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Is it dangerous to eat green or sprouted potatoes? – this is what experts say

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Jiya Saini
Jiya Saini is a Journalist and Writer at Revyuh.com. She has been working with us since January 2018. After studying at Jamia Millia University, she is fascinated by smart lifestyle and smart living. She covers technology, games, sports and smart living, as well as good experience in press relations. She is also a freelance trainer for macOS and iOS, and In the past, she has worked with various online news magazines in India and Singapore. Email: jiya (at) revyuh (dot) com

Potatoes are one of the most popular foods worldwide and are part of the typical dish of many nations. However, not all people know that this tuber can contain high concentrations of toxic substances and its color can tell us how dangerous it is.

You have probably heard that you should not eat the green part of the potato (or the one with tinge or sprouts) and, to the surprise of many, this is not just a popular myth. Yes, it turns out that the grandmothers were right.

What is the problem with the green parts?

The greenish color is due to the presence of glycoalkaloids, a family of compounds among which are alpha-solanine and alpha-chaconine. These toxic alkaloids with a bitter taste are intended to protect the potato from parasites and are found in higher concentrations on the skin and sprouts.

The toxicity of these compounds is due to the fact that they are inhibitors of acetylcholinesterase, an enzyme essential for the normal functioning of the nervous system. These compounds work in the same way as some synthetic insecticides. Even the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) warned about the possible toxic effects of a green potato.

Is it harmful for humans?

The ingestion of this substance can cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, especially in minors. Solanine is toxic to the nervous system and intoxication is manifested mainly by gastrointestinal and neurological disorders. In addition, it can negatively affect the permeability of the intestine.

However, studies have shown that high amounts must be consumed to pose a deadly danger to human health.

What to do to avoid this?

The solution to this problem is quite simple. You should try to buy potatoes without sprouts that do not have any green spots. 

In addition, it is preferable to buy those that have been in less contact with light.

It has been shown that light can cause a faster greening of this tuber. That is why after buying, it is recommended to store it in a dark place where it does not receive any type of light, natural or artificial. 

It is also not advisable to place them in the refrigerator since it favors the appearance of sugars that affect it.

In case you have no choice but to consume a green potato, it is best to remove the greenest part and peel it, since as explained above these toxins accumulate more in the skin.

The next time you make yourself some fries, remember to observe their color and if they have sprouts. 

Image Credit: Getty

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