Beware, you should never consume these 9 vegetables raw!

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When it comes to weight loss or simply following a healthy diet, many people prefer to eat raw vegetables, fruits, and other foods. After all, it is widely believed that eating raw vegetables means eating more unprocessed, whole foods, which can help reduce the risk of several diseases and provide more energy. But here’s a catch, not all of them are meant to be enjoyed in their raw form, as they may pose potential health risks. According to Deepika Jayaswal, a dietician and nutritionist, while cooking can break down tough fibers and neutralize harmful compounds, consuming these vegetables raw may lead to digestive issues and may expose you to bacteria.

Why is eating raw vegetables bad for you?

While raw vegetables have their place in salads and snacks, they can affect your health negatively. Certain vegetables, like potatoes and eggplants, contain toxins like solanine, which cooking eliminates. The expert highlights that raw vegetables may also harbour harmful bacteria, such as E. coli in spinach or tapeworm eggs, which can cause infection and digestive problems. Cooking not only neutralises these risks but also enhances the flavour and makes them easy to digest.

9 vegetables you should never consume raw

1. Colocasia leaves (Arbi ke patte)

Colocasia leaves are commonly used in traditional recipes. However, they may contain oxalates, an organic acid found in plants, which can cause kidney stones. Cooking these leaves properly reduces oxalate levels significantly, making them safe for consumption.

2. Potatoes

Raw potatoes contain solanine, a natural toxin that can be harmful when consumed in large amounts. It can lead to gastrointestinal problems such as vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. Cooking potatoes at high temperatures breaks down solanine, making them safe to eat. Additionally, raw potatoes can be challenging to digest and may lead to discomfort, bloating, or stomach cramps.

Eating raw potatoes increases the risk of digestive issues. Image Courtesy: Adobe Stock

3. Cabbage

While crunchy cabbage adds texture to salads and sandwiches, it can harbour harmful bacteria like E. coli or Salmonella. Cooking cabbage thoroughly eliminates these potential risks.

4. Eggplant

Similar to potatoes, eggplants contain solanine, which can cause nausea, vomiting, and other digestive issues when consumed raw. Cooking eggplant not only removes solanine but also enhances its flavour and texture. Grilling, roasting, or sauteing are popular methods of cooking it.

Also read: Steamed vegetables vs raw: What is healthier?

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5. Spinach

“Spinach, despite its nutritional benefits, can sometimes carry E. coli bacteria that leads to stomach aches and other digestive problems. Cooking spinach prevents the growth of E. coli bacteria and also releases more nutrients for your body to absorb,” says Jayaswal.

Don’t add raw spinach to your salad! Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

6. Broccoli

Broccoli, while nutritious, is more easily digested and its nutrients are better absorbed when cooked. Lightly steaming or sauteing broccoli preserves its nutritional value while also reducing the risk of digestive issues such as gas and bloating. However, it can also be consumed raw in small amounts.

7. Capsicum

Capsicum may occasionally harbour undesirable elements, like chemical residues or tapeworm eggs, in their seeds. Cooking capsicum helps reduce these residues, making them safe to consume.

8. Brinjal

Raw eggplants contain solanine, similar to potatoes, which can cause upset stomachs. Cooking eggplants neutralise solanine and enhance their delicious flavour. Boiling is another common method to prepare eggplants, avers Jayaswal.

cooked brinjal
Enjoy cooked brinjal and its benefits. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

9. Brussels sprouts

While Brussels sprouts are a nutrient-rich vegetable, cooking them makes them easier to digest. Roasting or sauteing Brussels sprouts not only enhances their flavour but also makes them easier on the stomach.

Also read: You don’t need to cook these 7 foods as they are at their best if eaten raw

So, the next time you’re preparing a meal, consider the benefits of cooking these vegetables and avoid eating them raw!


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