Most vegetables can be eaten raw. However, there are exceptions. One of them is potatoes. It is simply dangerous to eat this vegetable without heat treatment. And for a variety of reasons.
Solanine One of the main reasons is solanine, a poison found in tubers. Most of all it is in the tops and in the “berries” formed from potato flowers. Thanks to them, in the past, they thought that this culture was inedible. When potatoes were just brought from North America, European peasants even refused to plant the vegetable and eat it due to some cases of poisoning.
In fact, the whole point is that most did not know: you need to eat tubers. And processed in a certain way. Then no problem arises.
Solanine becomes deadly in very large quantities, starting from 200 mg. The exact dosage depends on the person's weight, the condition of the kidneys and liver. But from 400 mg most die anyway.
Greenish potatoes usually have elevated levels of solanine.
If you have ever noticed that green tubers are strongly discouraged from eating, then this is directly related to solanine. It is he who colors the skin in an emerald hue with a slight admixture of earthy. True, in tubers, regardless of their type, there is still too little solanine to be seriously poisoned, even if the potatoes are eaten raw. But there will be no health benefits either.
Parasites Solanine , however, is far from the only problem that those wishing to eat raw potatoes will face. Tubers can be infected with worm eggs. They adapt very well to the ground, and the soil allows the parasites to survive even harsh winters. And do not forget that everything may not be limited exclusively to worms alone. There are other parasites, and in large numbers.
For this reason, all vegetables and fruits must be thoroughly washed before use. And potatoes are best cooked. The fact is that in the skin of the tubers there may be microcracks that people will not notice during normal cleaning. But this is enough for parasites to get inside and lay eggs there. Heat treatment kills such animals, thereby protecting humans.
Our body's reaction to starch Any potato is rich in starch to one degree or another. Some tubers contain more of it, others – an order of magnitude less. But in one amount or another, it is present everywhere.
The human body is not designed to assimilate starch in its pure form, that is, without heat treatment. And this is especially felt when the substance is absorbed in significant volumes. So the passion for raw potatoes can turn into significant gastrointestinal problems: constipation or upset, flatulence, cramps, discomfort. Useful substances will be difficult to absorb. Of course, this is not as dangerous as poison or parasites. But pleasant is also not enough.
Fertilizer Traces and Colorado Potato Beetle Treatments The potatoes we buy in the store are grown on an industrial scale. And it is clear that no one will manually collect the Colorado potato beetle in such volumes. Chemicals are used to protect the crop. Most of them are allowed by state standards precisely because these compounds break down during heat treatment. But at the same time, officials who approve such requirements and criteria for assessing the safety of the use of various substances are counting on the fact that the consumer will expose the potatoes to high temperatures.
Colorado potato beetle, or Colorado potato beetle, or potato leaf beetle.
In other words: store potatoes can be eaten, but not raw. Bake, boil, fry – no problem, everything is safe according to established standards.
Adaptation of the gastrointestinal tract Potatoes were brought to Europe relatively recently. Nevertheless, enough time has passed since then for us to integrate it into the food chain familiar to our organisms. Only we, like our ancestors, are accustomed to eating boiled or baked potatoes. Not soggy anyway. This means that there are microorganisms that are beneficial to us in the digestive tract, which will participate in the digestion of just such food. However, raw potatoes can cause harmful imbalances.
Nowadays there are more and more fans of raw food diet. They point out that this is a return to basics, good for health. But if a raw cucumber or tomato really, at least, will not harm the body, then with potatoes this cannot be said for sure. And isolated cases do not allow making an unambiguous conclusion about the harmlessness of such food practice. Therefore, it is best not to experiment, but to subject the vegetable to heat treatment.