There are various food items which prove to be healthy when eaten raw. With a lot of diets promoting eating fresh and raw, it is important to know about the foods which should never be consumed raw as they can prove to harm health.

Advertisement

11 Food Items Which Can Be Dangerous If Eaten Raw

Potatoes

Potatoes contain starch which can cause bloating and undesirable gastrointestinal effects. Cooking the potatoes can breakdown these starches.

Also, raw potatoes if present long time in damp and warm area develops a toxin known as solanine. If a potato has green spots it should not be eaten as it can lead to food poisoning, it can cause symptoms such as headache, nausea, vomiting and other digestive issues.

To keep the level of solanine low potatoes should be stored in a cool and dark place.(1)

Rhubarb Leaves

Rhubarb leaves contain a high level of oxalic acid, which in high doses can cause kidney damage, stomach problems, and even death.

Rhubarb leaves are also known to decrease bone growth, cause convulsion, and even coma. Cooking doesn’t reduce the amount of oxalic acid.

Therefore, if you want to enjoy rhubarb pie or rhubarb jam stick to its stalk, avoid the leaves.(2)

Raw Kidney Beans

Red kidney beans are known to be a good source of protein, fiber, and antioxidants.

Raw kidney beans can create havoc in the stomach. Uncooked kidney beans contain phytohemagglutinin, a toxin which can cause unpleasant gastrointestinal symptoms, similar to food poisoning.

Dry beans should be soaked in water for at least 5 hours and boiled in freshwater before eating.(3)

Advertisement

Milk

Milk is an excellent source of calcium and protein and is consumed by many people. Most of the milk is pasteurized i.e. heated to kill harmful bacteria.

Raw milk straight from the cow is not pasteurized and might contain harmful bacteria such as E.coli and salmonella. According to FDA raw milk is more likely to cause foodborne illness than other dairy products.(4)

Advertisement

Also, studies show that raw milk has no beneficial effects on lactose intolerance, osteoporosis, asthma, and allergies, nor does it benefit immune health when compared with the pasteurized milk.(5, 6, 7)

Sprouts

Sprouts grow in a warm and moist condition which is an apt temperature for the bacteria to thrive.

Uncooked sprouts can host potentially harmful bacteria including salmonella and listeria. It is therefore advisable to buy sprouts as fresh as possible and wash them in freshwater and cook them before eating.

Mushrooms

Mushrooms contain antioxidants, potassium and vitamins and heat is required to release some of these nutrients and benefits.

Raw mushrooms are hard to digest and contain a naturally occurring toxin known as agaritine. Few studies and researches found agaritine has carcinogenic effects.(8, 9)

Cooking destroys these compounds and makes mushrooms safe to eat.

Lima Beans

Just like kidney beans, lima beans should be cooked thoroughly before eating.

Natural cyanogenic glycosides present in lima beans act as the plant’s natural defense system from predators. It releases deadly hydrogen cyanide from chewed raw.

Cooking allows getting all the fiber, vitamins, and minerals from the lima beans.(10)

Eggplant

Just like raw potatoes eggplant also contains solanine toxin. The eggplants which are harvested early or the young eggplants contain most of this toxin.

Though present in small quantity, still it would be better to cook the eggplant before eating. Why wait to get symptoms when we are aware of the ill effects.

Some people are allergic to even small amount of eggplant and develop allergies on eating even small quantities.

Flour

Raw flour has been identified as a potential health hazard. Flour can contain bacteria that can cause disease.(11)

From its journey to wheat stalk to the supermarket, flour comes in contact with pathogens such as E.coli. These pathogens can be killed by cooking whatever form the flour is in.

Eggs

Eggs are an excellent source of protein, but swallowing them raw can, make you sick.

The raw egg might contain germ salmonella, which is responsible for around 1 million cases of food poisoning every year.(12, 13) The egg is best when cooked and handled properly.

Those with a compromised immune system including children, pregnant females, and elderly are more likely to contract a disease.

Elderberries

Berries are known to fight cold and flu and also calm acne and irritated skin. These berries in raw form can be poisonous. Within the foliage surrounding the ripe berries, alkaloids and glucosides are present which can produce hydrocyanic acid (cyanide).

An occasion recorded eight people encountering nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, and weakness on giving elderberry juice, pressed along with twigs and leaves of it.(14)

Berries should be thoroughly boiled before adding to the syrups or elixir. Also, make sure you eat only the fully ripened berries not the leaves along.

Many foods are good when eaten raw, but it’s important to make a note of those which are harmful to health. Eat healthily and stay fit.

Sheetal DeCaria MD

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

,

Last Modified On: August 29, 2019

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

Advertisement

Sign Up for Our Newsletter

We'll help you live each day to the healthiest