12 Foods That Can Poison You
You might be surprised to learn that some of the foods you eat every day could be poisoning you. While most foods are safe to eat, there are some that can cause serious harm if not prepared or stored properly. In this article, we will discuss 12 common foods that can be toxic if consumed in large amounts or if they are not handled and stored correctly.
1. Almonds (Bitter Almonds)
Bitter almonds, which are sometimes used to make almond oil or extract, contain a toxic substance called cyanide. Consuming just a few bitter almonds can be fatal. It is important to only consume sweet almonds, which are safe for consumption.
2. Apple Seeds
Apple seeds contain a small amount of cyanide, which can be toxic if consumed in large quantities. While it would take a significant amount of apple seeds to cause harm, it is still best to avoid eating the seeds. Simply removing the seeds before eating or cooking the apples is enough to keep you safe.
Cassava, also known as yucca, is a starchy root vegetable that is a staple food in many parts of the world. However, cassava contains a toxic substance called linamarin, which can cause food poisoning if the cassava is not properly prepared. Cassava should be peeled, washed, and cooked thoroughly to remove the toxic substance.
4. Rhubarb Leaves
Rhubarb leaves contain high levels of oxalic acid, which can be toxic if consumed in large amounts. While the stalks of the plant are safe to eat, the leaves should never be consumed. Cooking the leaves does not remove the toxic substance, so it is best to avoid them completely.
5. Potato Leaves and Stems
Like rhubarb leaves, potato leaves and stems contain high levels of oxalic acid and can be toxic if consumed. The toxin is concentrated in the green parts of the plant, so it is important to remove all green parts before eating potatoes.
While mushrooms are a healthy and delicious food, some types of mushrooms can be toxic if consumed. It is important to only consume mushrooms that have been properly identified as safe to eat, as consuming toxic mushrooms can cause serious illness or even death.
7. Seafood (Scombroid Poisoning)
Seafood can cause scombroid poisoning, a type of food poisoning, if it is not stored or handled properly. Symptoms of scombroid poisoning include flushing, itching, and a burning sensation in the mouth and throat. To avoid scombroid poisoning, it is important to store seafood at proper temperatures and to only consume fresh seafood that has been properly handled and stored.
Lima beans contain a toxin called linamarin, which can cause food poisoning if the beans are not cooked properly. To avoid this, it is important to thoroughly cook lima beans until they are soft, as cooking destroys the toxin.
9. Raw Eggs
Raw eggs can contain salmonella, a type of bacteria that can cause food poisoning. To avoid this, it is important to thoroughly cook eggs until the yolks and whites are firm, as cooking destroys the bacteria. It is also important to avoid consuming raw or undercooked eggs in dishes such as raw cookie dough or homemade ice cream.
Pufferfish, also known as blowfish, is a type of fish that can be toxic if not prepared properly. Pufferfish contains a toxic substance called tetrodotoxin, which can cause paralysis and death if consumed. It is important to only consume pufferfish that has been properly prepared by a trained and licensed professional, as improper preparation can result in serious illness or death.
11. Alcohol (Methanol Poisoning)
While drinking small amounts of alcohol is generally safe, consuming large amounts of alcohol can lead to methanol poisoning. Symptoms of methanol poisoning include headache, nausea, and vision problems. To avoid methanol poisoning, it is important to drink alcohol in moderation and to only consume alcohol that has been properly distilled and bottled.
12. Wild Parsnips
Wild parsnips contain a toxic substance called psoralen, which can cause skin irritation and sensitivity to light if the plant comes into contact with skin. To avoid this, it is important to wear gloves when handling wild parsnips and to wash thoroughly after handling the plant.
In conclusion, while most foods are safe to eat, it is important to be aware of the potential dangers posed by some common foods. By properly storing, handling, and preparing these foods, you can minimize your risk of food poisoning and other health problems.
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