(Greening of the potato tubers)
Solanine is a poisonous compound that acts as a potato plant’s defense system — it’s also found in certain nightshade species, including tomatoes, tobacco, and eggplant. It forms in potatoes that have been exposed to sunlight, excessive heat, or an extreme temperature shift, meaning that green or sprouted potatoes can contain high levels of solanine. When it’s consumed, solanine can cause gastric and neurological duress such as nausea, stomach cramps, vomiting, dizziness, and headaches. However, more severe effects include paralysis, jaundice, loss of sensation, and hallucination.
Lectins are a type of protein that binds to carbohydrates that exist in most foods. Legumes, grains, and plants in the nightshade family (potatoes!) contain high amounts of lectin, and these levels are even higher in raw foods. When consumed in large amounts, lectins can cause nausea, upset stomach, vomiting, and diarrhoea. You’d have to eat a lot of lectins to get sick — an entire raw potato, perhaps — but it’s never smart to willingly invite gastrointestinal disaster. Plus, all you need to do to reduce those lectins is cook your potato.
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