“How dangerous is it to put raw eggs in my smoothie?”

“Eating raw eggs is not without risk,” says Lauren Antonucci, M.S., R.D.N., the founding director of Nutrition Energy in New York City. According to the USDA, 2.3 million eggs are contaminated with salmonella each year. This bacteria is a common cause of food-borne illness, aka food poisoning, which can last up to one week and in some cases can make people seriously ill. Washing the eggs before eating them raw won’t help, since the bacteria can thrive inside the intact eggs, adds Antonucci. But there is a safer alternative to pumping up your post-workout concoction: Pasteurized eggs (such as the Safest Choice brand, safeeggs.com) and liquid pasteurized egg whites (sold in cartons, like Muscle Egg, muscleegg.com) have been treated to kill salmonella, making them safe to use in shakes and drinks without cooking them first. Just look for the word pasteurized on the label to make sure the eggs are bacteria-free.

SEE ALSO: The 6 Best Dairy Milk Alternatives