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10 Foods You Should Never Eat Raw

        Health | Food Safety

7
Taro
Raw taro can irritate the skin of those who handle it; gloves are recommended. © Naho Yoshizawa/Corbis
Raw taro can irritate the skin of those who handle it; gloves are recommended. © Naho Yoshizawa/Corbis

People eat both the leaves and roots of the taro plant, but you shouldn't eat either one raw.

Think of taro root as the potato's healthier cousin. It has more fiber than a potato and is a good source of potassium, vitamin C, calcium, vitamin E, B vitamins, and trace minerals [source: Erman]. Taro gets some solid superfood cred, but make sure to fully cook this starchy root vegetable before eating.

The leaves of the taro plant are no nutritional slumps, either. They taste sort of like spinach but have a hardier texture. They're also good sources of fiber, vitamins A and C, and protein [source: Specialty Produce].

Raw taro contains calcium oxalate, and you do not want any part of this compound. Think of it as tiny knives that cover the leaves and root of the taro plant. When you eat uncooked taro, the calcium oxalate makes your mouth feel numb. Eat too much, and you'll feel like you're choking [source: Croll]. This toxin also contributes to kidney stones [source: Big Oven].

Thoroughly cooking taro leaves and roots destroys enough of the calcium oxalate to make them edible. Because this compound can also irritate your skin, you should wear gloves when you're handling the raw plant.


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