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Food Safety: Should You Eat Raw Potatoes?

Potatoes are perhaps the most versatile ingredients you can possibly have in your kitchen. Still, many people never think about eating potatoes raw but there are those who wonder what will happen if you do — for example, in a raw salad. Keep reading to find out.

By Cookist

Most times people only eat raw potatoes when they're preparing them to be moved to the oven or stove.

If you've ever wondered what might happen if you consumed a raw potato, you're reading the right article.

Can You Eat Raw Potatoes?


Raw potatoes can be eaten but you may want to think twice about doing so.

This is because they contain solanine and lectins, compounds that can cause gastric distress and potentially make you sick.

In addition, raw potatoes also contain resistant starch, which is difficult to digest, and their overall taste and texture is nothing like what the cooked ones offer.

Compounds That Make Eating Raw Potato Risky

  • Solanine

Solanine is a poisonous compound that naturally works as the potato plant's defense system. It can also be found in certain nightshade species, including tomatoes, tobacco, and eggplant.

It forms in potatoes that have been exposed to sunlight, excessive heat, or an extreme temperature shift.

When consumed, solanine can trigger gastric and neurological duress such as nausea, stomach cramps, vomiting, dizziness, and headaches.

The more severe effects include paralysis, jaundice, loss of sensation, and hallucination.

  • Lectins

This type of protein binds to carbohydrates that exist in most foods. Legumes, grains, and plants in the nightshade family including potatoes, contain high amounts of lectin, and these levels are even higher in raw foods.

If consumed in large amounts, lectins can cause nausea, upset stomach, vomiting, and diarrhea. However, all you need to do to reduce the lectin content of your potatoes is cook them.

Your health matters! While raw potatoes may seem tempting, it's essential to prioritize food safety. Next time you're in doubt, remember to cook your potatoes thoroughly to prevent potential risks. Join us in promoting safe and delicious culinary practices.

Eat smart, stay healthy!

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