Food is one of the essential ingredients needed to sustain human life, so when people think of food, many positive words and phrases might spring to mind: delicious, flavorful, and life-sustaining. In the case of some food, though, another far less positive word might apply: deadly. Here are 10 foods that are anything but life-sustaining and that may potentially kill you if you consume them.
Shellfish are a delicious variety of seafood that includes old favorites like shrimp, clams, and crab. One person’s seafood boil outing is another person’s trip to the hospital. People who are allergic to shellfish can have a reaction that is similar to a peanut allergy. If anaphylaxis sets in and is untreated, it can lead to death.
3. Raw Meat and Eggs
Steak and eggs are one of life’s good things, so it might seem surprising to see them on a list of deadly foods. The problem comes in when the meat and eggs are raw or undercooked. Since these foods have bacteria, not cooking them thoroughly can lead to the much dreaded salmonella bacteria surviving the cooking process and entering an unfortunate person’s digestive tract. Salmonella causes over 400 deaths a year in the United States alone, most of those cases coming from food sources.
4. Hot Dogs
There’s nothing inherently deadly about the delicious hot dog. What causes trouble is the irregular, elongated shape of the hot dog itself. Children, and even a few adults, are susceptible to choking to death on hot dogs. It might sound far-fetched, but it’s a tragic and depressing fact of life. Children are almost always the victims. 77 kids choke to death on a hot dog every year, and that’s a fact that many parents would like to see changed via a re-design of the all-American hot dog shape itself.
5. Fruit Seeds
Certain types of fruit have seeds that contain prussic acid, a form of hydrogen cyanide. Examples of fruits that contain seeds contaminated with prussic acid include much beloved apples, cherries, and peaches. Peaches have large pits, so it’s unlikely a human being would worry too much about being taken unaware by a peach pit, but apples and cherries both have seeds that you can easily digest without thinking much about it. Whenever possible, avoid those easy to overlook apple and cherry seeds.
It’s easy to love nutmeg. As a spice, it’s flavorful without being too overpowering, and it’s one of those spices that you can sprinkle on just about anything and have a much more pleasant day. A little bit of nutmeg in your coffee, and it’s time to appreciate the sunrise. Despite its seemingly benign composition, and mission to brighten our day, nutmeg is somewhat of a drug. In fact, it’s a hallucinogen. As little as 0.2 ounces can lead to convulsions, something that could very quickly ruin your day. Keep nutmeg consumption to just a dash here or there.
7. Honey (Raw)
There are few things in life that taste as sweet as honey. It’s one of those natural tastes, too, that few human beings can resist. Raw honey, though, presents a problem. It contains grayanotoxin, a chemical that causes nausea and vomiting. If a person consumed too much raw honey – something that’s very unlikely due to its heavy sweetness – it would theoretically be possible to die from it.
Tuna fish absorb one of mankind’s enemies: mercury. When they’re put in their respective tuna cans and shipped to be sold, the mercury is still in the fish. That means when you eat tuna, you run the risk of getting some of the mercury. It’s unlikely that just one large quantity of tuna would do any damage, but it’s very likely that if you consumed an unGodly amount of tuna over the course of a few years, effects from the mercury could eventually be fatal. The best advice is to never find out how much tuna it would take to kill you. Just keep your tuna consumption reasonable, and you should stay in good health.
9. Raw Cashews
This is our second potentially fatal nut on the list, and it’s one of the all-time most delicious: cashews. They’re also very aesthetically pleasing, so that’s a double disappointment here. The issue in cashews is with the presence of urushiol, a chemical you’ll also recognize as being in poison ivy. Anyone allergic to poison ivy who consumes a large amount of cashews can be affected by this. While it’s unlikely you could eat enough to die, it’s theoretically possible, and no one wants to be the first person to eat enough cashews to prove the theory.
The potatoes, part of the nightshade family, can be as ominous as their family’s name sounds. If the leaves and stems sprout too much, you could be getting the Glycoalkaloids found in those leaves and stems, a poisonous chemical. That’s one reason it’s very important to throw away potatoes that seem to have sprouted anything. Those leaves and stems can potentially harm you, and that’s not a pleasant thought.
Food is meant to be delicious, not deadly. Keep this short list handy in case you ever encounter any of these foods and think, “I read that might kill me somewhere on the Internet.” With a little moderation, and common sense, hopefully you will not meet your end at the hands of something as delicious, or potentially toxic, as raw honey or nutmeg.