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You Ate Poison!

By Sanna


Photo Credit: http://icons.mysitemyway.com/legacy-icon/090226-black-paint-splatter-icon-signs-warning-poison1/

Ok, so maybe the title is a little hyperbolic, but did you know that a lot of the (raw) food we eat actually have amounts of chemicals that could be fatal to us?

We happily assume that the food sold in the nearest supermarket is safe to consume, and thus we fill our tummies with delicious treats. However there is a sinister danger that lurks behind that sweet red tomato, and those almonds your mom always gave you to eat? Those too could be a health hazard. Whilst the food and health agencies around the world generally prevent threatening foods from making their way to the shelves, it’s always good to have an idea about what’s in what we eat.

Here are 5 potentially Fatal Foods you should know about:

Tomatoes:

For a great part of the medieval period in Northern Europe, tomatoes were seen as sinisterly poisonous fruit and thus were avoided. While tomatoes themselves are not harmful, their leaves and roots contain neurotoxin solanine (also found in the leaves of potatoes and other nightshade plants) and this is indeed poisonous. But the fruit itself is perfectly safe to eat and is a beloved ingredient in many a dishes.

Almonds:

This is the miracle seed, treated by everyone as the most sacred of foods, and for good reason. Almonds have a myriad of benefits, including reducing the risk of heart disease and lowering cholesterol. But did you know that the bitter almonds we love to eat contain amounts of cyanide? In fact cyanide exists in many raw foods, such as spinach, lima beans and soy. According to research we actually do have to be careful about the number of bitter almonds we eat as they can be harmful to health. But fear not, for most almonds are processed and the hydrogen cyanide is taken out if it. In the US it is actually illegal to sell bitter almonds that are unrefined!


Nutmeg:

Ok, so anyone who dares to refer to themself as bakers will be aware of how careful they have to be with this ingredient. Nutmeg contains myristicin, a compound that can have hallucinogenic effects much like that of LSD. Too much nutmeg can cause gastrointestinal, heart and nerve problems. In severe cases people can overdose without realizing as the hallucinogenic effects of nutmeg set in slowly. Nutmeg can be especially dangerous during pregnancies, it may have a negative affect on the fetus and was once even considered an abortifacient. So be careful of that eggnog next Christmas.


Red Kidney Bean:

This one comes as a surprise on the list. Did you know that kidney beans are more toxic than other beans? They not only need to be pre-soaked, but also have to be heated at least for 10 minutes before being cooked with other ingredients. Severe symptoms can occur after eating as few as 4 to 5 uncooked beans, which include extreme nausea, diarrhea and abdominal pain. According to the FDA, the beans have to be boiled at high temperatures, even 80°C in a slow cooker is not hot enough. In fact with kidney beans, cooking at lower temperatures actually can have a reverse affect. If not boiled at high temperature, the toxin level can rise up 5 fold!


Pufferfish:

This famously prestigious dish is so deadly that by law, only chefs who have undergone rigorous training are allowed to serve it. This notorious dish has a troubled history as different dynasties continuously attempted to ban it in Japan. Pufferfish, or fugu as it is known in Japan, is a highly poisonous and thus has to be prepared with utmost care to remove the toxic parts. It is often prepared as sashimi (the most popular kind), stew or salad. Recent advances in aquaculture have lead researchers to breed fugu that is free of toxics, which may make it more readily available but bring down its perilous charm. Whatever the future of fugu, it remains the only food that the Emperor of Japan is forbidden from eating.

Secret poisonous toxins may lurk around in other ingredients that may look perfectly innocuous. Whilst for the most part we are safe from unsuspecting vegetables and fruits, it is always best to be aware of what you eat and ensure that you know how to treat them.

Eat safe, readers.

facts about food   History of food   fruits and vegetables

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