While scaring people away from consuming healthy foods that might lead to greater health is not a good goal, a well-informed consumer is better equipped to make decisions that can help them avoid disease, damage, and, in extreme situations, death when eating particular foods.
Dangerous poisons and compounds may be lurking in areas you wouldn’t expect them to be, so it’s a good idea to know where you should be cautious, even if you’re eating something you believed couldn’t hurt you. These are some of the foods that can be exceedingly hazardous.
Here’s something that isn’t dangerous to most people (unless they choke on it), but can be fatal to allergic folks. Peanuts are one of the most frequent food allergies, and here’s what makes it extra scarier: A peanut allergy can develop at any age – even if you have never experienced any symptoms! As a result, if you notice even minor symptoms of a peanut allergy, such as itching around your lips after eating nuts, it is important to consult your doctor.
Some of us can’t picture drinking a little classic Christmas eggnog without dusting a touch of nutmeg on top, and that’s totally OK and isn’t harmful to our health. What you should look out for is overindulging in nutmeg. This chemical is hazardous in big doses and can cause myristicin poisoning, which can lead to death in certain situations. Again, using it to flavor eggnog or a batch of cookies is OK, but don’t eat it by the spoonful. That may appear to be silly, but if you’ve ever heard of the “cinnamon challenge,” you know that stupid can happen.
8. Lima beans
Lima beans are one of those items that most people either love or despise, with the haters outnumbering the lovers by a significant margin. While these beans are nutritious when cooked properly, they are not the sort you want to eat fresh from the garden. Prior to being properly cooked, lima beans contain something called linamarin, which may not sound all that horrible until you learn that it converts to hydrogen cyanide after being consumed. All you need to hear is the word “cyanide” to know that it is something you should avoid at all costs.
7. Wild almonds
Speaking of “wild” stuff, here’s something to keep in mind for those who have this blooming in their neighborhood. Wild almonds contain cyanide, which is something you definitely don’t want to eat in the wild or anyplace else. Before they can be eaten, these almonds must be processed to remove the toxin. A youngster can be killed by as few as 5 to 10 wild almonds, while an adult can be killed by as few as 50.
Although people are certainly spending less time outside seeking for food than in the past, there are still many individuals who like foraging in forested areas for delicacies like blueberries, raspberries, and other edible wild plants. Although many people are familiar with elderberry jam or even elderberry wine, it’s crucial to understand that elderberries are only safe to eat after they’ve been cooked or processed. Picking them in the wild and eating them is not a good idea since they contain glycosides that can convert to cyanide when consumed.
As usual, always consume things in the wild that you are certain about, rather than taking risks on anything that “looks” like it would be nice or bears a similarity to something you know is safe to eat.
5. Castor oil
Castor beans may be used to manufacture ricin, a very powerful toxin, as any viewer of the hit television series Breaking Bad is certainly aware. One castor bean carries enough ricin to kill over 1,000 people! Although castor oil is typically made correctly and does not contain any harm, be wary of producers that do not have a track record of creating a safe product. When working with castor beans, even a minor blunder might quickly become catastrophic.
This is probably one that few of us have heard about. It hails from West Africa and is related to the more well-known lychee fruit, which is utilized in Asian cuisine. Ackee should be safe to eat after completely maturing, but eating it before that time may expose you to toxins that can kill you. It is said to have killed 23 people and sickened almost 200 more in Jamaica in 2011, but if you still want to try it, it may be obtained frozen or canned in some places.
3. Puffer fish
Unless we’re at an Asian market or a Japanese restaurant, it’s doubtful that many of us will stumble across this. The pufferfish is considered a delicacy in Japan, however, sections of it are incredibly dangerous! This isn’t a situation where eating the deadly portions will make you sick for a few days — it’s entirely possible that it’ll be the last thing you ever do. The Japanese chefs who prepare this meal are particularly educated to remove all of the toxic components of the fish, but even they sometimes make mistakes that result in guests’ deaths.
Who doesn’t adore cherries? Some people definitely don’t like them, but for those who do, it’s vital to avoid eating the pits. They are exceedingly hard and are more likely to shatter the teeth of those who try to crack them by biting on them, so what’s the problem? It’s the inside of the pit, which may contain a material that, when crushed, turns into cyanide. The same is true for peaches, apricots, and plums. The goal is to avoid eating any pits that have been broken open. Swallowing a cherry pit whole is unlikely to cause any difficulties, so don’t be too concerned if you do.
This food is unlikely to be seen in your refrigerator on a regular basis, but it is popular among those who like preparing jams, jellies, and sweets like strawberry-rhubarb pie. The real trick about rhubarb is that only the stalks are edible. The leaves contain oxalic acid, which is used to manufacture bleach and rust removers, giving you an indication of how strong it may be. As one might assume, consuming this material can induce burning in the mouth and throat, and if consumed in large quantities, it can cause vomiting, convulsions, and even death.