When it comes to food poisoning, we’re all familiar with the standard suspects, such as undercooked chicken or salmon from a cheap sushi restaurant. Some foods that you probably don’t think twice about contain naturally occurring toxins that might be dangerous if ingested in large quantities. Here are ten everyday foods you never knew could kill you.
It’s all the rage to eat raw food these days, but boiling these beans is a necessity! Though high in protein and fiber, kidney beans also contain high levels of a toxin called phytohemagglutinin. While this chemical is present in many beans, the kidney bean has the highest concentration. To ensure that kidney beans are safe to ingest, they should first be soaked and cooked for at least 10 minutes before serving.
You’ve probably heard about cyanide if you’ve ever read a mystery novel, seen a detective show, or learned about the collapse of the Third Reich. In addition to being unpleasant to eat, the pits and seeds of cherries, peaches, plums, apricots, and apples all contain amygdalin. This chemical creates cyanide when it enters the body. To be honest, a few apple seeds are unlikely to take someone to the emergency room, but a few cherry pits may.
This flavorful spice may enhance a meal, but too much of it might result in an untimely death. When a spoonful of cinnamon covers the lips, it absorbs all moisture, making swallowing difficult. That may appear amusing on video, but the body’s instinct is to inhale, which can cause choking and catastrophic lung damage.
Honey was once regarded as the food of the gods in Ancient Greece. It is utilized as a sweetening ingredient and for therapeutic purposes by many civilizations. Though history may be on its side, the old-fashioned approach to honey – keeping it unpasteurized – can be lethal. Raw honey can cause botulism in newborns. In some places in the world, adults and children alike are also in danger of contracting “crazy honey illness” due to the bees’ sourcing nectar from particular hazardous plants. Intoxication or even death can result if the concentration of grayanotoxins is high enough.
Nothing beats chopped rhubarb in a pie with strawberries. But if you don’t like the idea of tossing away the leaves, this is one of the few times when it’s the right choice. Rhubarb leaves contain oxalic acid, which is toxic to humans. Although it is also present in the stalks, the quantities are substantially lower. To attain toxic levels of rhubarb leaf poisoning, one would most likely need to go on a rhubarb leaf diet, but small amounts can still cause significant health problems.
Another spice, another reason to be concerned. However, unlike cinnamon, the risk of nutmeg is intrinsic in the product and not the consequence of internet challenges. Nutmeg is safe in small amounts. However, its psychotropic qualities have led people to consume it in large quantities. The toxic symptoms can linger for days and can lead to death.
The consumption of raw lima beans results in the breakdown of specific compounds, which results in the formation of the poisonous chemical known as hydrogen cyanide. Therefore, only lima beans with minimal toxicity levels are permitted to be cultivated in the United States. Just like with kidney beans, it’s important to boil these legumes for at least 10 minutes before eating them.
Almonds are a popular snack item due to their high protein content. However, before putting them in your lunch bag, you need to know how to tell them apart. Raw bitter almonds contain the toxin glycoside amygdalin, which breaks down into cyanide when consumed. Eating more than 50 wild, uncooked bitter almonds can be lethal. Traces of amygdalin can still be found in sweet almonds, but not enough to be dangerous.
Could you imagine a world without potatoes? This delicious starch has given us French fries, loaded soup, garlic mash, tater tots, and other comfort food classics. However, if you notice a spot of green on your potatoes, throw them away! Stressful growth circumstances or excessive light exposure can lead potatoes to produce large quantities of poisonous solanine, which can induce life-threatening conditions.
They might be good on the grill, in a pasta sauce, or on pizza, but sausages can be dangerous in some parts of the world. According to a French study conducted in 2013, one out of every four prepared sausages contained the Hepatitis E virus. A similar scenario made news in the United Kingdom in 2017 when HEV was discovered in sausages. It’s not very common for hepatitis E to kill people in developed countries, but pregnant women and people with weak immune systems can die from it.