We take it for granted that what we eat day in day out is relatively safe. Even if a bacon sandwich might have some adverse effects a long way down the line, none of us are going to lose any sleep. Unfortunately, it turns out that we have a lot more to worry about than we may have thought.
Hidden in plain sight among many of our favourite foods are chemicals and components that, if not treated with respect, could have tragic consequences. Some will come as a shock, but all are potentially dangerous. Here are eight everyday foods that can actually kill you.
Most commercial almonds are delicious, sweet and harmless. However, if you come across a collection of bitter almonds, you should approach with caution. Unlike their cousins, these wild nuts contain a substance which breaks down into cyanide when digested by the body. In most cases, careful cooking will help neutralise the toxin.
An apple a day may help keep the doctor away, but only if you eat the right bits. Unfortunately for fruit lovers, a single apple seed contains around 700 milligrams of cyanide, meaning that, if consumed in large enough quantities, they have the potential to kill.
It might be tempting to scoff back an entire bag of tasty cherries in one sitting, but it pays to pay close attention to what you’re eating. Whilst the flesh itself is harmless, the pits are packed full of seeds, each of which contains enough cyanide to kill a 150-pound person. Maybe it’s time to treat cherry pie with more respect.
Elderberry jam and wine may be delicious, but woe betide anyone who tries to eat the fruit raw. Elderberries actually contain high levels of glycosides, which when metabolised turn into a form of - you guessed it - cyanide.
5. Hot Dogs
We all know that there are all sorts of alarming ingredients in the average hot dog, but even the most unappetising of these should be the least of your concerns. Every year, hot dogs are responsible for the deaths of dozens of children, who end up having their airways blocked thanks to the snack’s cylindrical shape.
Generally speaking, you’re unlikely to suffer any adverse effects from any mushroom you find in a store. The problems start when you decide to take matters into your own hands. Many mushrooms that look similar to safe species are in fact highly poisonous and capable of killing anyone unfortunate enough to eat them.
It might smell like Christmas and make even the most average mac and cheese utterly irresistible, but nutmeg has a nasty side. Though safe in small quantities, the spice contains high levels of the toxic organic compound myristicin, which has in rare cases been known to cause death.
Even though they’re eaten all over the world and are beloved by billions, potatoes aren’t always as comforting as they seem. When potatoes turn green, you would do well to avoid eating them, as they produce the chemical solanine - a compound capable of causing vomiting and even cardiac arrest.
There are plenty of foods that we know to be dangerous, which makes them that much easier to avoid. It’s far harder when stuff starts sneaking in under the radar. Hopefully this list will help you avoid any unfortunate accidents in the future.