10 Otherwise Healthy Foods That Can Kill You

What poisons are lurking in your cupboard? Not only do we keep harzardous materials in our houses in the form of cleaning materials, cosmetics and medicines, but also the food we eat. Cases of severe disturbance due to certain food substances have been reported and certain foods have been deemed poisonous. Foodborne illnesses cause about 3,000 deaths in the United States annually.

1. Stone Fruit Seeds 

Who would have thought? Death by apples, cherries, plums or pears! Yes. These fruits are not only delicious, but they are nutritious too. Vitamin C anyone? The problem starts when you start to eat the seeds. Apparently the seeds do contain a compound called amygdalin, which breaks down into hydrogen cyanide when ingested. Yes, that cyanide. These types of cyanogenic glycosides or cyanogens are found in over 2500 plant species including apple and pear seeds and in the pits of apricots, peaches, nectarines and plums. When cyanogens are ingested, the human body metabolizes them into cyanide. Cyanide poisoning occurs when these seeds are eaten in excess, when raw. Therefore to be safe, roast the seeds. Hydrogen cyanide is not a heat-stable substance and does not survive cooking. Young children are more susceptible and swallowing only a few seeds/stone may cause cyanide poisoning. Symptoms of cyanide poisoning occur within a few minutes and may include constriction of the throat, nausea, vomiting, headache, etc., and death has been reported in severe cases.

2. Hotdogs 

Hotdogs are delicious, and found in almost every corner in the streets of New York City. Bacon, sausage and other processed meats are now ranked alongside cigarettes and asbestos as known carcinogens, according to World Health Organization. In a study done on children 0 to 14 years of age ,hard candy caused most choking episodes (15 percent), followed by other candy (13 percent), meat other than hot dogs (12 percent), and bones (12 percent). Other high-risk foods, including hot dogs and seeds and nuts, were more likely to require hospitalizations. Anyway, not only is your child going to die through asphyxia, but hotdogs, or processed foods are a high risk cancer causing food. Because of a wealth of studies linking colon cancer to diets high in red meats (beef, lamb, or liver) and processed meats (hot dogs, bologna, etc.), people are advised to eat more vegetables and fish and less red and processed meats.

3. Raw meat 

This should also include eggs and seafood. Isn’t raw foods the in thing. No. Not animals. No raw chop in my smoothie. Plant foods, at least most of them are best when eaten raw, but you still have to wash them. Animals, when eaten raw, lead to salmonella food poisoning. This is bacteria, which, when in your blood stream, can be fatal, especially to people with weak immune systems. The following may occur; fever, headache, and muscle pain followed by diarrhea (sometimes bloody), abdominal pain, and nausea. Symptoms appear 2 to 5 days after eating and may last 2 to 10 days. May spread to the bloodstream and cause life-threatening infection. Foods should be cooked long enough and at a high enough temperature to kill the harmful bacteria that cause illnesses. A meat thermometer should be used to ensure foods are cooked to the appropriate internal temperature: 145 degrees for roasts, steaks, and chops of beef, veal, pork, and lamb, followed by 3 minutes of rest time after the meat is removed from the heat source, 160 degrees for ground beef, veal, pork, and lamb, 165 degrees for poultry.

4. Shellfish – These are marine animals with shells, such as shrimp, crab and oysters, among others. Most people who are allergic to shellfish may also be allergic to iodine. The greatest danger is respiratory paralysis. Close monitoring for at least 24 hours and aggressive airway management at any sign of respiratory compromise should prevent severe morbidity and mortality. The reaction leads to anaphylaxis, which can inhibit breathing and can be life threatening. Infectious agents cause most shellfish-associated illness. Hepatitis A, Norwalk virus, Vibrio parahaemolyticus, and Vibrio vulnificus all have been transmitted through shellfish ingestion. Toxic illness caused by shellfish has been recognized for several hundred years. Vibrio vulnificus is a bacteria that lives in warm seawater and can contaminate shellfish, particularly oysters. It causes the same gastrointestinal symptoms as many other foodborne illnesses, but in people with weakened immune systems it can develop into a life-threatening blood infection. Because fatal and near-fatal shellfish allergy reactions, like other food allergy symptoms, can develop when a child is not with his or her parents, parents need to make sure that their child’s school, day care or other program has a written emergency action plan with instructions on preventing, recognizing and managing these episodes in class and during activities such as sporting events and field trips.

