Leftovers are a staple of modern lifestyle. Whether you cook in bulk to have leftovers for busy days, or you simply hate to waste uneaten food, reheating food has become an everyday endeavor. However, did you know that it is dangerous to reheat certain foods and that they can pose a health risk?

Some foods are prone to growing unhealthy bacteria─which you might not be aware of. And, reheating certain foods which were stored improperly can cause food poisoning.

Read on to learn about 5 foods that can be dangerous to reheat:

 

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5 Foods That Are Dangerous To Reheat

 

 

Foods you should never reheat

 

 

1. Potatoes

Potatoes have a reputation for being hearty. However, potatoes can be tricky. Once potatoes are cooked, they must be refrigerated immediately. If they are left to cool down at room temperature, there is a chance for the growth of botulism. Botulism is defined as a rare but severe paralytic sickness caused by a nerve toxin which is produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. 

Read here for CDC notes on the outbreak of botulism in Ohio─29 infected people─from eating potato salad at a church potluck dinner. According to the notes, at-home, canned potatoes were to blame for this outbreak.

Just be sure to refrigerate any uneaten potatoes right away. I too, have cooked potatoes on my grill, and even in my campfire, and have allowed them to cool down while still in the foil. This turns out to be a big no-no!

Also, be sure to discard of any leftover potatoes that have been sitting on the dinner table or stove for too long. By putting them in the fridge and reheating them later, you are putting yourself and your family at risk for food poisoning.

 

2. Rice

Rice that is uncooked can carry spores of bacteria called Bacillus cereus which can cause food poisoning. Once the rice is cooked, the bacteria can still survive. This is where it gets bad. If you leave rice sitting out after cooking, and let it cool and sit at room temp, the spores can multiply. Therefore, eating rice that has been left sitting out, or has been reheated after sitting out, can cause vomiting and diarrhea. This also goes for rice that sat out, then was refrigerated at a later time.

Therefore, eat rice while it is hot─and, to ensure that rice is safe to eat later or to reheat it─refrigerate leftovers right after cooking. When you do reheat the rice, make sure that it is steaming hot.

It is recommended that you do not reheat rice more than one time, even if you follow these guidelines.

 

3. & 4. Spinach, Celery, & other Nitrate-Rich Foods

Spinach and celery both contain nitrates that can become toxic when heated up a second time. The first heating process changes the composition of the nitrates. Then, during the next heating process, carcinogenic properties can be released. This process is still under debate, however, so it’s best to read up on it and to decide for yourself.

Overall, it seems best to eat nitrate-rich veggies right after cooking them for the fist time. If you do need to store them as leftovers, be sure that they are refrigerated immediately─use the same method as mentioned for the potatoes and rice. This way, there are fewer chances of the food becoming dangerous to eat.

 

5. Mushrooms

Mushrooms are part of the fungi kingdom and are a high source of protein when dried out. Unfortunately, they don’t have much of a shelf life once they are prepared. Once you cook mushrooms, their complex protein makeup breaks down. Though not poisonous, this breakdown can cause severe digestive problems.

Also, mushrooms lose their health benefits when they are heated and have very little value at all if reheated.

It is suggested that you eat mushrooms right after cooking. If you do have leftovers, eat them cold!

 

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Final Thoughts

I came across this information while reading current Health News and thought that it is important to share. We are all to blame for leaving food sitting out after it is cooked. We hope that this article will help in spreading the word of taking caution when we reheat certain foods.

If you found this information about the dangers of reheating leftovers helpful, please share it with your family and friends. Everyone should be aware of this important food safety news!

Cheers,

Robin and the Zen team

 

 

 

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Note: This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or treat any health condition. Therefore, ask your doctor about any health concerns that you might have and seek proper medical treatment.

Cover Photo Source– Pixabay.com

 

Sources:

https://www.cdc.gov/botulism/ 

https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6429a6.htm

http://www.livestrong.com/article/541308-fruits-vegetables-that-are-high-in-nitrates/

http://www.nhs.uk/chq/Pages/can-reheating-rice-cause-food-poisoning.aspx?CategoryID=51