There are many benefits to eating raw, but doing so needs to be done carefully as well as not all foods are suitable for raw eating. If you are considering a raw foods diet, or are already on one, here are some foods you should certainly avoid or think twice about before eating them raw. This list is not comprehensive, and readers are encouraged to learn more about what to eat – and what not to eat – on a raw food diet if they are new to raw foodism using the resources listed below.
1. Kidney Beans. Even when sprouted, kidney beans should not be eaten raw. This is because they contain a chemical, phytohaemagglutinin, which can be toxic. Poisoning can result from eating as few as five beans, and symptoms will show within three hours and included nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Hospitalization is rarely needed, unless a very large quantity of raw kidney beans has been eaten.
2. Buckwheat Greens. Interestingly, these are toxic primarily to fair skinned individuals. Buckwheat greens contain the chemical component fagopyrin, which can cause extreme photosensitivity and other skin problems in fair skinned individuals.
3. Cassava Flour. Raw cassava flour can be toxic, especially when eaten in large quantities. Tapioca is one common food made from cassava flour, and should always be eaten cooked.
4. Raw Meat. Although some raw food advocates argue that raw meat can be safely incorporated into one’s diet when you know the source is safe, caution should be used as raw meat can contain a variety of different harmful bacteria, parasites and even viruses. It is for this reason that many of those on a raw foods diet eat a primarily raw vegan diet (no animal products).
5. Raw Parsnips. Unfortunately, parsnips are one of the few vegetables that are best eaten cooked. This is because raw parsnips contain furanocoumarin chemical compounds. The juice of raw parsnip plants (especially wild parsnips) can cause allergic skin reactions, and also affect the effectiveness of certain pharmaceutical drugs.