Raw eggplant is not dangerous to eat
When I place a Beb salad with raw eggplant online, I get a lot of reactions that eating raw eggplant is supposedly not healthy.
I’ve done research online and found several reliable sources* and also called a few dieticians on this topic. Conclusion: eggplant is fine to eat raw. The leaves and flowers of eggplant are poisonous, which applies to more plants from the nightshade family.
The Dutch nutrition center (Het Voedingscentrum)
I also asked the food experts from the Dutch Nutrition Center for their professional opinion and they say:
I checked with our food safety expert, but in principle, it should be possible to eat eggplant raw. Greetings, web editor Nutrition Center
Their site also states:
Eggplant is related to the potato and also contains a solanine-like substance. That substance is no problem.
But the Nutrition Center also has conflicting information on the same website. On this page in the drop-down menu under ‘aubergine’ it says: ‘It is better not to eat eggplant raw’.
I have let the Nutrition Center know. The web editors state that this is indeed incorrect, but it has not been amended to date.
Eggplant belongs to the nightshade species, just like potatoes, peppers, and tomatoes. Nightshade fruits and vegetables naturally contain toxic substances: glycoalkaloids.
One of the toxic glycoalkaloids is the natural toxin solanine or the comparable tomatine in tomatoes.
It is harmful to ingest too much solanine or tomatine. For example, it can cause fever, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, and headache.
Eating potatoes that have turned green is not healthy. The solanine level in such a potato is high and you should therefore no longer consume it. This also applies to unripe (green) tomatoes.
… if green sections of the plant (namely sprouts and skins) are exposed to light, the tuber can accumulate a high enough concentration of glycoalkaloids to affect human health.wiki- potatoes
Plants make these toxins to protect themselves against plant diseases. The toxins also ensure that, for example, tubers of the plant that are above the ground are not eaten by worms, insects, or other animals.
Solanine is toxic in high doses
In large doses, solanine is toxic to humans; 400 mg grams is life-threatening for an adult. The Huffington Post calculates that in the case of eggplants, one would have to eat 36 raw eggplants to get into the danger zone. Of course, nobody does that.
Solanine does not degrade when heated
The visitors of this site who warn me against raw eggplant also say that by heating the vegetables the toxic substance is broken down or disappears completely. The Nutrition Center contradicts this on their site. I also find several well-founded indications online that the toxic substance is not broken down when heated.
The Nutrition Center:
Solanine and tomatine are not broken down during cooking, baking, and frying.The Dutch Nutrition Center
Someone can, of course, be allergic to nightshade fruits and vegetables. In that case, eating eggplant can indeed be dangerous.
The dieticians also say on this subject: if you have sensitive intestines, eating raw vegetables is not recommended. Raw vegetables are harder to digest than grilled or cooked vegetables, so sensitive guts will always react to that.
- Voedingscentrum over solanine
- Sustainable Market Farming
- Dietricion Jennifer Rezek
- Wiki: Solanine