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News Link • Food

A Peruvian Gift and A Toxic Poison

•, By Jeani-Rose Atchison

Potatoes are one of the worlds most popular foods. It ranks right up there with wheat and corn. Originally a Peruvian vegetable it has been shown to be a valuable food source for over 6,000 years.

Most of us have mashed, baked, fried, scalloped and simmered these tubers into innumerable dishes. Almost 60% of all potatoes grown are used in processed foods such as bagged chips and french fries. Almost 40% is what is purchased and brought home to prepare into meals and a small percentage is left over to use as seed potatoes.

It has been villified due to its high toxicity if eaten incorrectly. The stem and leaves have a high concentration of glycoalkaloid poison which can also be in the potato itself, especially if you see the potato having any green on it. At high enough levels the glycoalkaloid found in potatoes known as solanine can cause irritation of the gastrointestinal tract and impairment of the nervous system. Don’t eat the green ones and you will be just fine.

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