How do I stop being toxic

Diet: These vegetables can be poisonous - this should be taken into account

Did you know that potatoes, tomatoes, beans, and other vegetables can contain toxins? We reveal how you can neutralize them

Vegetables are healthy - whether from the supermarket, from organic farmers or from your own garden. The German Nutrition Society recommends eating two servings (roughly equivalent to a handful) of fruit and three servings of vegetables a day. But not all "green stuff" is safe to eat in every case. Because some popular vegetables also have poisonous components.

1. Potatoes

Botanically, the potato plant belongs to the nightshade family, the Solanaceae. And they form solanine, a collective term for two toxins, so-called glycoalkaloids. One kilogram of potatoes stored in a dark and cool place can contain around 200 milligrams of it. According to a rule of thumb, 2-5 milligrams per kilo of body weight are considered toxic and 3-6 milligrams are fatal. An adult would have to eat around two kilograms of potatoes to put their life in danger. For small children, however, a fraction of it is enough.

Incidentally, potatoes that are stored in the light form green spots that contain a particularly high amount of poison. Since solanine is not harmed by cooking, you should definitely remove it - like germs - before cooking. It is best to cook the potatoes in their skins to avoid loss of nutrients and peel them before eating.

2. Tomatoes

The German favorite vegetable also belongs botanically to the nightshade family, so it contains solanine - by the way, to protect itself against potential predators.

If the tomatoes are still green, let them ripen for a few days. Because unripe tomatoes contain up to 32 milligrams of solanine per 100 grams, while ripe tomatoes contain no poison at all or only small amounts of up to 0.7 milligrams. Since the stem base contains a particularly large amount of solanine, it makes sense to cut it out in a wedge shape before preparation.

However, you can safely eat varieties that remain green even when ripe, for example 'Evergreen', 'Green Zebra' or 'Green Grape'.

3. Eggplant

Eggplants are also nightshade family. You should therefore allow unripe aubergines to ripen before preparation - just like tomatoes. However, modern cultivars contain little or no solanine. You can safely consume most eggplants from the weekly market or the supermarket. Incidentally, also raw. Which, however, is not very tasty because of the bitter substances it contains.

4. zucchini

The tasty zucchini can also contain substances that can lead to nausea, stomach pain and damage to the intestines - so-called cucurbitacins. These bitter substances can also be found in the relatives of the zucchini, pumpkin and cucumber.

The problem is almost exclusively with vegetables that have been grown in the garden. Because purchased zucchinis come from plants from which the bitter substances have been bred. Anyone who grows the plants themselves must expect the undesirable trait to develop again. A few years ago that was fatal for a pensioner in Heidenheim. If zucchini and co. Taste bitter: keep your hands off them.

Incidentally, it does not matter whether you eat zucchini raw or cooked. Because the toxins are not destroyed during cooking.

5. Rhubarb

The pole vegetables contain oxalic acid, which pulls the oral mucous membranes together so unmistakably furry. The substance is toxic and could be dangerous for people with gout, rheumatism or kidney problems. However, the quantities are relatively small. One kilogram of rhubarb contains around five grams of oxalic acid. In order to ingest the deadly amount of five to fifteen grams, one would have to eat one to three kilograms, for example several trays of rhubarb cake.

By the way, cooking is a great way to reduce oxalic acid levels. Because the acid goes into the cooking water (which you should pour off after boiling).

6. Spinach

Does warming up actually make spinach poisonous, as can often be heard? It's not that bad. But it is actually better to chill leftovers of spinach, regardless of whether it is frozen or freshly made, and use them up soon. The Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) even recommends avoiding the subsequent warm-up entirely. Because bacteria contained in vegetables convert the nitrate contained in spinach into nitrite, which is problematic for health. Incidentally, arugula, salads, kohlrabi, beetroot and radishes also contain a lot of nitrate.

For adults, however, the amounts contained in spinach are usually harmless. Only babies and toddlers could react to the inadvertent nitrite administration with painful diarrhea.

By the way: if you garden yourself, you should harvest in the evening. Because the light radiation during the day breaks down the nitrate in the vegetables. And organic vegetables usually contain less nitrate than conventionally grown ones, because organic farming does not use nitrogen fertilizers containing nitrates.

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7. Beans and Lentils

Legumes like green beans, chickpeas or kidney beans naturally contain protein compounds called lectins. They ensure that red blood cells clump together - and thus hinder the transport of oxygen in the blood. Those who eat the above raw can expect nausea, chills and cramps. Five to six raw beans can cause these symptoms in children, and a handful in adults. Only common peas contain little or no poison.

The good news: Cooking destroys the toxin. Just 15 minutes are enough to render the lectins harmless.

By the way, frozen legumes are pre-cooked, so they contain fewer toxins. Seedlings can also be safely consumed. Because most of the undesirable ingredients are destroyed not only by soaking and cooking, but also by germination.

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