Are red kidney beans poisonous? 7 common foods that are surprisingly dangerous

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Everyone's heard the rumour that red kidney beans are poisonous – but is actually true?

Danger lurks in every corner of the foodieverse. From fish that can poison you to crabs that you need to risk your life to catch, there are any number of ways to die in the food industry.

Whilst we can all take precautions to protect ourselves, danger has a way of sneaking up on us. This may come as a shock, but there are several surprising ways that everyday food could be about to kill you. 

Here, Twisted takes a look at whether red kidney beans are poisonous as well as the risks associated with other common foods. Approach this list with caution.

Are red kidney beans poisonous Are red kidney beans poisonous? (Credit: Pixabay)

1. Are red kidney beans poisonous?

Despite being a key ingredient in any self-respecting chilli, kidney beans have a dark secret at their heart. Containing high levels of the toxic chemical phytohaemagglutinin, it’s essential that the innocent looking beans be boiled for at least 10 minutes before consumption.

If cooked insufficiently, the toxicity can actually become multiplied, making matters even worse.

are red kidney beans poisonous Red kidney beans are poisonous if not cooked correctly (Credit: Pixabay)

2. Cassava

A staple in African and South American diets, cassava (also known as manioc and tapioca) can be mashed, boiled or roasted before being eaten. However, anyone preparing the root needs to take extra care.

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If it's eaten raw, both the flesh and leaves contain cyanide. Over the years, it's been known to kill unlucky diners.

Cassava poisonous Cassava actually contains cyanide (Credit: Pixabay)

3. Cashews

Though it might look as though every bag of cashews is served raw, there is a precise and essential process that each nut has to go through before being eaten.

All the nuts that we buy have been boiled or steamed to remove the deadly chemical urushiol. This is found in every cashew in its purest form.

Cashew nuts poisonous Cashew nuts contain the chemical urishol (Credit: Pixabay)

4. Elderberries

A favourite of foragers and anyone who enjoys a glass of cordial, elderberries are absolutely delicious when ripe and correctly cooked. But anyone unfortunate enough to attempt to digest an unripe fruit is in for a shock.

Elderberry leaves and twigs contain high levels of cyanide and a fruit picked before its time can cause diarrhoea and seizures.

Elderberries toxic Elderberries should be treated carefully (Credit: Pixabay)

5. Rhubarb

Nothing says comfort like a proper rhubarb crumble. You’d just better pray that the chef was sensible enough to avoid putting any leaves in it.

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Rich in oxalic acid, anyone eating anything other than the stalk could suffer from nausea, diarrhoea, difficulty breathing and bloody urine. This is all caused by crystals forming in the kidneys.

Rhubarb poisonous Rhubarb leaves can be toxic (Credit: Pixabay)

6. Apricot

Though the bright orange flesh is both delicious and healthy, apricot seeds can pack a lethal punch.

Rich in cyanogenic glycosides, which convert to cyanide when ingested, the seeds have proved a major problem for residents of Turkey. In fact, several people there have died after overindulging in their favourite fruit.

Apricots toxic Apricot seeds can be incredibly dangerous (Credit: Pixabay)

7. Hot Dogs

It’s not always hidden toxins that can turn food deadly. Despite its status as an American cultural icon, the humble hot dog actually represents a huge choking hazard, particularly for young children.

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Across America last year, around 17% of choking deaths in kids aged between 1-10 were caused by hot dogs.

hot dogs choking Hot dogs are more dangerous than you might think (Credit: Pixabay)

We would love to say that you can relax around your favourite foods.

After all, no one wants to sit down to a staple, only to find that it might end up killing them.

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Unfortunately, the world doesn’t work like that.

Be on your guard, and for God’s sake go slowly on the hot dogs.