You may be very surprised as you fork up another piece of pie or pout gravy over your holiday dinner and sides that you are risking not just a couple extra pounds on the scale or a slightly tighter waistline but also the real possibility of sickness or death. A number of very commonly eaten food ingredients contain substances that can make you very ill or, in some cases, actually kill you. Fortunately for most of the deadly foodstuffs you would need to eat a large amount to actually check out permanently. But some of these foods do contain significant amounts of the harmful compound and need to be eaten carefully with that in mind.
A Little Cyanide In Your Cherry Pie?
Stone fruits such as peaches, plums, cherries, nectarines, and apricots contain a “nutlike” center, better known as the pit. Inside that pit is an almond shaped or round seed that can be cyanide producing if it is broken or crushed and then ingested. Of course, most of the time we eat our fruit pitted, but there are some traditional dishes that have unpitted fruits in them. It is also possible to dig into a pie or fruit salad and find a pit that has been left by mistake. For the most part, if swallowed whole without crushing, these will pass through the digestive system intact, but you must take care. Apple and pear seeds also contain cyanide producing substances, but you would need to eat a lot — a quarter of a cup of seeds — to have a bad reaction.
Mashed Solanine And Gravy
If your mom or grandma told you this it is true. Potatoes that have turned green or sprouted have much higher levels of a toxin called solanine. Exposure to light and dampness can cause potatoes to sprout and become greenish. This color signals the presence of a substance that is known to inducenausea, headaches and neurological problems. You can cut away the green areas and still eat the potato. However if it smells funky or tastes bitter, give it a pass. A large baked potato could bring on distress, although perhaps not death, if eaten when green.
Rhubarb Leaves — Not The Greens You Are Looking For
Favorite sweet and sometimes savory dishes can be made of the super sour stalks of the rhubarb plant. Sauces, pies, and jams are delicious when the stalks are stewed and sweetened. The large leaves, however, are another story. The leaves can contain anthraquinone glycosides and oxalic acid. Serious poisonings have resulted in kidney failure, so death is possible, but uncommon. Normally people would not eat the leaves. Yet today there is so much talk about the healthiness of greens that a unsuspecting cook could make a very unfortunate mistake. If these leaves are ingested a trip to the emergency room is indicated because of the possibility of breathing problems and the renal involvement.
Arsenic And Fluffy Rice?
Because of the soil where it is grown and the water used to flood the paddies, rice is at risk of containing significant levels of inorganic arsenic. Rice will have varying levels of the toxin but a lab must verify this, rather inconvenient for the average consumer. Arsenic can build up in the body over time and can affect health in the following ways:
Increased risk of cancer
Raised blood pressure
Contributing to heart disease and Type 2 Diabetes
Many foods that are benign when they are eaten by most folks are a death sentence for others. The reason is an allergic reaction some suffer when they eat the particular foods. Food allergies are no joke. They can arise suddenly with a food that a person has eaten with no problem in the past. The most deadly cause a swelling in the the throat. Anaphylaxis, that can be fatal if not immediately reversed through medical interventions and fast acting drugs. Common allergies that are more likely to involve anaphylaxis include: