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We all love trying new foods and flavors. But did you know some foods can be dangerous if not prepared or eaten the right way? Some everyday foods and even some exotic ones can be harmful. In this list, we’re going to talk about 15 foods that could be harmful if not handled right.
Remember, most of these foods are perfectly safe when prepared correctly, so don’t let this list scare you away from enjoying them!
Cherries are a beloved fruit, known for their sweet taste and health benefits. However, their pits are a different story. They contain a compound that, when ingested, can convert into cyanide within your body. While you would need to consume a large number of pits for it to be lethal, it’s still a good idea to avoid chewing or swallowing them. So, the next time you’re enjoying this delightful fruit, remember to spit out the pit!
Rhubarb is a unique vegetable, often used in desserts for its tart flavor. But did you know that its leaves are toxic? They contain a high concentration of oxalic acid, which can cause serious kidney problems and even be fatal if consumed in large amounts. So, while rhubarb pie might be a delicious treat, make sure to only use the stalks!
Potatoes are a staple in many diets around the world. However, when they turn green, they produce a toxin called solanine. This natural pesticide can cause symptoms ranging from nausea and diarrhea to headaches and, in severe cases, can even be fatal. So, if your potato is looking a bit green, it might be best to toss it out.
Almonds are a popular snack, known for their health benefits. But not all almonds are created equal. Bitter almonds, unlike the sweet ones we usually eat, contain a significant amount of cyanide. If not properly processed, they can be deadly. So, stick to the sweet variety for your snacking needs.
Nutmeg is a beloved spice, often used in baking and cooking. But in large amounts, it can cause nutmeg poisoning. Symptoms include hallucinations, convulsions, nausea, dehydration, and in severe cases, it can even be fatal. So, while a sprinkle on your eggnog or in your cookie dough is perfectly fine, don’t go overboard with this potent spice.
Raw honey is a natural sweetener, loved for its taste and health benefits. However, it can contain spores of Clostridium botulinum. This isn’t a problem for adults, but it can cause botulism in infants, which can be life-threatening. So, it’s best to avoid giving raw honey to children under one year of age.
Fugu, or pufferfish, is a delicacy in Japan. However, it’s also one of the most dangerous foods in the world. The fish’s liver, ovaries, and skin contain tetrodotoxin, a potent neurotoxin. If not prepared correctly, consuming fugu can lead to paralysis and death. Only licensed chefs are allowed to prepare this risky dish.
Ackee is a fruit native to West Africa, but it’s also a staple in Jamaican cuisine. When fully ripe, it’s perfectly safe to eat. However, if eaten too soon, it can lead to “Jamaican vomiting sickness,” which can be fatal. So, if you’re trying ackee, make sure it’s fully ripe and properly prepared.
Cassava, also known as yuca, is a root vegetable commonly used in African, South American, and Asian cuisines. However, if not prepared correctly, it can produce cyanide. Always make sure to peel and cook cassava thoroughly before consuming it.
Raw Kidney Beans
Raw kidney beans might not seem dangerous, but they contain a toxin called phytohaemagglutinin. This toxin can cause severe nausea, vomiting,and diarrhea, and in extreme cases, it can even be fatal. Cooking the beans thoroughly neutralizes the toxin, making them safe to eat. So, always make sure to cook your kidney beans before enjoying them in your favorite dish.
Mushrooms are a popular ingredient in many dishes, but not all of them are safe to eat. Some varieties, like the Death Cap, are extremely poisonous and can be fatal if consumed. So, if you’re foraging for mushrooms, make sure you know how to identify the safe varieties.
Apricot kernels, found inside the pit of the fruit, contain a compound that can convert into cyanide in your body. While they’re often marketed as a health food, consuming too many can be deadly. It’s best to enjoy the fruit and leave the pit alone.
Tomatoes are a staple in many dishes, but did you know their leaves and stems are toxic? They contain high levels of tomatine, a glycoalkaloid. While you would need to consume large amounts for it to be lethal, it’s still best to stick to the fruit itself.
Elderberries are often used in syrups, jams, and teas for their health benefits and sweet flavor. However, their leaves, seeds, and twigs contain cyanide-producing glycosides. Consuming these parts of the plant, especially raw, can lead to nausea, vomiting, and in severe cases, death. Always cook elderberries thoroughly and avoid consuming the leaves, seeds, and twigs.
“Raw” cashews from the store are actually not truly raw. They’ve been steamed to remove a chemical called urushiol, which is also found in poison ivy. Consuming truly raw cashews can cause the same effect as poison ivy or poison oak, and in severe cases, can be fatal. So, enjoy your cashews, but make sure they’re properly processed first.
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Michelle Harler is the founder of Guide2Free, a website dedicated to finding and sharing freebies, product testing opportunities, and other ways to save money. With over a decade of experience in the industry, her expertise in finding quality offers makes Guide2Free an invaluable resource for anyone looking to try new products and save money.