Food sustains life and heals us, but it can also poison us if it is improperly prepared or when the wrong parts of fruits and vegetables are used for consumption. Certain sorts of mushrooms can be deadly for us and it is a well-known fact.
But did you know that some of the plants that we have on our daily menu also contain parts that are toxic? Consuming them can have serious consequences on our health, so we had better dispose of them by adding them to the compost pile. Read on to find out which frequently used plants consist of dangerous parts.
The seeds of apricots, peaches, cherries and apples
Plants have an ingenious way to defend themselves from predators. On the outside, they can be wonderfully soft, aromatic and juicy, but their insides can contain a part that will drive away potential predators.
Not only do the hard seeds of the above mentioned fruits have a horrible bitter flavor, but they also contain an ingredient which is transformed into poisonous cyanide when ingested. Do not be afraid if you swallow some apple seeds, though. Nothing will happen to you unless you thoroughly chew around 200 of them, which you surely won’t do.
Asparagus is a well-loved plant whose young stalks most of us like to eat. But please beware of the asparagus fruit in the form of ruby red berries. Consuming a very small amount of these can result in serious health problems since they are toxic for people.
You should not attempt to eat raw cashews since their outsides contain a toxic substance called anacardic acid. This product originates from the Amazon and although it is considered a nut, it actually represents a seed that strangely hangs from the bottom of the cashew fruit. Cashews are usually served in a roasted form.
This unusual sour tasting vegetable is frequently used in sweet dishes. It has red stems that resemble celery and it is consumed in the spring and summer months. There is a part of this plant that you should stay away from by all means- its leaves.
The innocent looking rhubarb foliage contains a high amount of toxic glycosides and oxalic acid, which rapidly damage the kidneys and can lead to seizures when eaten. Not only that- it takes 25 grams of pure oxalic acid to destroy a human life.
5. Red Kidney Beans
Consuming legumes can often lead to bloating and other gastrointestinal problems even when they have been cooked properly. Red kidney beans are extremely popular and widely used in Mexican cuisine. They are an irreplaceable ingredient in chili dishes. The downside is that they have to be very well cooked. In the opposite case, they can cause severe vomiting and diarrhea. This does not have more serious consequences, though, so do not be discouraged from eating delicious Mexican dishes.
Most of us cannot imagine our diet without tomatoes in it but this has not always been the case.
The early European settlers were actually frightened of the conspicuously red fruit, having heard that it belongs to the notorious family of Deadly Nightshade plants.
With their beautiful color and a pretty round shape, people had creatively used tomatoes for decoration for almost 200 years before they attempted to taste them.
We all know that tomato fruit is not only delicious but it is also very healthy for us.
This cannot be said about its other parts, namely the roots, the stem and the leaves. All these contain an alkaloid substance tomatine that is slightly poisonous to people. It does not have a lethal ability unless one ingests it in huge amounts.
Yet another member of the nightshade club, this all-time favorite vegetable also contains a dangerous substance called solanine. It is particularly concentrated in the stems and sprouts, so it is recommended that you remove these parts before the preparation. Green potatoes contain a high amount solanine, so you had better keep away from them. But do not be overly concerned – eating a huge quantity of this compound would cause some really serious health problems.
This unusually shaped and healthy vegetable of a beautiful purple color also contains parts that are not only inedible, but also toxic. Its leaves and flowers contain solanine, which can result in serious stomach problems if ingested.
9. Castor Oil
Castor oil is known for its wonderful healing properties. It is also a common ingredient in confectionary foods. This oil is very carefully extracted and prepared for safe human consumption. The castor bean itself from which oil is extracted is lethal. Consuming only one bean is deadly for people. This is due to its content of poison ricin. Despite the firm safety procedures in the fields where the seeds are picked, many workers still experience horrible consequences.
The small fragrant flowers of an elderberry tree are used to prepare beverages like soda and liqueur. They also make a tasty treat when they are coated in batter and fried. The purple and black berries from this tree are also used to prepare jams, syrups, pies and other types of food.
You should beware of the roots, stems, seeds and the leaves of this tree as they contain a high amount of glycoside that is transformed into cyanide when eaten.