A blog about "nothing"!

Sunday, October 11, 2015

The Evil Potato

Most of us know that potatoes can be healthy and bad for you at the same time.  They have lots of good nutrients, but they are also full of starch which isn't so good. I've since discovered another reason I have to eat them with caution.  Potatoes (and other nightshade family plants) have large quantites of alkaloids, which for some people are no problem, but for others can be a pain--literally.
I started researching this recently after having repeated issues whenever I ate baked potatoes.  With potatoes in other forms the reaction wasn't quite as bad, sometimes not at all.  It usually involved gut pain/bloating, and could be very annoying.  Several years ago I mentioned it to my mom who told me that my dad used to have terrible issues with IBS and that potatoes seemed to aggravate it more than anything, particularly baked potatoes.  Hmmm...

I discovered that while all nightshade plants contain alkaloids, potatoes have the highest level.  You also have to beware of potatoes that are "growing" or have green spots on them as those have an even higher level in them (and to some people can be toxic).  What I found even more interesting was that how you cooked them also affected the level of reaction.  Boiling them or deep frying seemed to do a much better job of reducing the alkaloid levels, which explained why mashed potatoes have never bothered me.  The fact that potatoes have the highest level also explained why other nightshades (peppers, tomatoes) didn't seem to affect me. 

Something else I discovered was that high levels of alkaloids can affect pain levels in people who suffer from various forms of arthritis and gout.  I couldn't help but think that it might explain some of my arthritis flare ups.  I recently had a very bad week all around and I think I can trace it directly to some potatoes I baked. 

So what does this all mean?  Well, for me, potatoes are going to be one of those things that I eat very cautiously.  Most of the things I read suggested eliminating them for a while and then reintroducing them to see if you get a similar reaction.  Since I've had this reaction multiple times, I think I can pretty much say for certain that it's part of the problem.  In the meantime, if I do choose to eat a potato type item, I'll be much more particular as to how it is cooked.  Baked won't be on of those options.  You have no idea how sad that makes me because that is one of my favorite ways to have a potato and it's super easy to prepare.  Just my luck.  But, I'd rather not eat that and feel good than to deal with pain on multi-levels.  In some people it can cause other problems as well.  No thanks!

Now if I can just figure out why cucumbers hate me so much...

I'm going to miss you...