Not everyone can cook. Most people can cook simple dishes for themselves, but cooking gourmet meals for themselves is another story. Certainly, the more you practice cooking, the more talented you become behind the stove. It also allows you to test new combinations of flavors and find recipes that suit you.
However, although cooking can be considered a useful skill, it is a necessity for some foods you may want to eat. If you don’t cook them, you may get sick or even worse. Here are 20 foods that you should never eat raw.
If you have already baked pastries, chances are you have spread flour all over the place. However, we suggest that you never taste flour or pastries before they are baked. Flour can contain E. coli, something that can cause vomiting and diarrhea.
You probably already know how dangerous it is to eat raw poultry. The risks associated with raw chicken and other similar products are well documented, mainly because the food is filled with bacteria. When animals are slaughtered, they often become susceptible to Campylobacter bacteria and salmonella.
These are two things that can easily cause food poisoning. They can cause you all kinds of discomfort, including cramps, fever, and diarrhea. If you want to avoid these symptoms, all you have to do is make sure your poultry is cooked thoroughly before eating it.
There are so many things you can do with potatoes. You can roast them, crush them and turn them into fries. However, although potatoes are incredibly versatile food, you should never eat them raw.
Eating raw potatoes can make your digestive system worse and cause you a lot of discomforts. Also, they can even lead to food poisoning if they have been stored in a warm place. This exposure can make food green, indicating that it contains high levels of solanine, which can cause disease.
Oysters may be known to be aphrodisiacs, but you may want to think twice before eating some of these shellfish. This is because consuming them raw can make a person sick, especially if their immune system is already weakened.
Children and pregnant women are advised to avoid eating oysters at all costs. The reason why these shellfish can be so dangerous to health is because of the bacteria and viruses that they can absorb into the water. This includes vibriosis, a disease that kills dozens of people in the United States every year.
Since chickens present a risk of salmonella spread, it may not be surprising that eggs present the same risk. Eating one of these raw foods can cause you physical discomfort for several days, so it’s always a good idea to cook them thoroughly.
It is preferable to cook them at a temperature of 145°F to ensure that the bacteria are destroyed. If you plan to cook them with other ingredients, the recommended temperature is slightly higher at 160°F. Fortunately, there are so many different ways to cook eggs that eating them raw is not your only option.
6. Bitter almonds
Unlike their milder parents who are perfectly fine to eat as they are, bitter almonds should not be eaten without first being cooked. This is because they contain hydrocyanic acid, a chemical that can be fatal at a fairly high dose. It is said that it only takes ten bitter almonds for a child to lose his life and up to 70 for an adult.
Since these foods can have fatal consequences, you may wonder why someone would eat them raw in the first place. However, these bitter almonds have curative properties, which is why people still eat them as they are.
7. Unpasteurized milk
Milk is one of those grocery products that many people buy in stores, so the idea that it can make you sick seems questionable. However, this is because the product you find on the shelf has been heating sterilized to eliminate harmful bacteria. When a cow’s milk is collected, it is potentially already infected with bacteria such as salmonella or E. coli.
These are only removed by pasteurization, so you should always stay away from what is advertised as unpasteurized. You may prefer a diet that is as natural as possible, but raw milk can be a real danger to your health.
8. Hot dogs
Usually, once food has been cooked, it is safe for your health. However, this is not necessarily the case with hot dogs that you can buy at the grocery store. Although these have been cooked once, it is strongly recommended to reheat them for maximum safety.
That’s because these hot dogs may still contain listeriosis when you buy them, a disease that causes diarrhea, fever and even seizures. If left untreated, this disease can be fatal.
Potatoes are not the only food that contains solanine. Eggplants also contain it: only one eggplant contains about 11 milligrams. Although this toxin acts as a form of defense against pests, it also causes health problems for all those who consume it.
Although you would have to eat several raw eggplants for solanine to be fatal, only one of them can make you sick. That’s why health experts advise you to always cook the nightshade plant to avoid any problems. Unless, of course, you want to throw up all night.
10. Green beans
If you’ve ever bitten a raw green bean, you probably didn’t love its taste and texture. It’s not exactly the most attractive thing to eat raw, especially since they can cause stomach aches. Green beans contain lectin, which is responsible for all kinds of digestive problems.
