As humans, we probably have the largest diversity and range of food choices on the planet. We know exactly how to please our palate and categorically pick the food we love. But, do we know enough about the food we eat? Not always. Because if we did, then we would stop eating many of the foods that we simply love or change the way we eat them. Here are some interesting facts about food that will leave you shocked.
1. Apples Belong To The Rose Family
We all know that eating an apple every day can keep the doctor away. But, did you know that apples belong to the rose family? Not just apples, even peaches, and plums are from the same family. That’s because, in the early 1900s, botanists reclassified the apple families as subfamilies within the rose family.
Today, there are around 7500 varieties of apples grown around the world. So, it would take you 20 years to try each variety of apple every day! The apple tree was among the earliest tree to be cultivated and its fruits have been improved by selecting particular varieties for over thousands of years.
2. Store-Bought Orange Juice Is Not Completely OJ
You may have heard that orange is actually a type of berry. But, are you aware that the orange juice you buy from stores is not entirely real orange juice? The manufacturers of orange juice get rid of oxygen from the juice so that it can be preserved longer.1
This results in the loss of its flavor and natural aroma. To compensate for this loss and to make it taste fresh, fragrance companies are called in to reintroduce its flavor and fragrance. They actually use flavor packs in their so-called 100 percent pure squeezed orange juice to achieve a consistent flavor.
3. Extra Virgin Olive Oil Is Often Adulterated
Touted as probably the healthiest oil to use, olive oil has found its way into the kitchens of most health conscious people. But, you’ll be shocked to know that almost 70 percent of the olive oil sold across the world is not 100 percent pure virgin olive oil and is often adulterated.2
In March 2008, police cracked down on Italy’s thriving fake olive oil business that involved importing oil from Tunisia, Greece, and Spain and relabeling it as Italian oil. They also labeled inferior oil as extra-virgin olive oil and were claiming EU subsidies for growing olives in Italy while they actually imported them from elsewhere.
4. The Brain Is Hardwired To Crave Sweets
If you have a weakness for sweets, you can blame it on the way our brains are programmed to like them. As humans, we are hardwired right from birth to crave sweet foods.3 Studies have shown that bitterness can be wired to a brain area that drives aversion, whereas sweetness can be wired to attraction. So, the tongue is not the only organ that decides what you like and what you don’t. Your brain plays a role in many cases.
5. Chocolate Was Once Used As Currency
It’s well-known that chocolate is addictive and even has some aphrodisiac properties. But, more interestingly, it was also used as a form of currency.4 Research shows that cacao had considerable religious, political, and social importance in the cultures of the Mesoamerican region. Trading was done using cacao as a monetary unit and cacao drinks have been used in ritual and political settings.5
6. Carmine Food Color Comes From Dead Bugs
Foods and delicacies such as fruit drinks, candy, yogurt that have a shiny red color may look appealing to the eyes. But, do you know what they’re made of and how they can affect you? The red coloring, or cochineal carmine, is obtained from the dried bodies of the female cochineal insect (Dactylopius coccus).
These insects are harvested in Central and South America and the Canary Islands specifically to be made into a dye. Studies show that exposure to this coloring agent should be added to the list of agents capable of producing occupational asthma. Allergic reactions can occur both through ingestion and through direct skin contact.6
7. Coconut Water Can Be Used For IV Transfusion
War veterans will tell you how the humble coconut water can save the life of a wounded person. Since the electrolyte balance of coconut water is very similar to that of human blood, an intravenous coconut water transfusion can save the life of a person when plasma is not available.7 Coconut water can come in handy in remote areas and under emergency military conditions where the normal sources of intravenous solutions are unavailable.8
8. Peanuts Are Not Nuts
This one will surely drive you nuts. Would you believe that peanuts are not really nuts? Peanuts or groundnuts are actually legumes just like beans, peas, and lentils. Apart from tasting great, they boost your energy and are even good for your heart.9 Legumes are a seed, pod, or other edible parts of a leguminous plant, used as food.
9. Fresh, Ripe Cranberries Bounce
Here’s an easy way to tell if your cranberries are just right to eat. Fresh, ripe, good-quality cranberries tend to bounce when they’re dropped. Its firm skin forms a tight seal and holds air pockets in the berry making them bounce like an inflated rubber ball. Since over-ripe or damaged cranberries do not bounce properly, cranberry harvesters use this technique to help with sorting the crops.10
|↑1||Renato Souza Cruz, Geany Peruch Camilloto and Ana Clarissa dos Santos Pires. Oxygen Scavengers: An Approach on Food Preservation. Structure and Function of Food Engineering. 2012.|
|↑2||Frankel, Edwin N. “Chemistry of extra virgin olive oil: adulteration, oxidative stability, and antioxidants.” Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 58, no. 10 (2010): 5991-6006.|
|↑3||Reed, Danielle R., and Amanda H. McDaniel. “The human sweet tooth.” BMC Oral health 6, no. 1 (2006): S17.|
|↑4||Lippi, Donatella. “Chocolate in history: food, medicine, medi-food.” (2013): 1573-1584.|
|↑5||Christopher, Hillary. Cacao’s Relationship with Mesoamerican Society. Spectrum. 2013.|
|↑6||Tabar, A. I., S. Acero, C. Arregui, M. Urdánoz, and S. Quirce. “Asthma and allergy due to carmine dye.” In Anales del sistema sanitario de Navarra, vol. 26, pp. 65-73. 2003.|
|↑7||Campbell-Falck, Darilyn, Tamara Thomas, Troy M. Falck, Narco Tutuo, and Kathleen Clem. “The intravenous use of coconut water.” The American journal of emergency medicine 18, no. 1 (2000): 108-111.|
|↑8||EISEMAN, BEN. “Intravenous infusion of coconut water.” AMA archives of surgery 68, no. 2 (1954): 167-178.|
|↑9||Mattes, Richard D., Penny M. Kris-Etherton, and Gary D. Foster. “Impact of peanuts and tree nuts on body weight and healthy weight loss in adults.” The Journal of nutrition 138, no. 9 (2008): 1741S-1745S.|
|↑10||Oregon Cranberries – Leader’s guide. Oregon State University. 2014.|