Top 10 Poisonous Foods We Love To Eat

Posted by admin On 3/03/2010 32 comments

Everyday we chow down on food produced from plants that carry deadly poisons. Most of the time we don’t need to be concerned with this as the mass production of fruit and vegetables ensures that we are usually safe, but from time to time people accidentally kill themselves by unwittingly eating the wrong part of a plant. In order to ensure that this never happens to you, I have put together a list of the most commonly seen poisons that we come in to contact with in our kitchens.

10. Cassava (Yuca)

Cassava (Yuca)

Though not too widely used in the United States, cassava is a woody shrub that is generally found in the Caribbean and South America. When using cassava, it can either be made to be sweet or bitter. The taste, as well as the smell, all depends on the amount of cyanogenic glucosides, which are in fact, extremely poisonous. Most who prepare it like it to be bitter, as it keeps away insects and even animals. If cassava is prepared incorrectly, it can be deadly. Cassava poisoning, due to high levels of cyanide, is known as Konzo. Cassava poisoning leads to irreversible paralysis.

Interesting fact: Cassava roots are ground into a flour-like substance which is then used to make tapioca. Cassava leaves contain cyanide but if pounded into a paste with flour and left in the shade for 5 hours, the cyanide is broken down.

9. Pufferfish

Pufferfish

Pufferfish stand to be the second most poisonous vertebrate in the world. Though you won’t find pufferfish in the U.S., many in Korea as well as Japan find some parts of the fish to be delicacies. However, certain organs of the fish, such as the liver, as extremely toxic, and can be deadly. The poison in the fish, known as tetrodotoxin, can cause numbness, high blood pressure, and muscle paralysis, which is what leads to death as the diaphragm muscles become paralyzed, disabling breathing. Known as fugu when eaten as a meal, many in Asian countries refuse to not eat the fish.

Interesting fact: Pufferfish has been made illegal to be eaten by the Emperor of Japan.

8. Mushrooms

Mushrooms

There are about 5000 types of mushrooms known in the U.S. and about 100 of them are said to be toxic, while less than a dozen are deadly. In any case, mushrooms can cause gastrointestinal discomfort. Since mushrooms are fungi and the fact that there are so many species, it can be hard to know which are poisonous. As rule of thumb, it is usually said that any mushroom found in the wild are more than likely poisonous. One of the deadliest types of mushroom toxins is Alpha-amanitin, which causes extreme liver damage. Toadstools, as they are called, are the poisonous mushrooms.

Interesting fact: There are 38,000 known kinds of mushrooms; about 5% of these are toxic.

7. Cashews

cashew-fruit

Though really seeds and not nuts, cashews grow inside of a shell-like structure that grows on a fruit. When buying “raw cashews” in the store, take note that these nuts have actually been steamed and are not entirely raw. This is because raw cashews contain urushiol, which is the same chemical that you’d find in poison ivy. It can cause the body to have a very similar reaction to one experienced from poison oak or ivy. If a high level of urushiol is ingested, it can be deadly. Cashew poisoning is rare, but those who handle them in order to manufacture them to get the shell off sometimes experience the side-effects.

Interesting fact: Cashews come from a fruit, which in South American countries, is eaten, and the seeds (cashews) are then thrown away.

6. Chilies

http://www.thaiskygreenville.com/img/herbs_and_spices/chilies.jpg

You’ve probably eaten a chili or two in your life. No matter if it was an extremely hot one, or one that was pretty mild, every chili you have ever consumed has contained a chemical called capsaicin. In chilies, capsaicin is what makes them spicy and “hot.” Of course one chili won’t hurt, but if you eat enough of them, capsaicin can kill you. The chemical is so strong that it is used as a paint stripper, and it is even used in pepper spray used by police forces. In hotter chilies, such as habaneros, capsaicin can be felt on the skin if you cut the chili, as it will produce a burning sensation.

Interesting fact: Chilies are extremely high in Vitamin C. One green chili pod is said to contain about 6 times as much Vitamin C.

5. Potatoes

Fresh Potatoes

We’ve all heard something or another about potatoes. Whether it is the potato famine, some Irish story, or some other historical event centered on potatoes, one thing you may not have heard of is that potatoes are toxic. The stem and leaves of the plant are toxic, and even the potato itself is toxic. If you’ve ever looked at a potato, you may have realized that some turn a greenish color. This is due to levels of glycoalkaloid poison. In the past, there have been deaths due to potato poisoning. It is rare, but most happen due to someone drinking potato leaf tea, or eating green potatoes. Death doesn’t come suddenly. It usually results in weakness and then a coma. Don’t worry about having the occasional green potato chip, but do discard any potatoes that have green eyes, sprouts, or greenish skins, rather than prepare and serve them, especially to children.

Interesting fact: Potatoes make great food for astronaut! In fact in 1995 potato plants were taken into orbit on the Columbia and actually grown.

4. Almonds

almonds

Almonds, most always said to be nuts, are actually seeds and are extremely popular in kitchens around the world. Much like cashews, almonds are extremely poisonous if not introduced to some sort of heat source. It is generally the bitter almonds that need to be treated to get rid of the poison. The seeds are full of cyanide, and in many countries are illegal to sell without having been processed in order to get rid of the poison within the seed.