5. Peanuts 

Even though they may be full of nutrients, they are packed with energy, proteins, fatty acids, minerals, antioxidants and vitamins. Peanut allergy is the most common allergy. Many children with asthma are also allergic to peanuts, but are unaware of it. An anaphylactic reaction occurs leading to constriction of the airways, shock, and loss of life. An allergic response to peanuts usually occurs within minutes after exposure. Signs can include:

  • Runny nose
  • Skin reactions, such as hives, redness or swelling
  • Itching or tingling in or around the mouth and throat
  • Digestive problems, such as diarrhea, stomach cramps, nausea or vomiting
  • Tightening of the throat
  • Shortness of breath or wheezing
  1. Rhubarb 

    The leaf stalks are actually the most commonly used parts of rhubarb, sometimes as a dessert or an ingredient in sweet dishes. It may be great for baking all kinds of delicious sweets, but the leaves are no sweet deal. Due to the potent nature of rhubarb, you should avoid it if you have a pre-existing kidney condition or certain gastrointestinal conditions, as it can make them worse. Also, be careful that children or pets do not eat the leaves if you grow the plant yourself. There have been some cases of death due to the toxic levels of oxalic acid contained in the leaves. The leaves are poisonous causing breathing trouble, seizures, burning in the mouth, burning in the throat, coma, diarrhea, eye pain, nausea and vomiting and red-colored urine. Symptoms last for 1 to 3 days and may require a hospital stay. Serious poisonings can result in kidney failure. Deaths have been reported, but are rare.

  1. Mushrooms

    Mushrooms have been found to have a wide variety of health benefits, including: improved weight management, improved nutrition, increased vitamin D levels, and improved immune system function. Then, there also are hundreds of other mushrooms that will cause anything from a mild stomachache to severe physical distress-including vomiting, diarrhea, cramps and loss of coordination. Two common poisonous mushrooms are the jack-o’lantern and the green-spored Lepiota. Although the symptoms of poisoning from these mushrooms may be alarming, they usually pass in 24 hours or less with no lasting effects. The little brown mushrooms cause virtually all the fatal mushroom poisonings in the United States. If you are into wild mushrooms, identify each and every mushroom you collect, and only eat those whose identification you are sure of. When in doubt, throw it out. Strictly avoid: any mushroom that looks like an amanita (parasol-shaped mushrooms with white gills); all little brown mushrooms; all false morels. Some people are allergic to even the safest mushrooms. The first time you try a new wild mushroom, it is important that you eat only a small amount and wait 24 hours before eating more. As with other foods, rotting mushrooms can make you ill. Eat only firm, fresh, undecayed mushrooms. Most wild mushrooms should not be eaten raw or in large quantities, since they are difficult to digest.

  1. Pork 

    Pork is a good sources of protein in a healthy diet and provide you with vitamins and minerals as well. It is the processed meats such as bacon and ham are believed to contribute to the development of cancer.The meat of the pig becomes more saturated with toxins than many of its counterpart farm animals. Since the pig’s digestive system operates basically in about 4 hours, (as opposed to cows which take 24 hours) many of these toxins remain in its system to be stored in its fatty tissues ready for our consumption. Pigs carry a variety of parasites in their bodies and meat some of these parasites are difficult to kill even when cooking. This leads to trichinosis or trichinellosis. This is an infection that humans get from eating undercooked or uncooked pork that contains the larvae of the trichinella worm. Undercooked ham may also harbour Hepatitis E virus. Once the parasites are in the tissues, the following symptoms may be experienced:

Headache, high fever, general weakness, muscle pain and tenderness, conjunctivitis, sensitivity to light and swelling of the eyelids or face. Studies done on pork chops and ground pork samples tested positive for Yersinia enterocolitica, a bug known to cause infections in about 100,000 Americans a year, especially kids. Other bacteria found in pork samples included enterococcus, staph, salmonella and listeria. With the above facts in mind, there is extensive antibiotic use in pork facilities. A surge in the prophylactic use of especially powerful antibiotics has fostered an increase in antibiotic-resistant strains of dangerous bacteria.

9. Sugar 

Aka sucrose, aka high fructose corn syrup, aka fructose. Yes, sugar is disguized in most of the foods we eat under a different name.The use of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) has increased over the past several decades in the United States while overweight and obesity rates have risen dramatically. Studies have established the association between excessive sugar consumption and obesity. As we may all know, obesity is linked to, and promotes the development of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. These disease remain in the top killers in the first world. It is also associated with development and/or prevalence of fatty liver, dyslipidemia, insulin resistance and hyperuricemia.

  1. Potatoes

    We all enjoy them all over the world as fries, chips, mashed potatoes, scallopped, and many others. I don’t know any culture that does not enjoy potato in one form or another. The poison is in the whole plant, but especially in green potatoes and new sprouts. Never eat potatoes that are spoiled or green below the skin. Always throw away the sprouts. Potatoes that are not green and have had any sprouts removed are safe to eat. Though effects are mostly gastrointestinal, central nervous system effects may occur in ingestion of large quantities. Life threatening effects include hypothermia, paralysis, shock, slowed pulse and slowed breathing.How well you do depends on the amount of poison swallowed and how quickly treatment is received. The faster you get medical help, the better the chance for recovery. Symptoms may last for 1 to 3 days, and hospitalization may be necessary. Death has been reported, but is rare.