In this day and age when everyone around you seems to be either a vegan or a fruitarian or even a raw food eater, you may think that unprocessed fruits, vegetables and nuts are the only means to good health. But it is foolish to believe that everything organic is harmless to humans. In fact science has gone so far as to show us that some natural foods are not only detrimental to health, but can at times prove to be fatal.
What’s startling about this piece of information is that most of these noxious foods are indeed extremely common and widely consumed by people all over the world. Your kitchen is probably stocked full of them. And with potatoes, cashews, egg whites, rhubarb, tuna and even apples making the list, who could blame you?
Did you ever think that your plate of delish mashed potatoes could actually be deadly? Trace amount of a chemical called Solanine is present in the stems, leaves and eye of potatoes. Solanine is a glycoalkaloid that acts as a natural fungicide and pesticide for plants. It tends to accumulate over time, especially due to increased exposure to sunlight and, is the reason behind the green flesh of some potatoes.
Each potato contains 8-13 mg of Solanine. Presence of 200 mg or more of the chemical in our body can cause nausea, diarrhea, hallucinations, headaches, hypothermia and even death.
2. Fruit pits and seeds
The pits of fruits like apples, pears, mangoes, peaches, cherries, apricots and so on, contain amygdalin, which at high concentrations can change into the lethal Hydrogen Cyanide. So use caution the next time you try some new seeds in smoothies. Just a word of advice, don’t go about eating the roots and leaves of cassava as they are rich in cyanide too.
3. Cashews and almonds
Raw cashews have urushiol, the same chemical found in poison ivy. Large doses of urushiol can be deadly, especially for people with allergy towards poison ivy. To rid them of this poisonous chemical, cashews are steamed during their processing. In case of almonds, especially the bitter varieties, a kind of naturally occurring prussic acid( hydrogen cyanide) is present. In fact, 7-10 raw almonds can cause health problems in adults, and can be fatal for children.
Mercury poisoning is a real thing. Larger the size of the fish, more the concentration of mercury in it. Tuna and swordfish are two kinds of fish that are more susceptible to mercury contamination. Considerable amount of mercury in our system can lead to nerve fiber degenerations, hormonal problems, kidney damage, birthing defects, immune system dysfunction, schizophrenia and several other serious health issues.
While swordfish has been more or less taken off from the market, you should be mindful of the number of times a week you eat tuna. The FDA recommends against the consumption of tuna by children and pregnant women. The albacore variety of tuna is said to be safer than its bigger equivalents.
5. Egg whites
While you may think that egg whites are more nutritious (as in egg-white omelet) and also delicious (as in meringue and mousse) than egg yolks, they do contain trypsin inhibitors that prevent you from being able to digest protein. Over time, this may indeed lead to a slow, painful end. Even lima beans have trypsin inhibitors, so a meal of egg white omelets and lima meals will probably be a deadly combination.
6. Rhubarb leaves
Rhubarb leaves have high concentrations of oxalic acid that can cause kidney stones. Although about 11 pounds of this lethal substance is required to actually kill someone, even a tiny amount when ingested is enough to make a healthy person terribly sick.