We all know that vegetables should form part of a healthy diet. Many, such as broccoli, peppers, and carrots, are much better for you when eaten raw. However, some vegetables will leave you sick in bed if you prepare them wrong. So, what food should you always cook to keep yourself healthy?
Potatoes are probably the most well-known vegetables that can be dangerous when eaten raw. They contain solanine, which can be lethal with a large enough dose, but you would need to eat a lot of raw potatoes to get anywhere close to a dangerous level. That said, eating uncooked potatoes can leave you feeling sick, so it’s always best to thoroughly cook them first.
Kidney beans contain a chemical called phytohaemagglutinin, which can cause severe nausea and vomiting even in small doses. This toxin makes up around 1% of the uncooked bean, and as little as four or five kidney beans are enough to cause problems. Fortunately, boiling the beans removes the toxin, but you should always discard the water afterward to ensure you don’t eat anything you shouldn’t.
The high cyanide content in cassava can lead to severe nausea, low iodine level, and, in extreme circumstances, paralysis or death. Cassava may also contain pesticides and trace metals, as they readily absorb pollutants as they grow. A thorough soaking and boiling will remove all of these from the vegetable, but be sure to discard the water afterward to avoid ingesting any dangerous chemicals.
OK, they are not strictly a vegetable, but mushrooms are still one of those foods you should always cook before use. While most mushrooms bought from the store will only cause mild symptoms if eaten raw, cooking brings out the majority of the nutrients and flavor. However, wild mushrooms are a different matter altogether. Unless you are 100% sure you know what you have, you shouldn’t eat them raw or cooked. It isn’t worth the risk.
Elderberries certainly have their place within a healthy diet, although they will cause problems if you don’t cook them first. The berries contain lectins that can cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea when eaten raw. When picked from the wild, elderberries also include a derivative of cyanide which can be dangerous in large quantities. As with other foods, boiling gets rid of the toxins and makes them safe to eat.
While all of the foods listed can be dangerous when eaten uncooked, there is no need to eliminate them from your diet. They are all delicious and highly nutritious when prepared correctly, so make sure you cook them thoroughly, then you can enjoy them any time you like.