Of all the poisons in the world, cyanide is perhaps one of the best known. It has been shown several times in movies and on television, and it was even in the title of a book by Agatha Christie. So when you hear that food contains cyanide, the last thing you probably want to do is eat it.
The yucca is an example, although it is only in its raw state that the South American shrub is a danger. The release of cyanide into your body can make you very sick, although a yucca is not fatal.
12. Wild salmon
The safety of wild salmon consumption versus farmed fish has long been discussed. One of the problems with the former is the health risk they pose due to the infiltration of parasites into the water. We are talking about salmon infected with anisakis larvae, a parasitic worm that can cause vomiting, fever and sometimes even anaphylaxis.
It is essential that these larvae are removed during evisceration and that the fish is thoroughly cooked before consumption. If you caught the fish yourself, you need to think seriously about what you consider safe enough to eat.
13. Lima beans
This is another type of bean that should never be eaten raw, although the reason is slightly different from red beans. Lima beans are full of cyanogenic glycosides.
They are called natural plant toxins because they protect the plant if it is threatened. When stung, beans release chemicals that can be fatal in large quantities. Fortunately, cooking these foods eliminates toxins and makes them safe to eat. If that is not enough reason not to eat these raw beans, we do not know what it is.
14. Castor seeds
These beans can be extremely toxic if eaten raw. They contain ricin, another form of lectin, which is often used as a poison. Castor beans have such a potential for damage that they are still not completely safe after cooking. That’s why you should stick to consuming only oil.
There seems to be a great debate about raw mushrooms, some are fans of them, others can’t stand their taste and texture. Unfortunately, in the first category, it is the second that wins here. Although it is not dangerous to eat mushrooms without cooking them, eating them raw can put your digestive system in trouble.
This is because mushrooms contain chitin, a compound that is difficult to digest. This is not a problem with cooked mushrooms because the heat breaks down the chitin and eliminates the problem. So, even if you like raw mushrooms, your body would appreciate it if you didn’t eat them.
Taros are relatively similar to potatoes, and like this tuber, they should not be eaten raw. The root and leaves of taro are usually consumed, but it is advisable to cook both to eliminate any trace of calcium oxalate.
This compound can numb the mouth and even create a feeling of choking. Also, they have been linked to the development of kidney stones, a painful disease that we want to avoid. Fortunately, the heat destroys the compound enough to prevent this, although you need to be very careful when cooking taro.
17. Blackberries of elderberry
If you ever have to fight a cold or flu, you can turn to elderberries. This food is known to have healing properties for these diseases, as well as to help treat acne and irritated skin. However, although berries may be ideal when you are not in the sun, they should never be eaten raw.
Without being boiled first, they can end up having the opposite effect on you. This is due to toxins in the berries, which can cause vomiting and diarrhea. These are things you certainly don’t want if you already have a disease.
Many foods are dangerous to eat raw. However, not everything needs to be cooked because there is a risk. Some foods should simply not be eaten raw because they do not offer as many nutritional benefits in this way. Broccoli is an excellent example.
It is not dangerous to eat this raw vegetable, but steaming it increases the number of glucosinolates in the food. These are compounds you want in your body because they are excellent for fighting cancer. This positive effect is not as important if you boil or fry broccoli, although it is always better than eating raw vegetables.
Asparagus is another food that benefits greatly from cooking. Nothing terrible will happen to you if you eat this raw vegetable, but you will not get all the right nutrients available to you. Like broccoli, asparagus contains compounds that help you prevent cancer and stay healthy.
Asparagus is also full of antioxidants, which increase when vegetables are steamed or sautéed instead of served raw. Of course, asparagus is known to have the unfortunate side effect of giving your urine a bad smell. However, it is not much, and it is certainly worth all the benefits that come from consuming this vegetable.
20. Red beans
Red beans are an excellent complement to many pasta and salad dishes. However, if you want to use them, you better make sure they were cooked first. When these beans are raw, they are full of phytohemagglutinin which is known to be toxic. Once inside the body, they can cause nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting.
Some people can be incredibly unlucky and have all three symptoms at once, leaving them with gastroenteritis. Unless you plan to spend the next few days stuck in the bathroom, you probably won’t want to eat raw red beans anytime soon.