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Monday, 11 November 2013

Caution!!! Avoid eating too much of acid foods

Food is good for your health but at times you might want to exercise caution because some fruit and vegetables have natural occurring toxins that, while safe to eat every so often can definitely kill depending on how, and how much of it you decide to eat.

Some quick math* has been done to figure out how much you can eat before things get lethal. Now go forth and satisfy your curiosity:

*Note: Please excuse any calculation errors!

                                            Cherries, Apricots, Plums, Peaches: Cyanide

Don't freak out if you accidentally swallow a cherry pit—they're rarely poisonous when eaten whole—but whatever you do, don't eat a broken pit. Because aside from tasting really bitter and generally being impossible to chew, the stones of certain stone fruits, like cherries, apricots, plums and peaches, contain cyanogenic compounds—science talk for "stuff that your body can turn into cyanide." So, how many cherry pits is a lethal amount of cherry pits?

After some quick Googling, hydrogen cyanide is lethal at about 1.52 milligrams per kilogram, meaning that it takes little more than 0.1 grams (a dime weighs about one gram) of the toxin to dispatch a 150-pound human.

                                                             Rice: Arsenic

 Rice (especially rice grown in Texas) contains arsenic, a toxin that can cause bad things like vomiting, abdominal pain, and vertigo when consumed in large quantities. The highest levels are found in brown rice. Low doses of arsenic over time can lead to heart disease and bladder cancer. According to the FDA, there is anywhere from 2.6 to 7.2 micrograms of inorganic (vs. organic, which is much easier for your body to metabolize) arsenic in one serving of rice. Given that it would take about 50 grams of arsenic to kill the average 150-pound adult, you'd have to eat nearly 7 million servings of rice—in one sitting—to achieve death by rice.
                                                     Rhubarb: Oxalic Acid

Rhubarb stalks are great in cocktails and for making tangy-sweet pie fillings, but the plant's leaves contain oxalic acid, a chemical that's also used in household bleach and anti-rust products (yikes!). Eating the leaves can cause burning sensations in the mouth and throat, nausea, vomiting, convulsions, and even death. Even cooking the leaves won't get rid of the acid. According to a study from the Hampshire College (.pdf), a 130-pound woman would have to eat around 10 pounds of rhubarb leaves to show symptoms of oxalic acid poisoning
                                                           Potatoes: Solanine

Depending on how they're planted, potatoes may produce solanine, a natural pesticide that's toxic to humans. The compound is particularly concentrated in potatoes that have started to turn green, and especially when they've begun to sprout. Potential symptoms of solanine poisoning include vomiting, diarrhea, and sometimes cardiac arrest. A study by the University of New Mexico shows that a 100-pound adult would have to eat a full pound of completely green potatoes before showing symptoms, which seems pretty difficult to do by accident? However be careful!


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