The Truth Of Green Potatoes

Hi friends, happy Friday!

Am happy to be back this Friday and a big thank you everyone, for your good wishes last week.

Today’s post is about potatoes…not ordinary potatoes though but the green ones!

We were cooking some gravy one day last week and I found a potato with a green part/stain. I promptly threw the whole potato in the trash. My Other Half thought we could have used it and that it was just a bit raw. I told him it was poisonous and he started laughing till he realized I was serious.

I WAS serious and that made me realize that many of us don’t realize that green stained potatoes are poisonous indeed. Hence the topic today.

The green part and a bitter taste both, indicate the presence of toxic substances found in improperly-stored/damaged potatoes, called solanine and chaconine.

When the potatoes are directly exposed to sunlight or are kept in open for too long, they start producing chlorophyll which turns potatoes green. This chlorophyll in itself is not harmful but it can indicate the presence of two glycoalkaloids which are natural toxins: solanine and chaconine.

Nature’s idea, in producing these toxic compounds in exposed potatoes is to save the potatoes from insects, fungi and other animals but for us humans, it doesn’t sound like a great idea.

The highest concentration is found in the skin and the sprouts.

What Are These Toxic Elements?

Solanine is normally always present in potatoes but in such low quantities that it has no adverse effects on us, even when we have lots of them. When the potatoes are exposed to sunlight, they produce more of it.

Chlorophyll stains are green in colour and in general indicate the presence of solanine and chaconine, though that’s not a thumb rule. They don’t come hand-in-hand. However, that’s a risk I am not willing to take. So, I just discard green-stained potatoes.

Solanine and chaconine are toxic phytochemical which can be:

  • damaging to our intestinal wall membrane
  • are also an enzyme-inhibitor that affects the breakdown of certain neurotransmitters

They can cause symptoms such as :

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea and other gastro-intestinal disturbances
  • Headache and stomach-ache
  • Fever
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Confusion

In extreme cases, solanine is toxic enough to cause paralysis and even death. In general, 1.25mg per kg of body weight is enough to cause symptoms. Sooner in children.

What Shall We do?

Taking care of these glycoalkaloids, thankfully is quite easy. Fortunately, poisoning from green potatoes is also not very common. As it is, one needs to ingest a lot of it to experience any adverse effects but still, just take care of these points and cut any risk whatsoever:

  • While buying – Keep an eye while buying potatoes and don’t buy the ones which have green spots/stains on them
  • Purchase small quantities in one go
  • Storing potatoes properly – At home, store potatoes away from direct sun-light and specifically in a deep, dark spot of kitchen/pantry. One can always store potatoes inside a cupboard too
  • Don’t consume very old potatoes especially if they were not stored properly
  • Peeling, boiling, cooking and baking does not remove these toxins from potatoes
  • Storing in refrigerator is also not ideal

Please remember that even if the green stain is removed after peeling the potato, it is best to still not consume that one. If any part tastes bitter, throw it away like it burned your hand!

Hope you found today’s post useful. Do share around so that people are aware of the truth of green potatoes. For more and regular updates on Health, Nutrition and Fitness, do join me on Instagram on this link:

Till next Friday

Love, Health & Peace