Are Green Potatoes Poisonous?

Green potatoes contain a natural toxin called solanine.

Solanine is a glycoalkaloid poison produced in the green part of the potato (the leaves, the stem, and any green spots on the skin). This bitter poisonous crystalline alkaloid is part of the plant's defenses against insects, disease, and predators. 

Potato leaves and stems are naturally high in glycoalkaloids, so ingestion of these parts of the plant should be avoided.

But don't worry! You are unlikely to ingest enough solanine from eating green potatoes to do you any serious harm.

Solanine starts to develop in potatoes when they are subjected to light and/or very cold or very warm temperatures. The toxin messes with the body's ability to use a particular chemical that allows the transmission of impulses between cells. Ingested in large enough amounts, it can cause vomiting, diarrhea, headaches, and even paralysis of the central nervous system.

Unless you're making it your mission in life and deliberately seeking out green potatoes to eat, you are unlikely to ingest enough of the toxin to do harm! 

The potatoes in the stores today contain such a minute amount of the chemical that a healthy adult would have to eat about 4-1/2 pounds at one sitting to experience any neurological symptoms.

So in other words, don't worry about having the occasional green potato chip, but do discard any potatoes that have green eyes, sprouts, or greenish skins, rather than prepare and serve them, especially to children. (Children's smaller body size makes them more susceptible to ill effects.)

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Are Green Potatoes Poisonous? Are Green Potatoes Poisonous? Reviewed by Admin on 16:19:00 Rating: 5
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