You know to avoid raw meat and eggs. But there are plenty of other foods that you definitely want to cook before eating, and some of them might surprise you.
Yes, this tuber-iffic mealtime staple should never be eaten raw! “Eating potatoes raw can cause bloating and undesirable gastrointestinal effects, because potatoes contain starches that are resistant to being digested,” says Dr. Lisa Davis, the chief nutrition officer at Terra’s Kitchen. (Cooking the potatoes successfully breaks down these starches.) Even scarier, if raw potatoes spend a long time in a warm or damp area, they can turn green and develop a toxin called solanine. If a potato appears to have green spots on it, you should avoid eating it altogether, because the solanine could cause food poisoning. Here are some other foods that are bad for your digestive health.
One word: Cyanide! This root vegetable, a staple of South American cuisine, is packed with vitamins and minerals. But it’s also hiding a sneaky, potentially lethal ingredient. The leaves and roots of raw yucca contain cyanogenic glycosides, chemicals that release cyanide when eaten. Yucca is still edible, but make sure you wash it thoroughly, rinse it, peel it, and cook it before consumption.
Here’s another normally healthy food that can be dangerous if eaten the wrong way. Red kidney beans are packed with protein, fiber, and antioxidants, but eating them raw can wreak havoc on your stomach. “Uncooked kidney beans contain the toxin phytohemagglutinin, which can cause unpleasant gastrointestinal discomfort and symptoms similar to food poisoning,” says Dr. Davis. Make sure you boil kidney beans for at least ten minutes before eating them. Here are some more health benefits (and risks) of eating beans of all types.