If you eat raw potatoes, it isn’t inherently dangerous, but it is rather uncommon and could present a few potential health risks.
Quite simply, raw potatoes are potatoes that haven’t been cooked properly, whether that is baking, boiling or some other common means of preparing these popular stem vegetables. Eating vegetables raw is very common around the world, although potatoes aren’t commonly eaten raw.
Benefits of Eating Raw Potatoes
The nutrient composition doesn’t change much between raw and cooked potatoes, and there are some obvious health benefits to eating potatoes in any form. Benefits include:
- Rich source of vitamin C, potassium, fiber, and carbohydrates
- Increase the strength of the immune system
- Lower blood pressure
- Speed the digestive process
- Natural boost of energy
Unfortunately, our bodies are very bad at digesting raw starch, so even if you eat raw potatoes, you may not have access to the full range of nutrients and benefits. Additionally, the skin of the potato, which is often eaten when the vegetable is cooked, can be tough and unappetizing on a raw potato.
Risks of Eating Raw Potatoes
As mentioned, it is difficult to digest uncooked starch, meaning that the body will simply pass the food through, but not fully digest or metabolize it. This can cause indigestion, gas, and a feeling of bloating as the semi-undigested potato begins to ferment in the gut. Furthermore, whenever you are eating raw foods, you are at a higher risk of foodborne illnesses, which cooking usually neutralizes or eliminates. The final potential concern is toxicity, since there are some potentially dangerous alkaloid compounds in these vegetables, as they are part of the nightshade family.