Interesting fact: Almonds are said to be one of the earliest cultivated foods, being mentioned in the Bible’s Old Testament.

3. Cherries

cherries

Cherries are definitely one of the most versatile fruits. You can eat them raw, cook them, bake them, and get them tart or sweet. Cherries can even be used in certain types of liquor. Despite their overall red goodness, cherries are toxic. If you’ve ever eaten a cherry and without thought chewed on the pip or left it in your mouth, you more than likely introduced hydrogen cyanide into your body. If a cherry pip is chewed, crushed, or somehow damaged, it automatically produces hydrogen cyanide. Symptoms of mild poisoning include headache, dizziness, confusion, anxiety, and vomiting. Larger doses can lead to difficulty breathing, increased blood pressure and heart rate, and kidney failure. Reactions can include coma, convulsions, and death from respiratory arrest.

Interesting fact: Cherries contain extremely high amounts of Melatonin which is good for helping and keeping the body regulated.

2. Apples

apples

Apples are definitely a popular fruit no matter where you go. Like others on the list, and many other types of fruits, apples contain cyanide, but not in high levels. The fruit itself does not contain the chemical, but you will find cyanide in the apple’s seeds. Eating all of the seeds in one apple won’t kill you, but it’s definitely not recommended. Of course, if enough apple seeds are eaten, this means chewed and swallowed, it can result in complications.

Interesting fact: Apples float because at least 25% of their mass is nothing but air.

1. Tomato

skin-care-tecniques-with-the-humble-tomato

Despite the extreme popularity of tomatoes and many countries, it is true that they are poisonous. Though the fruit itself doesn’t contain poison, the stem as well as the leaves contain a chemical known as glycoalkaloid. Higher levels are said to be found in wild tomatoes, but those grown domestically still contain glycoalkaloid. This chemical is known to cause upset stomachs and nervousness. The leaves and stem can be used in cooking for flavor, but must be removed before eating. This chemical is so powerful that it is actually used as a way to control pests.

Interesting fact: In 1893, in the U.S. Supreme Court case Nix v. Hedden, it was argued whether or not a tomato was a vegetable or a fruit, which dealt with taxes being paid on vegetbles and not fruits. In the end, the court ruled that a tomato is a vegetable when referring to the Tariff Act, but is botanically a fruit.

32 comments:

Anonymous said...

Here in Brazil, cassava (called here mandioca) is widely consumed, but only the roots. The sweet variety is secure to consume fried or cooked and anyway cassava roots are so hard that is insane to consume them raw.

Cassava root is a very versatile ingredient, with the same uses of potatoes, and also can be turned into a floor and mixed with beans or used on cakes, breads, etc.

Anonymous said...

Rhubarb stems cooked to make Rhubarb stew for filling to make Rhubarb pie or just eat Rhubarb stew with ice-cream leaves are extremely poisonous used to make insecticide to kill any leaf eating creature.

Anonymous said...

april mop???

Anonymous said...

uppss sorryy... i thought this is an april mop :(

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Anonymous said...

"One green chili pod is said to contain about 6 times as much Vitamin C."

6 times as much vitamin C as what?

Anonymous said...

Indeed, in Brazil we call Cashew (caju) the entire fruit, not only the seed. But we eat both the seed and the rest of it, but separately. The seed-only exports even make some people to throw away the fruit (or make candies. They're good!)

Anonymous said...

wht a bullsh.....t

Anonymous said...

Cassava is what is used to make the now popular "Vegie" chips

Anonymous said...

HOLY CRAP!!! I used to swallow Cherry Pits all the time when I was younger...lmao Damn!

I dont care if they call a tomato a fruit, I still consider it a vegetable. =3

Anonymous said...

well sounds a big shit to be honest. everyone in world eats potatoes/apples/almonds/cherries and yet how many death cases have we ever heard from these???
Well if this was true, these thing would have been banned from cultivation.
God you just wanted my time.

Anonymous said...

bwahahaha! "As rule of thumb, it is usually said that any mushroom found in the wild are more than likely poisonous." what a bullshit....I eat mushrooms I pick myself all the time...

Soendoro Soetanto said...

Thank you for the good info.
Soendoro Soetanto

Anonymous said...

Who the hell would write this article?
People shouldn't be worried about commons foods we eat that may be "naturally" poisonous (at a slim chance...honestly? falling into a coma from eating a potato?) by eating the wrong part of the plant. Instead, the poisons we should be talking about here are harmful chemical pesticides and fertilizers.
Why doesn't this article talk about all the terrible things the meat industry does to the food they give us in America?

Anonymous said...

My Grandfather is 91 years old, his Sisters are 99 and 89, his other brother is probably in his late 80s and they all have been eating Cassava bread through out theirs lives. And i mean everyday! if they don't have that at the table in time for a meal, it will not be a meal for them!

Anonymous said...

they're not saying that if you go to the store and buy cashews/tomatoes/cassava/ect. that you are going to die from some lethal poison. they are letting you know that certain foods, if not processed correctly, could be dangerous. this article was not meant to frighten people, it was meant to inform.

