Potatoes are one of the favorite and most frequently eaten vegetables in Poland. The recipe for dishes from this product is really a lot – everyone will find something tasty potato for themselves. Unfortunately, it happens that potatoes can cause food poisoning and even lead to death. And all due to the chemical substance – solanine, which occurs in immature or germinating potatoes.
Potatoes are the basis of many households. Research shows that average consumption of potatoes in Poland per person is 112 kg! Among the European Union countries, we rank second in terms of the volume of potato consumption.
Potatoes are an important element of our daily diet. They are a relatively good source of vitamin C, but they also provide a large amount of B vitamins. In addition, potatoes contain important for our body mineral components potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, copper and zinc. Dietary fiber, derived from these vegetables, supports the proper functioning of the digestive system and provides a feeling of fullness.
Threat – solanine
Solanine is an organic chemical compound that in quite high concentrations occurs in the shoots of nightshade plants (eg potatoes and tomatoes). Most often it occurs under the skin or near the so-called mesh. The task of solanine in plants is to protect against pests and diseases. Unfortunately, for humans, this substance, consumed in large quantities, is toxic.
The highest concentration of solanine occurs in immature, green or moldy, overblown, old potatoes. In healthy and peeled potatoes without “eyes”, the content of solanine is about 0.001-0.002% – this content is not dangerous for us, in the non-greening it is as much as 0.55%. The toxic dose of solanine for humans is about 300 mg. Solanine is insoluble in water and resistant to high temperatures – only decomposes above 170 degrees. Cooking and baking will not remove it from vegetables.
Consumption of a large amount of solanine is very dangerous for humans. Initial symptoms of poisoning with this substance are diarrhea, abdominal pain, colic, nausea, vomiting and even depression. Symptoms usually appear after 4-14 h of consumption. In extreme cases, circulatory failure, coma, convulsions and even death may occur.
How to get rid of solanine?
In order not to expose yourself to the dangerous effects of saltine poisoning, you need to follow a few rules. When we follow them, we do not have to worry about the dangers of eating potatoes
– never choose immature, green and old, moldy and faded potatoes
– carefully peel potatoes
– if we decide to prepare potatoes in their uniforms, let’s make a small review under the account of “eyelets”, blooming tubers and greening
– choosing new potatoes, choose only those ripe with high quality and bright, but not greenish skin
– do not store potatoes in lighted rooms, choose dark places, without access to light (the amount of solanine in the beech grows under the influence of light)
Potatoes are a tasty and very popular vegetable in Poland, which is not worth giving up in your daily diet! Nutritional awareness, regarding the content of solanine and observance of the rules of choosing and proper storage of potatoes, will allow us and our Family to enjoy not only the taste but also the health benefits of this vegetable.