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Beware, these 9 vegetables should not be eaten raw!

There are some vegetables that should not be eaten raw as they can do more harm than good. Read on to know which vegetables must be cooked.
Woman eating vegetables
Know why you should not consume raw vegetables. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock
Aayushi Gupta Updated: 19 Feb 2024, 04:23 pm IST
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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, but there are some vegetables that should not be eaten raw, as they may pose potential health risks.

Dietician and nutritionist Deepika Jayaswal, tells us all about the vegetables that should not be eaten raw. Cooking these veggies can break down tough fibers and neutralize harmful compounds, while 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.

What vegetables should not be eaten 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

Can you eat raw potatoes? No, you can’t! 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.

raw potatoes
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 is one of the vegetables that should not be eaten raw. Raw cabbage can harbour harmful bacteria like E. coli or Salmonella. Cooking cabbage thoroughly eliminates these potential risks.

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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?

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.

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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. Brussel sprouts

Can you eat raw Brussel sprouts? No, you should avoid it. 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

However, if you are wondering can you eat Asapagus raw, then the answer is that you can. You can marinate sliced Asparagus and enjoy it raw. The sams is true with Zucchini as well. So, the next time you’re preparing a meal, consider the benefits of cooking the vegetables listed above, and avoid eating them raw!

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About the Author

Aayushi Gupta is a health writer with a special interest in trends related to diet, fitness, beauty and intimate health. With around 2 years of experience in the wellness industry, she is connected to leading experts and doctors to provide our readers with factually correct information. ...Read More

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