7 seriously dangerous foods that can kill you
Do you embrace life to the full? Do you believe in eating everything and anything just for the experience, especially when you travel in new countries? What you might not know is that there are some exotic foods, as well as some ordinary items that may be in your pantry, are potentially lethal.
Here are seven foods that could bring you to an untimely end.
1. Fruit Pips
Some people just love cherries. Given the high price of these wonderful, shiny fruits, some people insist on eating the pips too. Or sometimes you chew on an apple pip without realise what you are doing. The same goes for the pips of apricots and peaches.
Think again. These pips contain the deadly poison cyanide. Don’t panic if you have swallowed a cherry pip by accident. Your body is equipped to break down small quantities of cyanide so they are safe. Of course, your body will respond to large quantities of cyanide in quite a different way. Your body would lose the ability to use oxygen. At the very least you would experience dizziness, headaches, biliousness and anxiety. At worst you would die.
Eating fruit pips is even more dangerous for children and pets. This is double jeopardy: not only could the child or pet die but they could also die from ingesting the poison pips. Kids don’t always understand that they have to spit out the pips so rather give de-pipped fruit to children.
2. Blow Fish
In a Japanese restaurant or home you might encounter a delicacy called fugu. When alive the blow fish blows up and looks menacing but the spiky exterior is not the problem. The fish contain a poison called tetrodotoxin which can be up to 1000 times more deadly than cyanide. It leads to oxygen deficiency, then muscle paralysis and finally asphyxiation as your body loses the ability to draw breath.
The Japanese are aware of this danger. In Japan chefs have to do a three-year course and get a professional licence to prepare fugu. They get the licence only after they have consumed their
self-prepared blow fish.
So this is why a plate of fugu can set you back about R2 500.
Why would one eat fugu then? To get the tingling sensation of fish containing a tiny amount of tetrodotoxin, say the aficionados
3. Green Potatoes
Potatoes develop a green tint if exposed to harsh light. You have probably seen pale green potatoes at the supermarket, or you have found some nestling in the vegetable rack in your kitchen.
The substance in potatoes that makes them turn green is a poisonous substance called solanine. If a potato is “threatened” by harsh light, insects, disease or predators then the solanine level increases. This leads to chlorophyll production that turns the potato green.
This does not mean that you have to discard the green potato. Cut away the green portions of the potato and eat the rest.
Instructions on bags of potatoes always recommend that potatoes be stored in cool, dry, dark places and solanine is the key reason for this. Always follow this instruction.
4. Live Octopus
On a visit to a Korean restaurant you might encounter an unusual dish called Nakji – live octopus. The octopus is dismembered alive and served with the parts still moving, or it is even served whole. The live octopus is usually so active that it even tries to escape the plate, or by attaching itself with its suction cups to the inside of your mouth or your throat.
So if you can catch your meal, then make sure you cut it up into smaller pieces so the pieces of squid can slide harmlessly into your stomach.
This root vegetable looks something like a sweet potato. It is a staple food in many African countries. The important point is that the raw cassava plant is poisonous. Once again cyanide is the culprit here. The same goes for raw tapioca, which is derived from cassava in the form of cassava starch. If you are going to eat cassava, make sure it is prepared properly.
This beautiful fruit is Jamaica’s national fruit. Looks can deceive. This fruit can cause Jamaican Vomiting Sickness. The fruit is ready to eat when the skin turns red and peels open to reveal the black seeds. The yellow flesh is edible but the seeds – you’ve guessed it – contain cyanide and are poisonous.
Did you know that almonds are not nuts but pips? Almonds are the seeds inside the almond tree fruit. See the item about fruit pips above. Yes, almonds contain cyanide. It is this poison that gives almonds their bitter taste. So never overdo the almonds.
Overdosing on these delicious pips could harm you and even cost your life.
All info was correct at time of publishing