Can you eat potatoes raw? (+3 health risks)

In this article, we will answer if you can eat raw potatoes or not, what are the possible health benefits and risks associated with eating uncooked potatoes?

Can you eat potatoes raw?

Yes, potatoes can be eaten raw in a variety of ways. While the raw form provides nutrients that the cooked does not, but one cannot simply prefer eating raw food just because it provides more nutrients when there are potential health risks associated with eating it raw.

Read on if you want to know what affects does eating uncooked potatoes has on our body.

Health benefits of eating raw potatoes

Resistant starch content

Potatoes are included in the foods with high resistant starch content. Other foods include maize, tapioca, wheat, rice, etc. As the name suggests, this type of starch is resistant to digestion in the small intestine. But when passes into the large intestine, it is fermented to produce gas and fatty acids that act as a prebiotic for the probiotics present in the gut.

  • Resistant starch promotes insulin sensitivity, controls blood sugar levels, and therefore controlling hunger and weight.
  • Resistant starch is converted into a short-chain fatty acid compound called butyric acid, also called butyrate. This fatty acid has been found to possess anti-inflammatory and anti-cancerous properties.
  • Because of its laxative properties, butyric acid has been found to relieve the symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome(IBS)

High Ascorbic acid content

Ascorbic acid is a water-soluble and heat-sensitive vitamin. It is commonly called vitamin C.Raw potatoes have twice as much ascorbic acid as baked potatoes. In addition to that, raw potatoes are also rich in thiamine and riboflavin.

Vitamin C acts as an excellent antioxidant to fight oxidative stress. Free radicals that are formed as a result of oxidative stress cause atherosclerosis and cancer.

It is great for skin and bone health because it plays an important role in collagen production. 

Raw potatoes also offer lesser calories and carbs than their baked counterpart.

Health risks of eating raw potatoes

Reduced bioavailability of nutrients

Raw potatoes contain anti-nutrient substances like trypsin protein inhibitor and lectin. These substances meddle with the digestion and absorption of different nutrients resulting in deficiencies of major and minor nutrients.

Studies have shown that cooking potatoes reduce the levels of these nutrients by 50%. These substances result in serious deficiencies in people whose staple ingredient of diet is grains, legumes, or tubers.

Presence of toxic compounds

All members, except the sweet potatoes of the nightshade family, produce glycoalkaloids. Potatoes, or more specifically, green potatoes produce 2 types of these compounds, namely solanine, and chaconine.

When these toxic compounds are ingested at high levels, they result in symptoms like itchiness, fatigue, and digestive issues including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, etc. They may also prove to be fatal.

  • In order to lower the risk, avoid eating green or sprouted potatoes altogether, or peel the green skin before cooking. 
  • Store the potatoes away from sunlight to prevent them from turning green or sprouting.

Digestive problems

The resistant starch in the raw potatoes can lead to stomach unease including flatulence and diarrhea. These symptoms can be worse for people with IBS, IBD, and other gut-related problems.

Raw potatoes may have traces of pesticides, fungicides, and pathogenic bacteria in the soil even after washing and peeling. Hence, eating uncooked potatoes is associated with higher risks of food poisoning.

What is better-raw or cooked?

We suggest eating both cooked and uncooked potatoes at moderate levels. While raw potatoes are rich in some nutrients, their cooked counterparts have improved bioavailability. 

In addition to that, cooked potatoes are more palatable. Heating and cooking potatoes result in a Maillard reaction that results in more appetizing and palate friendly flavors. Raw potatoes taste bitter and are not very palate-friendly.

How to eat potatoes?

  • Add raw potatoes to your salad bowls by either grating them or cutting them into thin slices to make them more palatable. Add cream, season with your favorite spices topped with basil leaves.
  • Make mashed potatoes with cream and serve as a side mouth-watering side dish. Use mashed potatoes to make potato soup, add leeks to enhance flavor.
  • Make Hasselback potatoes and top with your favorite herbs and spices. Melt cheese on top.
  • Make crispy fries and serve with steak.
  • Make potato and spinach casserole or make chowder soup with bacon or rotisserie chicken.
  • Bake potato skin with chorizo fondue filling.
  • Add in shepherd’s pie or omelet.
  • Season roasted or mashed potatoes with vinaigrette.
  • Bake potatoes until crispy and enjoy with nacho sauce.

Conclusion

In this article, we answered if you can eat raw potatoes or not, what are the possible health benefits and risks associated with eating uncooked potatoes?

References

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/raw-potatoes#raw-vs-cooked

https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/sdut-1f5focusm195324-pros-and-cons-munching-raw-potatoe-2009aug05-story.html

https://www.myrecipes.com/healthy-diet/is-it-safe-to-eat-raw-potatoes

Sana Ameer

Hello, I'm Sana Ameer. I'm a student of Food Science and Technology at UVAS. I like to bake and I aspire to become a Food blogger.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *