From the famous delicacies across the world to the contents of your kitchen cupboards, there are a handful of cuisines that taste scrumptious but potentially deadly and can pose a danger to your health in case you are not careful.
Before taking a bite, do a sweep of your fridge, pantry and menus for these items to ensure safe eating.
1. Tomato Leaves & Stems
From scrumptious pasta to loaded burgers, tomatoes are used in hundreds of recipes. However, this juicy fruit contains a poison in its leaves called Glycoalkaloid. It’s known for causing stomach-aches, severe cramping and anxiety. So, next time when sitting down for your meal, steer clear of the tomato leaves and stems.
2. Cherry Pits
As luxe as they look, cherries can actually be dangerous for consumption. The hard pit in the centre of cherries is brimmed with poisonous prussic acid, also known as cyanide. However, it’s all right if you directly swallow one as the pit just passes through your system. Keep away from crunching the pits as you nosh on your cherries.
It’s a known fact that allergies to peanuts are one of the most common food allergies. They can cause anaphylaxis, which can lead to severe constriction of the airways, shock, and even loss of consciousness. It is dangerous enough to cause death if left untreated, so be sure of your allergies before consuming them or their addictive friends, peanut butter.
4. Apple Seeds
As much as we love eating this fruit, apple seeds have cyanide that can cause rapid breathing, seizures, and possibly death, even in smaller doses. Fortunately, apple seeds have an inbuilt protective coating that keeps the cyanide from entering your system even if you accidentally swallow them. But it’s always a good practice to be cautious.
5. Castor Oil
Well-known for its anti-inflammatory properties, castor oil has been garnering a lot of popularity amongst beauty influencers these days. However, not many people know that castor oil comes from the castor bean plant, which is loaded with the poison ricin. Therefore, always make sure that the beans your castor oil was made from followed the safety guidelines.
Frequently used to flavour several sorts of baked goods, confections, puddings and even potatoes, nutmeg adds a nutty flavour when added in small amounts. Nevertheless, it can cause several issues when eaten by the spoonful as it contains Myristicin, an oil that can cause hallucinations, drowsiness, dizziness, confusion, and seizures.
7. Unpasteurized Honey
If honey isn’t pasteurized accurately, ingesting this sweet and sticky can lead to headaches, dizziness, weakness and vomiting as it contains poisonous toxins like Pyrrolizidine Alkaloids.
8. Green Potatoes
The potato sprouts and underground stems contain a toxin called Glycoalkaloid. They turn a potato in green-hue when it gets damaged, exposed to light or ages. Eating potatoes with a high-level glycoalkaloid can cause diarrhoea, nausea, headaches, and even death.
9. Bean Sprouts
From salads and lightly cooked to thrown into a stir fry for a crunch, bean sprouts have always been a great source of protein. Even so, they can also cause food poisoning when consumed raw or even lightly cooked because bacteria thrive in a warm, humid environment and sprouts are grown in such conditions. However, if properly cooked, it can kill all the harmful bacteria that can be found in sprouts.
10. Raw Kidney Beans
Amongst all the bean varieties, raw red kidney beans have the highest concentration of lectins. Lectins are a toxin that can give you a bad stomach-ache, make you puke, or give you diarrhoea. Even 4-5 raw kidney beans can cause these side effects, which is why it’s always recommended to boil your beans before eating.
11. Raw Milk
Unlike the pints of milk sold at supermarkets which are pasteurized, some people drink milk straight from the animal called raw milk. It's a highly risky beverage as it causes deadly diseases like E.coli and listeria.
12. Bitter Almonds
Both, bitter and sweet, almonds have amygdalin, which is a chemical compound that can turn into cyanide. But, bitter almonds have the highest levels of amygdalin so far. While, sweet almonds are safe to munch on, eating untreated bitter almonds can cause cramps, nausea, and even diarrhoea.
13. Chili Peppers
We all know how hot chili peppers are. They have a chemical called Capsaicin, which makes them spicy and is also used in pepper spray cans. Consuming a huge amount of these can cause your lungs to constrict.
14. Star Fruit
Normal kidneys can filter out the toxins in this sweet star fruit, but if you have some sort of kidney disease, it’s best to leave it out of your meal. For the kidneys that can’t filter the toxins, it can cause mental confusion, seizures, and even death.
Extremely sweet and jiggly, this small fleshy fruit can cause Acute Encephalitis Syndrome, well-known as Chamki Bukhar, which is a form of brain fever that happens due to the inflammation of the brain. The symptoms of this syndrome include fever, vomiting and unconsciousness or onset of seizures.
16. Microwave Popcorn
More than the kernels, it’s the bag that can cause troubles for you. There is a chemical that's used in the bag's non-stick coating decomposes called perfluorooctanoic acid. This acid can cause both liver and prostate cancer.
They may taste delicious in pasta and pizza but beware of certain wild mushrooms. There are two specific types of harmful wild mushrooms, Amanita Phalloides (the death cap) and Amanita Virosa (destroying angel), that one should steer clear of. Eating these wild mushrooms can cause diarrhoea, vomiting, intense thirst, abdominal pain, dehydration, coma, liver failure, and death.
18. Raw Cashews
The bag of cashews you see on the shelves in a supermarket with a raw label isn’t exactly raw. Before they are packed, they are steamed to remove a toxin called Urushiol from their shells. It is the same toxin you find in poison ivy. Eating pre-steamed cashews can cause an allergic reaction.
19. Mango Bark, Skin & Leaves
Shocking, isn’t it? The mango bark, skin and leaves contain urushiol, the same toxin is found in raw cashews and poison ivy. If you’re allergic to this toxin, having a bite of mango can cause a severe reaction with swelling, rash, and even problems breathing.
20. Rhubarb Leaves
Rhubarb leaves contain higher levels of oxalic acid, which binds to calcium and makes it harder for your body to absorb it. It proves to be a risk for kidney stones, diarrhoea, blood clotting problems, vomiting, and even coma.
21. Wild Berries
Wild berries like honeysuckle, doll’s eye and yew, are allegedly poisonous. Just three berries from yew and holly trees can cause sickness, nausea and diarrhoea.
22. Unripe Ackee
An unripe ackee contains dangerous toxins that can even lead to death. Therefore, this pear-shaped fruit needs to be ripened fully before consuming it. The importation of this raw fruit is even banned in The US.
Recently, cassava flour has emerged as a renowned gluten-free alternative, but the roots and leaves of this vegetable are extremely rich in cyanide. Just two roots of cassava can carry a fatal dose. To make sure that you are correctly eating this vegetable, it must be peeled and cooked well before consumption.
24. Unpasteurized Cheese
Being a host for deadly food borne illnesses, harmful pathogens and bacteria, unpasteurized or raw cheese is commercially banned for importation in The US.
You might not care about the fats in butter but you should definitely keep a tab on your margarine intake. Having a high level of hydrogenated oils, several tubs of margarine can increase your risk of heart disease and cancer.