Can you still eat sweet potatoes that have sprouts?

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “can you still eat sweet potatoes that have sprouts” with an in-depth analysis of risks and issues related to the eating of sweet potatoes with sprouts. Moreover, we are going to highlight what the sprouting of sweet potatoes is, why sprouting leads to green tinting, and how we can prevent sprouting.

Can you still eat sweet potatoes that have sprouts?

Sweet potatoes that have sprouts grown on them can be eaten after with the sprouts as the sprouts grown on sweet potatoes are not harmful and have nutrients though, in small amounts, in them. The sprouts on potatoes are considered poisonous due to the presence of high concentrations of glycoalkaloids but they are not poisonous if grown on sweet potatoes.

The sprouting is also associated with some changes in the internal properties of potatoes, such as the potatoes becoming soft that is unacceptable to eat. Therefore, one should check the firmness of sweet potatoes before eating as firm potatoes with sprouts can still have nutrients and can be eaten.

Sprouting of sweet potatoes:

Sprouts that are commonly known as eyes on sweet potatoes mostly appear due to the high exposure to a moist and warm environment that allows the formation of eyes on the sweet potatoes in which a toxic compound glycoalkaloid is present. But in the case of sweet potatoes, the eyes or sprouts are not harmful and are thought to have the same nutrients as those in the sprouted sweet potatoes.

With the sprouting, the internal starches of sweet potatoes also start converting into simple sugars after which the potatoes start to lose their nutrients and become soft and wrinkly. Such potatoes should not be eaten as they do not provide any health benefit and can be a source of toxic compounds even after removing the sprouts from the surface.

Sprouted sweet potatoes are safe to eat:

Sweet potatoes with sprouts can be eaten and are not known to cause any health hazard or risk when consumed. They are thought to contain the same amount of nutrients as the potatoes without sprouts and are still tasty. It depends on you that if you feel uncomfortable with the sprouts, you can remove them otherwise they are not toxic or harmful and can be eaten along with the tubers. For further details, you can look here.

On the other hand, sprouted sweet potatoes are considered beneficial in that they contain a high amount of vitamin A that protects the eyes from damages caused by UV rays. This vitamin is also known to prevent the loss of vision. The sprouted sweet potatoes are even considered nutritious and provide many other benefits, such as stimulating weight loss, reducing anxiety and stress, boosting brain functions,  maintaining gut health, and preventing memory loss.

Green tint with sprouting:

Sprouted sweet potatoes may also become green due to the high exposure to sunlight, which means that the toxic compounds are in the potatoes. So, one should be careful with this and should remove the green part before consumption or should buy such potatoes that are yellow without any sprouts.

You may notice that with the sprouts, the surface and flesh of sweet potatoes also become greenish. This happens when the potatoes are exposed to high amounts of sunlight and as a result of this high exposure, a compound, solanine is formed.

Solanine is toxic when consumed in large amounts and can cause a lot of symptoms, including diarrhea, stomach cramps, and vomiting. Therefore, the potatoes with a green tint are unsafe to eat and the greenish part should be removed before eating along with sprouts.

In standard potatoes, these alkaloids interfere with the ability of the body to regulate acetylcholine, a chemical that is responsible for conducting nerve impulses, when consumed in high amounts. In this way, alkaloids cause toxic effects to the nervous system and should be avoided as much as possible.

Preventing sprouting or greening:

The best option you can do is to save your potatoes from being sprouted or become green as they both are associated with adverse health outcomes. For this purpose, you should store the sweet potatoes in a cool, dry, and dark place.

Don’t expose them to water through washing before storing as the water or moisture becomes trapped in them and can help to give a humid environment to the potatoes. Try to store them in brown paper, open-air, or in plastic bags with holes to allow proper ventilation through them. Check your potatoes regularly and throw away those having a green appearance or sprouts.

Conclusion:

In this brief guide, we answered the question “can you still eat sweet potatoes that have sprouts” with an in-depth analysis of the outcomes of eating sprouted sweet potatoes. Moreover, we discussed what is the sprouting of sweet potatoes, how sprouting is linked with green tinting, is eating sprouted sweet potatoes risky, and how can we prevent sprouting or the greening of sweet potatoes.

Citations:

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/sprouted-potato
https://www.thespruceeats.com/is-it-safe-to-eat-a-sprouted-potato-1389272

Mahnoor Asghar is a Clinical Nutritionist with a bachelor's degree in Nutrition and Dietetics. She is compassionate and dedicated to playing her part in the well-being of the masses. She wants to play a fruitful role in creating nutrition and health-related awareness among the general public. Additionally, she has a keen eye for detail and loves to create content related to food, nutrition, health, and wellness.