Nobody likes getting a chunk of raw potato in her breakfast casserole or potpie, but turns out it’s not great for you either. “The uncooked starch in potatoes can result in digestive problems, gas, and bloating. For the most benefit and least risk from your potatoes, bake, steam, sauté, or otherwise cook them. And stay away from green potatoes, they contain a high concentration of the poisonous toxin solanine, which can cause headaches and nausea, even in small doses.
These nutrient-dense legumes make a healthy, low-cost addition to your diet—just make sure to cook them first. Eating raw red kidney beans can cause extreme nausea, severe vomiting, and diarrhea from a naturally occurring lectin, phytohaemagglutinin. This lectin is found in other plants, too, but it’s highly concentrated in raw kidney beans. To destroy the toxin, soak beans for 5 hours, drain the water, then boil the soaked beans in fresh water for at least 30 minutes. Canned kidney beans are cooked and safe to eat.
Raw honey is easy to find at supermarkets these days, as more and more people seek natural sweeteners, but don’t offer it to young children. When raw honey is unpasteurized, it may contain grayanotoxin, a naturally occurring neurotoxin found in rhododendron nectar. Although usually not lethal to humans, symptoms of grayanotoxin poisoning can include dizziness, hypotension, and vagal block.
Raw milk has become a trend followed by those who are swayed by the claims that it will prevent certain diseases and illnesses. The issue with this is that raw milk is not pasteurized. During pasteurization, milk is heated to at least 161°F for no less than 15 seconds before rapid cooling; this process kills disease-causing bacteria like salmonella, E. coli, and listeria. Illnesses from drinking raw milk (or foods made from it) are on the rise, and children are most likely to get sick. Pasteurizing milk does not reduce milk’s nutritional value or indicate you can leave milk out of the refrigerator for an extended period of time.