Can you eat a raw potato?

In this brief guide, we’ll address the query: “Can you eat a raw potato?” Also, we’ll explore what happens if you eat a raw potato, how potatoes can be cooked, what the nutritional content of potatoes is, and what are the health benefits of eating potatoes

Can you eat a raw potato? 

While it’s possible to eat raw potatoes, but it is discouraged, due to the presence of metabolites in them that only cooking breaks down. 

Namely, the compounds solanine and lectin may antagonize the benefits that eating a potato could provide you with. Therefore, it’s best to always cook potatoes before eating. 

Solanine is a secondary metabolite that works as a toxin to discourage predators from consuming a potato’s starchy flesh. Other compounds present in potatoes can have similar effects. 

Lectin is a compound that can be found in elevated concentrations in potatoes. Dubbed an “antinutrient” , its ingestion reduces the absorption of nutrients in the digestive tract, as it binds to carbohydrates. As a result, you’re eating, but not being nourished by your food. 

What happens if you eat a raw potato? 

If you eat a raw potato, you risk ingesting potentially noxious amounts of solanine and lectin, as well as other alkaloids present in the potato. 

You may be sick by suffering symptoms of intoxication from solanine, such as vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, muscle aches, abdominal aches, and others. 

Alternatively, you may be malnourished if you regularly eat raw potatoes, due to their lectin content. 

Also, the ingestion of raw potatoes may be coupled with soil-borne pathogens on the peel and in the lenticels (the pores on the peel). 

To summarize, eating raw potatoes can make you sick, and you should avoid it. 

How can I cook potatoes? 

Potatoes can be cooked in a variety of ways, such as boiling, baking, deep frying, sautéeing, stewing, grilling, and many others. 

However, for all methods save for baking, it’s necessary to boil potatoes so that they’re tenderized, and the secondary metabolites present in them are broken down and they leach out into the water. 

From there, they can be cooked per a recipe’s instructions. 

What is the nutritional content of potatoes? 

On average, a 105-gram portion of potatoes will provide: 

  • 82 calories – of which 0.8 are sourced from fat
  • 2.2 grams of protein
  • 0.1 grams of fat
  • 18.5 grams of carbohydrates (6% of the recommended daily intake) – of which 2.3 grams are dietary fiber (9% of the recommended daily intake), and 0.8 grams are sugar.
  • 6.5 milligrams of sodium
  • 452.5 milligrams of potassium (13% of the recommended daily intake) 

Additionally, the same portion can provide 35% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin C, 1% of the RDI of calcium, and 4.8% of the RDI of iron. 

*Recommended daily intake values are calculated based on a diet of 2000 calories per day. 

What are the health benefits of eating potatoes? 

When cooked healthily and consumed in moderation, potatoes can provide you with health benefits. They’re a good source of energy, vitamin C, potassium, fiber, and antioxidants. 

The ascorbic acid (vitamin C) present in potatoes is essential for immune function, tissue repair, and the formation of blood vessels.  

Potatoes were the most feasible source of vitamin C in many countries of the northern hemisphere such as Scotland, Ireland, and Russia, and their jeopardized production was at the root of one of the most symbolic migrations in history

Additionally, potatoes are a source of fiber, which is essential for digestive function and overall gut health. 

Potatoes also contain antioxidants that can help you stave off damage caused by oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is associated with the early onset of diseases such as cancer, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, liver disease, and cognitive disorders. 

The potassium found in potatoes is also essential for you to maintain healthy blood pressure levels, and for the optimum functioning of muscles and nerves. 

However, these benefits can easily be trumped if potatoes are cooked in an unhealthy manner.

Deep frying potatoes can increase their added fat content, making them less nourishing. 

Processed potatoes can also have high amounts of sodium, whose excessive intake is linked to an increased risk of kidney stones, heart disease, stomach cancer, and other health problems. 

To summarize, you should eat potatoes with as little added fat and sodium as possible, and they should be incorporated into a balanced diet, coupled with an active lifestyle. 

Conclusion

This brief guide addressed the query: “Can you eat a raw potato?” Also, we’ve explored what happens if you eat a raw potato, how potatoes can be cooked, what the nutritional content of potatoes is, and what are the health benefits of eating potatoes

References 

https://www.webmd.com/diet/foods-high-in-lectins#:~:text=A%20lectin%2C%20also%20known%20as,others%20may%20pose%20health%20risks.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/neuroscience/solanine#:~:text=Solanine%20is%20toxic%20and%20has,and%20leaves%20of%20tomato%20plants.

https://www.webmd.com/diet/health-benefits-potatoes

https://www.nutritionix.com/food/raw-potato

https://www.webmd.com/diet/foods-high-in-lectins#:~:text=A%20lectin%2C%20also%20known%20as,others%20may%20pose%20health%20risks.

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/raw-potatoes

https://www.tastingtable.com/796721/are-raw-potatoes-safe-to-eat/#:~:text=It’s%20not%20the%20best%20idea%20to%20eat%20raw%20potatoes&text=While%20potatoes%20can%20be%20eaten,diarrhea%2C%20and%20other%20gastrointestinal%20issues.

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/what-happens-if-you-eat-too-much-salt#bottom-line

https://www.healthline.com/health/heart-disease/good-fats-vs-bad-fats

https://www.history.com/topics/immigration/irish-potato-famine

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