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11 foods you didn't know could kill you

By Justice Kofi Bimpeh
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Food is a must for survival. Many of our holidays and fondest memories are built around food. Whether you are enjoying comfort food or going out on a limb to try fusion, there are always new foods to discover.

However, not everything that is eaten should be eaten. This list looks at common foods that have toxic parts, are toxic if not prepared properly, and a few delicacies you may encounter while you are traveling.

In addition, we’ll take a look at the number one killer in the United States!

1. Nutmeg

Nutmeg is a popular spice that is grown in the Caribbean and Indonesia. The kernel of the seed is nutmeg. Nutmeg adds a warm, sweet taste and Thanksgiving-y smell to food.

It is also a hallucinogenic. A teaspoon of raw nutmeg brings on an elevated heart rate, nausea, dry mouth and vomiting. Hint: most of the nutmeg in your spice rack isn’t raw.

It is rarely fatal, but you might wish you could die because symptoms will last a few days.

2. Mushrooms

Most people know better than to eat wild mushrooms. In case you don’t, mushrooms can be incredibly toxic and even experts have mistaken a bad mushroom for a good one.

Not all poisonous mushrooms are brightly colored, either. Symptoms include kidney damage, nausea, vomiting, cramps, and diarrhea.

Some mushrooms are deadly and have been named as the death agent in several deaths including Emperor Claudius, a tsar and a pope. You are generally safe buying mushrooms from a grocery store.

3. Kidney Beans

Who knew kidney beans could actually be toxic? Turns out they are contain a glycoprotein called lectin. This protein kills the cells in your stomach, leading to could cause extreme nausea, diarrhea and vomiting.

It is pretty easy to avoid kidney bean poisoning. If you are using dried beans, soak them in water for at least 5 hours. This is especially important if you are cooking kidney beans in a slow cooker.

Next, it may keep the doctor away, but…

4. Apples


The Wicked Queen was on track in Snow White. Apples naturally contain cyanide, a very toxic substance. The cyanide is contained in the seeds, so make sure you avoid the core.

It would take a lot of apple seeds to poison yourself, but why take the chance?

A more serious problem is that pesticides cling to the apple skin and then get waxed into the apple during conventional picking. Wash the fruit and remove the wax coating for best result.

5. Puffer Fish

If you are travelling to Japan, you encounter very different food. One delicacy is fugu. This puffer fish can cause paralysis or even death if not properly prepared.

The liver and internal organs are extremely toxic. Some chefs leave just enough liver to give you a tingly feeling on your tongue. Too much and you might die!

Symptoms range from tingling to respiratory paralysis. You can get fugu poisoned in the US – make sure you know which ocean fish you are eating!

6. Honey

Unpasteurized honey may contain pyrrolizidine alkaloids if the bees were gathering nectar or pollen from the wrong plants. The PAs can lead to liver cirrhosis and cancer. The PAs are eliminated by pasteurization.

Another issue with honey is botulism. Botulism is extremely fatal in small doses but the levels in honey are low enough that healthy adults can eat it.

Children under twelve months should never be fed honey or honey products. Heating honey won’t help either.

7. Celery

What could possibly be deadly about the simple celery? Crunchy, water-rich, bland enough to set off cheese nicely, and the dieter’s snack.

Well, turns out that you can find more than 64 different chemicals on and in celery. As celery grows, it takes in a lot of water from the ground and that water contains a large variety of pesticides.

Whether or not you accept the science behind pesticide safety, you might want to do yourself a favor and buy organic celery.

8. Blueberries

Another type of produce that is high in pesticide and fertilizer residue are berries. Since the berries are delicate and popular with insects, farmers use a lot of pesticides and fertilizers in order to get their produce to market.

Blueberries contain 52 different pesticides known or suspected of causing damage to people and the environment.

Oddly, if you purchase frozen berries, they are much lower in pesticide residue. If you want to eat berries, buy the frozen variety.

9. Ackee

If you’d like to experience “Jamaican Vomiting Sickness” nibble on an unripe or too ripe Ackee.

This national fruit of Jamaica is related to lychee. Ackee is rich in healthy fatty acids, a variety of vitamins and fairly low in calories. The taste is described a buttery and similar to hearts of palm.

The problem is that the seeds, and unripe and overripe flesh are poisonous. The side effects of eating improperly prepared fruit can cause seizures and fatal hypoglycemia.

10. Brazil Nuts

Brazil nuts are rich in selenium, a trace element that your body needs. Selenium is may prevent certain cancers and heart disease, improve mental function and supports the thyroid. Very few American are deficient in selenium.

Too much selenium can lead to a variety of conditions from garlic breath to nausea to heart failure. Because brazil nuts are so high in selenium, limit your intake to two nuts a day.

11. Fast Food

This American invention play a role in the number one and two leading killers of Americans. Fast food is engineered to taste good and to create addictions to the high fat, high calorie, highly processed and cheap offerings.

Fast food is directly linked to high cholesterol, diabetes, and obesity that lead to heart disease. Some cancers could also be linked to fast food preservatives and processing.

Avoiding the convenient but potentially deadly trap of fast food could save your life!

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