In today’s times, everyone is constantly altering their lives to lead a healthier lifestyle and be fit. Towards that the first feature under the radar is diet. With fads and food fashion becoming a huge part of our lives it is not surprising to see many consume raw vegetables and other juices of raw vegetables in the hope to remain fit. This has indeed become the most popular dietary trend.
While much can get a thumbs up in this regard many veggies should not be eaten uncooked. It is indeed a myth that the foods that are known for their abundant nutrient benefits are best consumed raw. The fact that such produce retains its nutrient value and is low in calories adds to its shine.
However, not all food items are fit enough to be consumed raw. Quite a few veggies are best devoured when cooked.
The reason is that cooking neutralizes the enzymes that might have caused digestive difficulties. Cooking also kills potentially harmful bacteria and wash off the micro-organisms that could interfere with the assimilation of minerals and vitamins. It also kills potentially harmful microbes.
There are plenty of vegetables that are healthy when eaten raw as long as they are thoroughly cleaned. However, some raw veggies can be unhealthy and perhaps even harmful to consume. So, what should we always cook to keep ourselves illness free and nourished?
Potatoes are popular root vegetables and leading in the list of ‘what not to eat raw. Raw potatoes contain an anti-nutrient lectin and solanine. Seen in all raw plants these two components can cause stomach upset, diarrhoea, and other gastrointestinal issues. Apart from worms, the resistant starch in raw potato makes this root vegetable difficult to digest and tasteless. It might result in gas, bloating, or even gastric problems.
Solanine emerges once again as the compound to be avoided. However, it is toxic only when eaten in large amounts. Excess consumption of this veggie would also lead to an accumulation of solanine giving rise to symptoms of arthritis-like inflammation, joint pain and stiffness.
Raw or even undercooked beans comprise a high amount of glycoprotein lectin, which is a toxic compound that could cause bloating, nausea and diarrhoea. The severity of the symptoms is directly related to the volume of the toxin ingested. The beans should be soaked and washed well before boiling them.
Asparagus is a powerhouse of nutrients and is very delicious. You can consume it raw as well but if eaten uncooked it is tough to enjoy this sparrow grass as it is very chewy to eat and perhaps difficult to digest. Nevertheless, they are the best source of vitamins needed to keep your heart healthy.
Ok, mushrooms are not strictly a vegetable, but they are still one of those foods you should always cook before use. ‘Never eat them raw’ is the clarion call you must heed.
Raw mushrooms have a tough exterior composed of fibrous substance chitin which makes them indigestible. There is another variety, the white mushrooms should not be eaten raw as they contain a potentially carcinogenic substance. Cooking reduces this substance and its harmful effects significantly.
It could also pose health hazards potentially causing harm to your RBC, skin rashes, gastrointestinal irritation and allergic reactions. Hence, it’s important for mushrooms to be well sorted and identified before consumption as eating the wrong type could cause health hazards.
Though you can enjoy raw broccoli it is always safe to consume it after a little steaming. Like most vegetables in the cruciferous family raw broccoli could cause gas or bloat in some people. Broccoli may cause digestive distress, particularly in people with IBS.
Like all cruciferous veggies (broccoli) cauliflower contains the complex sugar compound raffinose. This sugar is tough to break down. So when it reaches the large intestine as undigested food, bacteria begin to grow and ferment. This leads to gas and bloating.
The bottom line is that we should not entirely avoid having raw food like salads. But a little cautiousness would be a great idea. Also, dodge consuming raw food during monsoon since viral and bacterial infections are at their peak during that time. Washing and cooking vegetables will kill the microbes and keep us safe from several health issues.
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