Is It Safe to Eat Green Potatoes?

Reviewed on 11/18/2021
green potatoes
Green potatoes contain solanine which irritates the digestive system, making them harmful to eat in large quantities.

When the potato tubers turn green, there is an increase in the content of a glycoalkaloid compound called solanine, which has a bitter taste that can irritate the digestive system. It can be harmful if eaten in large quantities. To be safe, it is best to not eat the green part of tubers.

To prevent potatoes from greening, store them in the absence of light.

A recent study shows that 450 grams (16 oz) of fully green potato can make an adult with lower body mass sick.

Solanine, when consumed in high concentration, can cause the following side effects:

While peeling a completely green potato, you may notice that the flesh is not green. However, these potatoes are still not safe to consume. It is always advisable to throw away potato that tastes bitter.

Why does the potato turn green?

Potato consists of two natural toxins:

  • solanine
  • chaconine

When potatoes are exposed to bright light for a long time, their color changes to green due to the formation of chlorophyll. The presence of chlorophyll increases the production of these two toxins that concentrate in the skin and sprouts.

Peeling the green portion may make the potato safe for consumption. However, never serve green potatoes to the children because their bodies might react immediately to solanine due to lower body mass.

How can you safely store a potato?

It is important to store a potato safely to prevent it from turning green.

  • You can either keep it in a refrigerator at a temperature colder than 40°F.
  • If you do not wish to store it in a refrigerator, you can store it in a cool, dark cabinet away from the light. Ensure the cabinet is away from the gas stove to protect the potatoes from the heat.

6 health benefits of consuming potatoes

Potatoes are rich in various nutrients. Hence, it is essential to include this vegetable in your daily diet.

Some of the health benefits of consuming potatoes include:

  1. Lowers blood pressure: A medium-sized potato provides 620 mg of potassium. It provides 18 percent of the daily recommended amount of potassium. A potassium-rich diet can lower blood pressure, protect the heart, and reduce the risk of stroke.
  2. Protects cells from damage: Potato consists of carotenoids that help the body cells from damage. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables lowers the risk of heart disease and cancer.
  3. Helps prevent constipation and promotes good digestive health: Potato provides eight percent of your daily recommended amount of fiber. It provides both soluble and insoluble fiber and does not cause much bloating compared to other vegetables. Potatoes may prevent or treat constipation and irritable bowel syndrome.
  4. Improves skin texture: Potato with intact skin provides 45 percent of your daily recommended amount of vitamin C, which is necessary to produce collagen, essential to ease wrinkles and improve overall skin texture.
  5. Increases metabolism: A medium potato with intact skin provides 10 percent of the daily recommended vitamin B6, which plays a crucial role in breaking down carbohydrates and proteins to glucose and amino acids that are utilized by the body for energy.
  6. Improves bone health: The iron, phosphorous, calcium, magnesium, and zinc found in potatoes are important for bone structure and strength. A balance of phosphorous and calcium is essential for proper bone mineralization.

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References
Image Source: Getty Images

WebMD. What to Know About Green Potatoes. https://www.webmd.com/diet/what-to-know-about-green-potatoes#2

Petruzzello M. Are Green Potatoes Dangerous to Eat? Britannica Encyclopaedia. https://www.britannica.com/story/are-green-potatoes-dangerous-to-eat

U.S. Department of Agriculture. Are green potatoes dangerous? https://ask.usda.gov/s/article/Are-green-potatoes-dangerous

Waitrovich B. Is it safe to eat a green potato? https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/is_it_safe_to_eat_a_green_potato

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