Anonymous said...

information is worthfull

Colin Taylor UK said...

It is a shame there is so many dumb people with access to the net.
Interesting article.

Anonymous said...

i eat a whole bucket of mandarins once and that near killed me,that must have been the citric acid in it from diarrhea and dehydration, i think that would teach me not to eat so many ummm

Anonymous said...

Very interesting article, many of the facts mentioned I have heard previously but when all gathered together it's surprising some of the most common foods which have toxins. Mostly accurate except for the statement that wild mushrooms are most likely poisonous, the article already stated thaqt 5% of mushroom species are toxic. Anyway I won't be picking any mushrooms myself, as mentioned they can be tricky to identify and every year some people poison themselves because they thought they knew what kind of mushroom they picked.

Also very interesting the comments, obviously a lot of people either misinterpreted the article or have such a skewed point of view that they can't read it without imposing their own agenda on it.

Anonymous said...

i had the root of Cassava in Africa it is actually very tasty

Anonymous said...

Why are strawberries pictured?

Even Ganja said...

Awh, just legalize Cannabis.
If for nothing else, it would cure whatever illness from the mentioned above.

Anonymous said...

Good article. Many people may not like the factual information presented in this article because it threatens the following popular but naively blind intuition: That 'natural' = 'goodness'. While 'badness' on the other hand can only come from something man-made/modern.

Anonymous said...

thanks for the information. It is always good to know that not all the fruits/vegetables can/should be eaten raw.

Anonymous said...

itz shocking!!!!!!!!
but can't live without eating all these.........

Anonymous said...

all of the above facts are those which i knew ever since i was a child as told by my grand parents... but good to know it were not myths but facts... every being excretes and these toxins are always present in some form in every plants, fruits, veges, etc. we should only avoid consuming unidentified veges, plants from wild which are unknown... :)

honzig said...

Picking mushrooms is a poplular pasttime in many countries. ItÅ› not that hard to recognize your 5 - 10 favourite species and they´re tasty. I often see people coming out of the woods with full baskets of mushrooms (cca 10kg and more).

Asmar said...

Interesting article. I really thank you and encourage you to write more. For the guy of the Wild Mushrooms... a small correction, not most of the wild mushrooms but some of the wild mushrooms are really poisonous: Usually the COLORFUL ONES (with spots of colors, and some of the brownie ones!).
I like the comment of Even Ganja that said "it would cure whatever illness" ... yes its written in the holly book that GOD (S.W) made a cure for every illness !!! and the proof is that sources for medicines are plant LEAVES, stems, pips, some fruits and veges as well.. so you don't have to panic for such highly useful info. By the way, I encourage everyone to eat green chili's instead of red chili's on his next lunch ! :) Joke :) Hola

Anonymous said...

What a dumb article. Firstly, you didn't even mention strawberries but they are pictured.. why? To get more internet traffic to your site? That's misleading and wrong. Secondly, very few wild mushrooms are toxic, you said it yourself, so why scare people by telling them that if they pick a wild one it's most likely toxic??? And finally, who the hell chews apple and cherry seeds? Swallowing them is one thing but if you tried to crunch into one I think you'd have more pain from a broken tooth than from cyanide poisoning, since you'd spit it out like a freaking bullet. Btw, you forgot to mention quantities. It's very misleading to represent the negligible toxin amounts in fruits and vegies as being equivalent to those used in industry for pest control or other harsh uses. People are more likely to die from cancer caused by overexposure to household chemicals and junk food than from poisoning by fruits and vegies. We should be trying to encourage people to eat more of this stuff, not scare them away. =(

Anonymous said...

If we start looking at each fruit and vegetable and substance we eat then were going to end up eating nothing because everything might be a potential carcinogen, or contain some sort of substance that COULD kill you... guess what???even if you drink large amounts of water very fast you can die due to changes in osmolarity which cause your cells to start bursting...
seriously people: evolution made sure you can cope with all of these substances over time so stop being so freaking paranoid...everything can be potentially harmful to your body if used in excess...just use common sense...and plus you wouldn't go around a forest or something like that eating whatever you find...

Anonymous said...

This is ridiculous! How are potatoes harmful? The other day, I found a VERY green French fry in my Mc Donald's, so I took a large bite, it tasted horrible but I didn't die!? Stop scaring people into thinking that fruit and veg are harmful. Billions of people eat all of the foods mentioned in this article and pretty much NO deaths have been caused! I have NEVER EVER heard of someone dying from chewing a bloody cherry seed? This is total rubbish. If you are worried about this article then don't be! It's just a lie to get people to go onto this site. Plus, pretty much every American has eaten a chip in their life. And I'm sure at least a quarter of them have had a green potato in their life. And, I ate all the seeds in the 5 apples I had in one day (I did this a week ago) and am I dead? No. In fact I even showed this web site to my cousin, she's a food care expert, and she told me none of the foods on this site have any poison relations except from the mushroom. And I know mushrooms can be toxic, that's obvious. but all I'm trying to say is this is a total lie so nobody worry about it.