10 Foods We Love That Can Kill Us

Nutmeg

Photo: Wikimedia

It may come as a shock to find that some foods we eat every day can be hiding some of the most deadly poisons on earth.So, just when you thought it was safe to eat your dinner, here’s a list of tasty foods that carry an element of danger with every bite.

The next time you reach for an almond you may want to think twice.

Raw almonds are full of cyanide

The good: Almonds are delicious on their own or as part of a recipe. These seeds (not a nut, as commonly thought) are rich in vitamins and minerals, and may lower cholesterol and even the risk of cancer.

The bad: Apart from a fairly common tree nut allergy, bitter almonds are chock full of cyanide. In fact, it's illegal to buy raw, untreated bitter almonds in the U.S. today. All almonds undergo mandatory pasteurization to remove poison and bacteria -- which has stirred up food controversy since 2007.

Nutmeg can cause psychotic hallucinations

The good: Nutmeg is an ancient spice, usually grated and used for its sweet properties. It can be put in coffee, deserts, soups, curries, and even wine. It also has medicinal uses, easing muscle and tooth pains as well as stomach-related afflictions.

The bad: A little nutmeg is delicious. A lot of nutmeg is dangerous. Over-consumption of the spice can cause hallucinations, or even a state called 'Nutmeg Psychosis,' where the user experiences feelings of agitation and even a 'sense of doom.'

Cassava contains several types of cyanide

The good: In the tropics, cassava is king-- one of the best sources of calories around, it can be cooked in a variety of ways. It can also be made into bread, crackers, beverages and puddings. Humans and animals alike use it as a food source.

The bad: Cassava contains more than one type of cyanide. Unless it's prepared properly, or if consumed in great quantities, this shrub can paralyze or even kill you.

Cherry pits are full of cyanogenic glycosides

The good: Cherries themselves are tasty. The pits can be used as a source of fuel, and to relieve body aches and pains.

The bad: Cherry pits contain cyanogenic glycosides. A small amount is fine, but several pits -- made worse by chewing them up and allowing the glycosides to mix with your enzymes -- can poison you.

Effects range from headaches and vomiting to kidney failure and eventually coma, convulsions, and death.

Rhubarb contains toxic Oxalates and anthraquinone glycoside

The good: Rhubarb is used in deserts, has laxative properties, contains tons of vitamins and minerals, and is low in calories. It's also easy to grow at home.

The bad: Oxalates in the rhubarb leaves makes them highly toxic. Another leaf-dwelling toxin is anthraquinone glycoside.

Try mixing the leaves with soda and water to see how corrosive these acids can be. But freezing rhubarb -- which is a common storage method -- can cause the toxins to sink to the stalks, resulting in contamination.

Tomato plants contain poisonous glycoalkoloids

The good: Tomatoes can be found everywhere, from salads to hamburgers. They can help treat high blood pressure, heart disease, and even athlete's foot.

The bad: Beyond the heartburn of the tomato itself, tomato stems and leaves contain glycoalkoloids, a poison that causes headaches, stomach aches, cases of respiratory depression, and loss of feeling.

Apple seeds are chock full of cyanogenic acid

The good: Again, the fruit around the seed is pretty good. The seeds contain protein and potassium, and if you're careful, they can be used to combat cancer cells.

The bad: Apple seeds contain cyanogenic acids. Similar to cherry pits, the poison factor of the seeds depends on the quantity consumed. Your body can handle a few, but more than that leads to headaches, anxiety, kidney failure, and loss of life.

Mushrooms may contain the deadly toxins orellanine, gyromitrin, and alpha-amanitin

The good: Mushrooms also have a variety of uses, from salad to risotto. Though polarising, this fungus has a versatile taste. Edible mushrooms don't have any poisons but do contain many health benefits.

The bad: Toadstools are a slang term for poisonous mushrooms, which can be extremely deadly -- just a few bites are needed to cause fatal liver damage -- cooking the mushrooms doesn't kill the poison.

Just a few of the deadly mushroom toxins that can kill you are orellanine, gyromitrin, and alpha-amanitin.

Castor beans are filled with ricin

The good: Castor oil is used in a number of ways, usually by parents for their kid's stomach aches. You can also find the oil in food flavorings and colorings, such as in candy and chocolate.

The bad: Just one castor bean is enough to kill a child, and a few more can kill an adult. A single gram of ricin, the bean's main toxin, is thousands of times more powerful than cyanide. Worst of all, there is no known remedy for a ricin poisoning.

The Puffer fish has Tetrodotoxin

The good: An incredibly expensive delicacy in Japan, the puffer fish has been praised as the most delicious of all fish. No doubt the taste is heightened by a sense of fear.

The bad: The fear of the fugu comes from the fact that it is extremely poisonous. The puffer fish must be prepared a special way, by licensed chefs who undergo rigorous training, to be enjoyed. Tetrodotoxin can be found in the liver, ovaries, and skin, and accidental death is the common result of ineffectual removal.

As a protective measure, the emperor of Japan is not allowed to eat fugu.

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