Is it dangerous to eat raw organic vegetables?

Which vegetables cannot be eaten raw?

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In principle, most types of vegetables can be eaten raw. The only exceptions are green beans, potatoes, cassava and mushrooms with the exception of cultivated mushrooms. Rhubarb and aubergines should also be heated better before consumption.

Green beans contain a lectin called phasin, which hinders the absorption of nutrients in the intestine because it combines with carbohydrates in the intestinal lining. Larger amounts of phasin can even damage the villi. Cooking destroys the protein. Cooked green beans therefore pose no threat to humans. Legumes such as white, black or red beans, soybeans and chickpeas contain protease inhibitors that can reduce the digestibility of proteins. The phytochemicals are destroyed during cooking, so that cooked legumes can be put on the table without hesitation. In the case of sprouted legumes, blanching for three minutes is sufficient to inactivate the proteinase inhibitors. The glycoalkaloid solanine is particularly found in unripe, sprouted or light-exposed potatoes. It is not destroyed when the potatoes are cooked, but it is water-soluble and therefore passes into the cooking water. A dose of one to five milligrams of solanine per kilogram of body weight can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and cramps. Green and sprouted potatoes should therefore generally not be eaten and the cooking water should be poured away. In addition, the raw starch in potatoes cannot be digested by humans during digestion. The cassava bulb, which is widespread in many tropical countries, can only be eaten once the hydrocyanic acid it contains has been removed by grinding, soaking and fermenting.

The mushrooms occupy a special position. In addition to the actual poison mushrooms, there are a number of edible mushrooms that are toxic in their raw state. These include pearl mushrooms, honey mushrooms, red cap, chestnut and witch's boletus. Cultivated mushrooms such as shiitake or oyster mushrooms can be eaten raw, but they don't taste particularly good. In addition, there are people for whom the consumption of raw king oyster mushrooms can cause tolerance problems. Cultivated mushrooms can contain between 90 and 1700 milligrams of agaritin per kilogram of fresh substance. In the past, the heat-sensitive substance was considered to be potentially carcinogenic. However, recent research has not been able to confirm this. Laboratory tests even suggest that agaritin has a cancer-preventing effect. Cultivated mushrooms can therefore also be tasted uncooked without hesitation. Rhubarb and ripe aubergines can be eaten raw, but they taste much better cooked.

Stephanie Grahl / Wiebke Franz

Diehl JD. Chemistry in food. 1st edition, Wiley-VCH, Weinheim 2000
Endo M et la. Agaritin purified from Agaricus blazei Murrill exerts anti-tumor activity against leukemic cells. Biochim Biophys Acta. 1800 (7) 669-673, 2010
Krämer N, Grimm J. Shiitake and oyster mushrooms. 1st edition, Pala, Darmstadt, 2002
Lobitz R. Edible and poison mushrooms. 1st edition, aid, Bonn 1999
N.N. Why are green beans poisonous? (viewed on October 22, 2010) Schwedt G. Pocket Atlas of Food Chemistry. 2nd edition, WILEY-VCH, Weinheim 2005

Status 2011

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