When you eat something that is edible, its unlikely that you think about it being poisonous. After all, it’s edible, right? Unbeknownst to you, many of the most common food items (even on the Paleo diet) are actually toxic. Here are some of the toxic tastes you could potentially be enjoying on a daily basis, but it isn’t all bad news! So, don’t panic and raid your kitchen with an eagerness to ride your life of such items.
Cherries are a favorite fruit for the most of us, and due to them being one of the most versatile fruits, many people consume them on a daily basis. They can be eaten raw, or you can bake them, cook them or even enjoy them in a tart or other Paleo dessert. They’re also found in a variety of different kinds of liquors – not like that makes them any more Paleo though… Unfortunately. Despite them being a favorite, cherries are extremely toxic. If you have ever accident bit into the pit or left it in your mouth for a long period, you’d probably start to taste the unpleasant flavor of chemicals such as hydrogen cyanide. Luckily, it is only in the pit and very rarely does it get chewed, crushed or damaged inside your mouth. However, to be on the safe side, if you ever feel dizziness, headache, confusion, anxiety, or vomiting when or post eating cherries, you may be experiencing mild poisoning, but you would have had to crunch down on a significant amount of pits. Larger doses, although you’d have to be oblivious to receive such a large amount of cyanide from cherries without noticing, can lead to breathing difficulty, increased blood pressure and heart rate, and more severely, can cause kidney failure, coma, convulsions or death. As mentioned, it really can’t be expressed enough just how near-impossible it would be to experience this from cherries.
Almonds Can Poison
When almonds are introduced to some sort of heat, they actually contain high amounts of poison, cyanide. In many countries, it’s actually illegal to sell almonds without first going through the heat process which, as mentioned, is vital to strip these seeds (they’re not nuts) of their toxic elements.
With tens of thousands of mushroom varieties, very few of these actually end up being found in the United States, and even fewer are found in grocery stores. Out of the thousands of kinds, it’s only about 100 of them that are actually toxic. In addition, only 12 of those 100 are said to be deadly. Thus, you can continue to eat mushrooms without a worry, but you should be aware of the forms to steer clear of as they can cause gastrointestinal discomfort. Mushrooms are fungi which makes it hard to determine which ones are poisonous but a general rule of thumb to follow is to avoid any mushroom found in the wild because it is more than likely toxic, containing one of the deadliest types of mushroom toxins, Alpha-amanitin.
Cashew Shells Are Toxic
As mentioned in a previous post, the outer layers of the cashew is actually toxic. Raw cashews actually contain urushiol which is a chemical that can be found in poison ivy as well, and it also has a similar reaction and can cause serious skin irritation and even worse, it can be deadly if ingested in high levels. There is no need to worry though because the majority of these seeds (no, they’re not nuts) are roasted to ride them of any toxic elements. Even when you purchase “raw cashews”, you actually getting a product that has already been steamed. Thus, it isn’t completely raw and you don’t have to worry about any toxins. In fact, cashew poisoning is so rare that you won’t really ever hear about it.
While pufferfish may not be the most common item in your diet, it isn’t absolutely unheard of. While it isn’t found in the United States, a little trip over to Korea or Japan and you’ll quickly see that this fish, although known for being one of the most poisonous vertebrate in the entire world is seen as a delicacy. The pufferfish has certain organs, such as the liver which are so toxic that it can be deadly in the most serious of cases. Aside from that, the poison, tetrodotoxin, can cause high blood pressure, numbness and muscle paralysis which can cause you to become paralyzed and eventually stop breathing. However, many Asian countries refuse to stop eating it as the “Fugu” dish that they call it despite the Emperor of Japan ruling it as illegal to be eaten.
Snow White’s Apple
In the popular Disney film, Snow White, she is given an apple that has been poisoned by the witch. However, apples are actually poison even sans the witch. Despite being one of the most popular fruits that can easily be found all around the world, many people aren’t aware that they contain cyanide. However, there is no need to panic because the actual fruit itself doesn’t contain the toxin, and it’s actually found within the apple seeds but in very small amounts. Thus, eating all of the seeds in apples, although not recommended, won’t kill you. It can cause discomfort and complications down the road though. So, treat the seeds like the witch in Snow White and avoid!
Chemicals in Chilies
It doesn’t matter whether it’s a mild, spicy or suicidal chili, it contain a poisonous chemical called capsaicin. This is what puts the fire in them. While one chili won’t harm you, eating an abundance of them can as capsaicin, when ingested in high amounts can be fatal. It is so strong that it is used to strip pain from walls and is even used in pepper spray by law enforcement. That’s some serious heat. Capsaicin can be felt on the skin if you slice a chili, so be cautious when cutting up hotter versions such as habaneros and jalapeno peppers. On the contrary, chilies are said to contain extremely high amounts of Vitamin C.
Toxins in Tomato
Tomatoes, unbeknownst to several people, aren’t a fruit but they’re actually a vegetable and despite the majority of the world enjoying the delicious and nutritious taste of tomatoes, even more people don’t know that they are poisonous. Don’t worry because the actual fruit itself doesn’t contain any toxins, and they’re actually all found in the stem which are sometimes ingested for flavor. In the stem is a chemical called, glycoalkaloid and higher levels can be found in wild tomatoes and although those that are grown domestically do have small amounts of this chemical, it’s rare to come across a scenario in which someone experiences poisoning which would cause an upset stomachs and nervousness. To avoid any risk, use healthy and natural spices for flavor, and rid your cooking regime of tomato stems as they are toxic. The same chemical is used to treat pests.
It isn’t a popular item within the United States, but Cassava is a woody shrub that is found within the Caribbean and South American diet. Cassava can be prepared to a sweet or bitter taste, and the smell depends on the amount of cyanogenic glucosides within it. As you probably assumed from the name, cyanogenic glucosides are chemicals that are extremely dangerous due to their poisonous elements. While it is often used to discourage insects and animals, it can be deadly if prepared incorrectly due to the large amounts of cyanide. So, you must be weary when traveling.
You may be left there with your jaw on the ground and a need to run to the bathroom, but as mentioned at the beginning, there is absolutely no need to worry. As mentioned with each item, there are vital tips and information that will steer you away from the poisonous elements of such ingredients that can be used in cooking. For example; removing the stems from tomatoes or spitting out your apple seeds. It doesn’t take a large amount of effort to ride these foods from their toxic elements either. So, you can truly continue to enjoy the benefits and deliciousness of such items, sans the dangers.
More importantly, this article goes over the toxic sides of these foods all of which can be avoided and/or removed. So, it is imperative to continue to enjoy these foods to reap the health benefits that are prominent, despite not being mentioned.