Various vegetables are eaten raw but potatoes are seldom eaten in this manner. Generally, raw vegetables have a bright appearance and fresh or juicy flavored. Nevertheless, there are some vegetables that are rarely eaten raw and this includes potatoes.
Even though they can be consumed raw, their starchy texture and slight bitterness makes them unappealing. Remember that the raw ones are not characteristically toxic but there are various reasons to be careful.
Difficult to digest
Potatoes provide starchy carbohydrates. Take note that carbohydrates are one of the primary fuels in the human body but raw starch is poorly digested. Similar with grain, the starch in potatoes are difficult to digest and provide less nutritional value unless cooked.
Bloating and gas
Due to the indigestible nature of raw potatoes, they move through the upper intestine with only minimal change. Once they arrive in the lower intestine, they are still intact where they start to ferment under the influence of the intestinal bacteria.
The outcome of the fermentation is gas production which causes bloating, flatulence and cramps. Even though these are not a threat, they cause discomfort and can be inconvenient.
Can raw potatoes cause food-borne illness?
Raw foods including potatoes poses as a risk for foodborne-illness. Cooking prevents the illness by heating and eliminating any pathogens responsible for the condition.
Any vegetable that is consumed raw must be thoroughly washed and peeled if needed. Care must be observed to eliminate all traces of soil from its skin.
It is part of the nightshade family together with eggplants, tomatoes, tobacco and peppers. Members of this family protect themselves with toxic alkaloids. The alkaloids that are toxic to humans include solanine and chaconine.