minimal nutritional value unless they were initially cooked.

Food-borne illness

Just like with any raw food, raw potatoes presents the risk of food-borne illness. Always bear in mind that illnesses are triggered by a small percentage of bacteria and other microorganisms that are usually present on foods. By cooking vegetables, it prevents illness by heating and eliminating the pathogens. Any vegetable that is eaten raw must be initially washed thoroughly and then peeled, if needed. When it comes to potatoes, care must be observed in order to eliminate all traces of soil from the skin. Once you suspect that an individual acquired a food-borne illness after eating raw potatoes, it is best to carry out the appropriate measures to ease the symptoms. All you have to do is to enroll in a first aid course today.

Toxicity

Potatoes are included in the nightshade family along with eggplants, tomatoes, tobacco and peppers. All members of this group are known to protect themselves using toxic alkaloids and this is true for potatoes. Always bear in mind that potatoes produce two alkaloids – chaconine and solanine that are both dangerous to humans. Nevertheless, green or sprouted potatoes usually have elevated amounts of solanine. The solanine will cause nausea, diarrhea, headaches, cramping and severe cases of organ failure and death. When it comes to green potatoes, they must not be eaten either raw or cooked.

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