Eating raw is a big health food trend, but there are many ways in which raw food can be harmful to your digestive system. A high content of cellulose makes some foods very hard to digest, while others can contain harmful bacteria.
Whether they taste good or not, here are some of the foods you should never eat raw. Eliminating the risk of a potentially harmful disease is the most important thing to consider, but some foods can also lead to bloating, gas and even mess with your thyroid gland when they’re not properly cooked.
They’re an excellent source of protein, but raw eggs also carry the risk of salmonella. Forget about the image of body builders drinking raw eggs in the morning and always make sure that you cook them. Other products that include raw eggs, like raw cookie dough, carry the same risk. If you’re going to eat raw eggs or use them in dishes without cooking, make sure they’re pasteurized.
2. Cruciferous Vegetables
Raw cruciferous veggies, including broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts, can be difficult to digest. They can even cause bloating and gas when they’re cooked. However, they’re one of the foods you should never eat raw because they contain chemicals that alter the production of thryroid hormone. If you’re already suffering from thyroid issues, they’ll make symptoms worse, and can even lead to developing hypothyroidism.
3. Chicken, Beef or Pork Tartare
Whether it’s raw or just undercooked, meat is always risky. Raw chicken can contain salmonella, while pork and beef are even more dangerous. You’ll risk infections with E. coli, digestive parasites like roundworm and tapeworm, and you might also exposing yourself to toxoplasmosis, which is especially dangerous for pregnant women.
4. Red Kidney Beans
They’re dangerous when they’re undercooked, but red kidney beans are definitely one of the foods you should never eat raw. They should be soaked for hours before cooking, because they contain lectin, a toxin that can cause an upset stomach, nausea and even vomiting. According to the FDA, eating as little as five raw kidney beans can cause these symptoms.
5. Rhubarb Leaves
Many vegetables and green contain oxalic acid, a dangerous compound that can cause kidney damage, but rhubarb leaves are the most poisonous ones. They should be separated from the stalks when harvesting, but if they’re not, make sure you also remove the base of the stems. If you eat raw rhubarb leaves, seek medical attention immediately.
See also: 10 Foods Nutritionists Refuse to Eat
6. Alfalfa Sprouts
They’re one of the foods you should never eat raw during pregnancy, but too many alfalfa sprouts can also cause health issues outside of it. They can contain Salmonella and E. Coli bacteria, and they’re also dangerous if you have a weakened immune system. Raw alfalfa sprouts should also be avoided if you’re suffering from inflammatory arthritis and autoimmune diseases.
Popular in Mexican and Central American cuisines, chaya is also known as tree spinach. While it’s a rich source of antioxidants and also has higher levels of vitamin A, protein, calcium, and iron than other leafy greens, chaya leaves should never be eaten raw. They contain cyanide, and need to be boiled for 5 minutes before becoming edible.
8. Raw Chocolate
Because chocolate is a fermented food, it’s definitely one of the foods you should never eat raw. Cocoa beans are also dangerous when eaten raw, and without proper sterilization, any kind of chocolate that claims to be raw can expose you to dozens of pathogens.
9. Green Potatoes
The green parts in potatoes are caused by solanine, a chemical which can be toxic and cause symptoms ranging from nausea to headaches. You’ll also find hemagglutinins in raw potatoes, and this substance can have a harmful effect on red blood cell function. Sweet potatoes are less dangerous when eaten raw, but they can still cause digestive issues, including gas.
Don't miss: Best Reasons to Eat What's in Season
Also known as yuca, cassava root is also one of the foods you should never eat raw. Without soaking it water and cooking it, you risk ingesting cyanogenic glycosides, which turn into cyanide.