Potatoes are inexpensive, delicious, and highly nutritious. They are rich in dietary fibers which help to increase satiety and reduce appetite, thereby, helping with weight loss and weight management. As much as potatoes are being eaten, only a few recipes call for the use of potato skins.
The skins are usually regarded as waste and discarded after peeling them off. The general concern over how safe it is to eat potato skin emanated from the misconceptions about the glycoalkaloids – solanine, and chaconine present in potatoes. Let’s talk about questions about the safety of potato skin, and I will also share some of the benefits you stand to gain from eating potato skin.
Can You Eat Potato Skin?
Yes, you can. It is best to eat potatoes with the skins because the vitamins, minerals and, fibers present in potatoes are mostly concentrated in the skins. However, before cooking potatoes, ensure that they are thoroughly washed under running water till the skins are free from dirt.
Is Potato Skin Healthy?
Absolutely! According to the Academy of nutrition and dietetics, potato skin has more nutrients than the rest of the potato when compared ounce for ounce.
Can You Eat Potato Skin Raw?
Yes, you can but I wouldn’t advise that you do. Potato skin itself is not harmful, but because of the level of impurities on them from the soil to the handling and transportation, it is advised that you peel your potatoes when you want to eat them raw. But then, who’d want to eat raw potato skin? Its bitter taste sure won’t go well with your taste buds, coupled with its tough mealy texture…. Potatoes are best enjoyed in their cooked (boiled, baked, fried) form.
However, raw potato skins can be used on the skin to get rid of acne and dark spots because of their high salicylic acid content.
Can You Eat Boiled Potato Skin?
Yes, you can. Boiling potatoes or subjecting them to cooking temperatures helps to kill pathogenic microorganisms which may be present on the skins, so you have nothing to worry about if you decide to eat them with the skins on. Boiling (or cooking, generally) also improves the taste and texture of the potatoes.
Can You Eat Sweet Potato Skin?
Yes, you can. Sweet potato skin is quite healthy, just like the skins of other potato varieties. It is particularly rich in vitamin A which is present in it naturally in form of beta-carotene (a precursor of vitamin A).
Can You Eat White Potato Skin?
Yes, you can eat white potato skin, just like you can eat the skins of other potato varieties.
Nutritional Benefits of Potato Skin
When you peel off potato skin, it amounts to losing nutrients like vitamins, minerals, fibers, and phytochemicals, which are present in potatoes. Potato skin has numerous benefits to your health. Some of these benefits are outlined below.
Improves bone health
Potato skin is rich in calcium, iron, magnesium, copper, phosphorous, potassium, and zinc. These minerals help in bone formation, bone repair and, maintenance of the bone structure and density, thereby, reducing the risk of osteoporosis.
Boosts the immune system
Potato skin contains flavonoids. Flavonoids are phytonutrients with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. They are free radical scavengers, strengthen the cells and protect the body against infections.
Improves bowel functions
Potato skin is rich in dietary fiber which is a bulking agent. It allows for an easy bowel movement and prevents constipation. It helps to manage IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) symptoms and also reduces the risk of colon cancer.
Helps with blood production and prevention of anemia
Potato skin is a good source of iron which is an essential mineral for blood production. It also helps to prevent iron-deficiency anemia which may occur as a result of insufficient hemoglobin for red blood cells.
Although potato skin has numerous health benefits, you must be conscious of how you consume it. Do not load your potato skins with high-sodium or high-fat ingredients; instead, opt for a healthier version of your potato dishes such as baked potatoes or sautéed onions-and-peppers stuffed potato skin.
Can You Eat Potato Skins While Pregnant?
Yes, definitely. Potato skin contains numerous nutrients and you don’t have to miss out on those just because you are pregnant. For instance, potato skins are rich in potassium which helps to reduce/normalize blood pressure. This helps to prevent high blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart diseases in pregnant women.
Read also: Why Can’t You Eat Popcorn with Braces?
Can You Eat Potato Skins with Diverticulitis?
You may or may not. While high fiber foods such as potatoes (with the skins) have been said to reduce the risk of diverticulitis, they may worsen the case during diverticulitis flare-ups. This is because fibers add bulk to stool and possibly increase bowel movement; this may be quite painful during a flare-up. You should see your doctor before making any dietary changes.
I mentioned the glycoalkaloids- solanine and, chaconine present in potatoes in the introductory paragraph, now let’s get that cleared up. These two toxins occur naturally in potatoes, albeit, in low and tolerable concentrations. Excess of these glycoalkaloids results in TOXICITY which comes with symptoms such as abdominal pain, vomiting, and diarrhea.
This brings us to a very important question.
Read also: Can You Eat a Burger with Braces?
When Should You Not Eat Potato Skin?
You should not eat potato skin when it is green or has “eyes” or sprouts. This is because green, sprouted potato skins have increased levels of glycoalkaloids which may lead to Glycoalkaloid Toxicity from potatoes. So you see, you can eat potato skin, but not when the potato is green or has sprouted. If your potatoes have sprouted or are green, discard them! It’s better to be safe than sorry, don’t you think?
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I write about the intersection between evolutionary biology and food. I also talk about practical applications, sustainable agriculture, and general tasty things