In a world that is slowly going back to nature and consuming its foods in all its raw glory, or if you’re experimenting with various ingredients or even trying to be that adventure junkie that eats the foods of the forest, especially when travelling; be aware. Before you go biting or sipping on some of these foods while thinking it is healthy, make sure you eat it in the right manner so it won’t well, kill you, slowly and not to mention painfully, because of its naturally poisonous nature.
Here are some surprising foods we eat everyday that can actually kill you. You have been warned!
1. Bean Sprouts
It has been proven to be one of the top foods to carry three havoc-causing bacteria: E. coli, salmonella, and listeria, all of which thrive on the warm and humid environments they are grown in. It was first discovered in Germany in 2011, after an outbreak of E. coli occurred upon consumption of beans sprouts. It killed around 20 people and left numerous others horribly sick. In Indonesia, it is also believed that beans sprouts kill sperms and reduce the sperm count in men, although there is no real scientific proof for it.
2. Raw Cashews
Purchasing those wasabi roasted cashews is not something you may think twice about when picking it up from a grocery store. However, those cashews that you buy are actually not ‘raw’. In fact, they go through a process which makes them edible and not actually kill you. First the cashew kernels are steamed so that it removes this poisonous toxin called urushiol, inside it. This toxin is closely associated with poison ivy and can cause similar rashes and itching on your skin. Eating a cashew straight from the tree, or a lot of raw cashews, without this poison removing process, is a surefire way to die. So please beware!
The berries of this plant, were a promised medicinal folk remedy used in Ancient Europe, to treat colds as a tea and even used topically for skin wounds. But did you know that the branches, leaves and seeds, contain a poison that is related to the deadly cyanide? If consumed wrongly, i.e. some varieties, if it is not cooked properly or not ripe; it can make you extremely ill, causing nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and even seizures. Jam, tea and syrup made from elderberries are yummy, but do avoid the leaves, twigs and seeds, never eat the berries raw and always choose only ripe ones for cooking completely.
4. Tapioca And Cassava
Popularly eaten after steaming and mashing as cakes and chips, they are both staple foods in Nigeria, many other African countries, and South America. Raw cassava and tapioca are actually dangerous because they have a chemical called, linamarin, which the body converts into a cyanide like toxin only after we eat and digest it. The safest way to eat cassava and tapioca is to peel it and then boil it thoroughly.
Peanuts are safe to eat as long as you do not have an allergy or are not swallowing them without chewing, only to risk getting choked. However, for those that are allergic, peanuts cause the highest number of deaths among all major food allergies, even though only 1% of the population has a peanut allergy in the first place.
The oh-so-famous core ingredient for those traditional rhubarb pies and even yogurt flavors, rhubarb stalks are wonderful, but never eat their leaves no matter what, as it contains a toxic chemical which can make you sick and even kill you.
Besides the previous cases of mercury poisoning killing people through consumption of shellfish, it can also kill you if you have an allergy. Those who are allergic to shellfish usually have itching, swelling, hives, wheezing, lack of breath, pain in their abdomen, and can even get into an anaphylactic shock, which they can die from if they do not get treated with medication quickly.
8. Raw Milk
That store-bought carton of milk, is not fresh no matter what its packaging and advertising tells you. And with good reason. After going through pasteurization, a process where the milk is boiled at a very high temperature and then cooled down, it helps kill off life-threatening bacteria such as salmonella, E.coli and listeria. However, a word of warning goes to people who like to drink milk raw from those farmer’s markets or make cheese from raw milk. To make sure it is safe, heat the milk at home till it reaches its boiling.