We love consuming fresh fruits and vegetables (especially ones that are seasonal, organic and come from the local farmers market), but you may want to pause before chomping down on raw broccoli or kale leaves.
According to studies, some vegetables can be harmful to your health when consumed raw in large quantities or on a consistent basis. Trust us; we're surprised too.
Despite the many nutrients these vegetables offer our bodies, specific chemicals and compounds can interfere with digestion, thyroid hormone synthesis, and cause various gastrointestinal problems. (No thanks.) Moreover, the fantastic nutrients in these leafy greens and delicious veggies are best absorbed when consumed cooked. Plus, when tossed in some oil and spices, they just taste better!
Here are four vegetables to avoid eating raw:
First on the list is the mighty kale. A superfood leafy green, kale is OK to eat raw (as in, you won't die), but you should do so in moderation. According to research, kale contains "progoitrin, a compound that can interfere with thyroid hormone synthesis, and thiocyanate ions, which can crowd out the iodine your thyroid needs." When consumed in large quantities, "one could experience a swelling of the thyroid, often called a goiter."
TLDR; you don't have to stop eating raw kale salads, just do so in moderations. Better yet, make some kale chips or try these cooking methods from The Spruce Eats.
Another veggie to avoid eating raw? Mushrooms. You probably shouldn't forge and eat these fungi raw as some varieties of mushrooms can be harmful on your digestive tract when not cooked.
Sauté, grill, bake, or add this Vitamin D powerhouse to stews instead (perfect for cold weather), and reap the optimal nutrients for your health. Need some ideas? Try grilled mushroom fajitas with asparagus!
3. Brussel Sprouts
Ah, one of our very favorite greens! Brussel sprouts are packed with potassium, folate, Vitamin C, and Vitamin K, and they are best consumed when cooked. Plus they taste much better when sprinkled with olive oil, lemon, salt, and a dash of pepper. (Or go wild with some feta!)
Broccoli, like kale and Brussel sprouts, is a Cruciferous or Brassica vegetable. It can be hard on your digestion when consumed raw in large quantities (although a few stems with some hummus is fine and recommended for a healthy snack).
Research also suggests broccoli retains its nutrients best when cooked on low heat and with minimal water. To get most from these Vitamin C and protein kings, learn how to steam them properly.