When it comes to food, you don’t discriminate. You embrace it all, and are practically drooling to try out new foods that have the potential of making your taste buds tingle! What you don’t know is that from delicious delicacies to regular groceries, some of them contain toxins which could potentially end you.
You might love them, but the feeling clearly isn’t mutual…
Eat at your own risk!
7. Fruit Pits
Have you ever cracked the hard shell of a cherry pit with your teeth to devour what was inside? Maybe you’ve been chewing apple seeds your whole life out of boredom and have grown a liking to the nutty taste. It’s definitely cherry-season right now, with our favourite bags of cherries all cheap, ripe and ready-to-eat! While it can always be enjoyed as a tasty treat, cherry pits ─ along with apricot pits, peach pits and apple seeds all contain cyanide which when ingested, can have quite serious side effects.
This doesn’t mean that it’s necessary to freak out if you swallow a cherry pit by accident. Your body is able to handle a few apple seeds and the occasional cherry pit. This is because a healthy person’s digestive system can break down small quantities of cyanide into safe compounds.
However, if large amounts of fruit pits are ingested, the overdose of cyanide can cause the cells in your body from using oxygen. Since this is crucial to your bodily functions, the side effects include, but are not limited to headaches, dizziness, vomiting and anxiety.
Ingesting fruit pits is also considered more dangerous for children and pets ─ not just because of the cyanide contents, but the potential of it being a choking hazard. It’s hard for children to understand the need to spit out cherry pits, so it’s best practice to feed kids pitted cherries.
6. “Green” Potatoes
During your numerous visits to the grocery store, you must’ve came across potatoes with a light greenish tint. Just like humans, potatoes have a natural defensive mechanism. They contain a glycoalkaloid poison called solanine which helps the tuber defend itself against insects, predators and disease. When a potato is exposed to too much light, it turns green due to chlorophyll production, which indicates that it contains high levels of solanine.
Instead of throwing it out, you can simply cut away the green portions of the potato as the rest of it is still safe to eat. Instructions on bags of potatoes always recommend to store potatoes in a cool, dark place. This is definitely something that should be followed to ensure that your potato is always looking its absolute best!
If you’ve ever drank bubble tea, you would’ve tasted the chewy globes, or tapioca pearls. Whether it’s your habit to suck the pearls up through your straw in the beginning or drink the tea and leave the clump of pearls at the bottom, it’s interesting to note that there is a hint of danger associated with them.
Tapioca pearls are made from tapioca starch, which is taken from the cassava plant. The raw cassava plant contains cyanide, which is dangerous to both humans and animals. If prepared incorrectly, it could pose as a serious threat.
4. Bitter Almonds
Although they appear to look like nuts, almonds are actually like apple seeds ─ the seeds inside the fruit of almond trees. Bitter almonds are the sneaky culprits to watch out for, because they contain large amounts of cyanide that could very easily kill you, or at least make you sick.
3. Live Squid
Nakji, or live octopus, is an interesting dish served in Korean restaurants. The octopus is either cut into pieces with its tentacles still moving, or served whole. To the novice eater, the slippery octopus will be trying to escape its demise as desperately as it can ─ whether it be squirming all over the plate or attaching its suction cups to your cheek or inside your throat.
The best way to minimize risk of choking is to chew it thoroughly to ensure that it passes smoothly to your stomach.
Ackee fruit, which is Jamaica’s national fruit, can cause what is called the Jamaican Vomiting Sickness, if eaten improperly. Although quite beautiful to look at, the fruit can only be eaten when the peel turns red and opens to reveal the black seeds. Once open, only the yellow internal flesh is edible, as ─ yes, you’ve guessed it… the black seeds are poisonous!
1. Blow Fish
The blow fish, or “fugu” is a Japanese delicacy that puffs itself up quite conceitedly underwater, making itself look more menacing to its enemies. However, it’s hardly the spiky exterior that you should be worried about, because the fish contains tetrodotoxin, “which is 1200 times more deadly than cyanide,” says TIME magazine. This poison paralyzes your muscle and eventually leads to asphyxiation. Clearly this is more of a gamble with your life than an innocent cherry pit.
In Japan, chefs must be professionally licensed to prepare fugu, which takes two to three years to accomplish. At the end, they must consume their self-prepared fugu. This raises the price of fugu to over $200! Some thrill-seekers will put their lives on the line to feel a tingle on their lips from fugu prepared with a small amount of toxin.