Leftovers are things that many of us have a love-hate relationship with. We hate that they don’t taste as good as when they were freshly made, but we love the fact that it would only takes a couple of minutes in the microwave to make them ready for consumption.

 However, there are some foods out there which you may want to throw away if you can’t finish them, as leaving them for leftovers has the possibility to turn them into toxic meals that provide much less nutrients compared to eating them freshly prepared.


The problem with eating leftover rice mainly stems from the way it is stored. According to the Food Standards Agency, uncooked rice  may contain spores of harmful bacteria that survive through the initial cooking process. If leftover rice is not kept at the right temperature, these spores will spread and multiply, and may cause digestion problems such as diarrhea or vomiting if consumed.

 Reheating the rice doesn’t help, as these are spores that are able to survive even boiling hot temperatures. It is best to eat all of your rice right after it is cooked, however if you do have some left over, put it in your fridge or your freezer immediately after you are finished with it. Don’t let it sit at room temperature for longer than an hour, as the longer it is left out the more these dangerous spores will spread.

Vegetable Oil

Reheating meals made with vegetable oil for leftovers may put you at risk of heart disease, stroke and even cancer. New research has found that repeatedly heating up polyunsaturated oils that have linoleic acid, such as canola, corn, soybean and sunflower oils, may release a toxic compound that can cause a variety of health disorders.

 The compound in question is a fatty acid-derived toxin that is called 4-hydroxy-trans-2-nonenal (HNE). Numerous studies have linked consumption of HNE to many serious health conditions including cardiovascular disease, stroke, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s disease, liver ailments and cancer.

According to American Dietetic Association spokeswoman Jeannie Moloo, heating vegetable oils too much or constantly reheating them can release HNE.

“If a person is concerned about the health aspects of HNE, then my recommendations would be to never heat any oil to the point of smoking and, as far as cooking at home goes, just use the oil one time,” she said.


Although many people claim that reheating leafy greens makes them poisonous, it is actually the way they are stored that can make them potentially dangerous.

According to the Center for Food Safety, leftover vegetables should be put into an area where the temperature is below 4 degrees Celsius or below, and if you are planning on storing these vegetables for longer than 12 hours you should freeze them.

This is because many vegetables, such as lettuce, spinach, celery and beets, contain high amounts of a compound called nitrate. Although nitrate itself is not harmful, if vegetables are left out at room temperature bacterial action will cause the accumulation of nitrite, which is a metabolite of nitrate.

Nitrite consumption has been known to be harmful to infants and young children as it can cause a blood disorder called methaemoglobinaemia, which symptoms include headaches, fatigue, shortness of breath and seizures.



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