Is the green part of potatoes toxic? What you should know

Many people wonder if the green part of potatoes is toxic. There are even those who discard this food when it has many areas of this color on its surface. However, we are going to tell you what science says about it and the measures you have to take in the event of finding a tuber with these characteristics.

Note that the introduction of toxic compounds into the body can cause intestinal and liver problems. The liver is the organ that is responsible for metabolizing most of the bioactive elements. Some of them can cause inflammation and put normal functioning at risk.

Why do potatoes turn green?

Sometimes we can see a green area on the surface of the potatoes. This is due to the presence of solanine, a compound that acts as a natural pesticide, preventing pathogens from colonizing it.

It must be borne in mind that solanine is a toxic substance that is found mainly in the skin, so when removed, the consumption of the potato is safe. There are several models carried out in animals that affirm that solanine can generate an increase in cell apoptosis, which results in the destruction of certain tissues.

Cooking the potato inactivates the substance, so frying it completely reduces the risk. However, cooking with water or in the microwave does not manage to generate the same effect, being necessary, in this case, to avoid consuming the skin in case of doubts.

On the other hand, the good conservation of potatoes, in a dark and cool place, prevents the toxic content from increasing on a daily basis.

Potatoes are grown in various regions of the world and their consumption is widespread throughout the planet.

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What are the effects of green potatoes on the body?

If green potatoes with high amounts of solanine are consumed (with skin and without being fried) a series of adverse effects can be experienced. These are usually gastrointestinal or neurological in nature.

Nausea, vomiting and dizziness stand out above all. A high intake of the poison could cause death, although for this it is prices to consume 2 kilograms of potatoes with a high solanine content.

According to a study published in the journal Frontiers in Microbiology, the danger arises when the concentration of solanine in potatoes exceeds 200 milligrams per kilogram. In this case, health is put at risk, so it is advisable to comply with good conservation practices with this food.

How to reduce the solanine content of potatoes?

Discarding the skin of the potatoes reduces the amount of solanine in them by 80%, so they would no longer represent a high risk to health. We must also remove the green parts of the potatoes, since these are the ones that have a greater amount of the toxic compound.

At the same time, the potatoes should be stored in a place with low humidity. Otherwise, this fungicide could proliferate.

We have already mentioned that frying inactivates the solanine in the green parts of potatoes. In this case, you don't have to worry at all. However, if you prepare them cooked, it is best to always remove the skin to minimize risks. Baking also achieves effective inactivation, especially when a jet of oil is poured over it.

As a curiosity, it should be noted that the potential of solanine itself is currently being investigated to prevent the growth of tumor cells of colon cancers. Certain positive effects have been shown in models in vitro, although more ambitious trials are needed before starting their routine use. It is by no means a first line of approach in oncology.

When frying the potatoes, the toxic solanine is inactivated, so there is no risk of poisoning.

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Avoid eating the green areas of potatoes

The green zone of potatoes concentrates a large amount of solanine, toxic compound that can adversely affect health. This substance is also found in the skin, so you have to discard it, unless you are going to fry the food.

Remember that people with food poisoning come to the emergency room every day, which in certain cases can seriously compromise their health. The less risk you take about it, the better.

If you follow good food hygiene and food preservation practices, it is unlikely that you will suffer an incident of this type. Whenever you doubt the safety of some food, it is better to avoid it. Otherwise, you could suffer a later symptomatic picture that would have been avoidable.