Normal foods containing abnormal poison

Following is a list of some foods, that we use at one time or other, on each day or quite often, and contains a specific amount of poison which may disturb our life:

Castor beans

1. Castor Beans:

We obtain castor oil from castor beans. They may also be found in processed candies and chocolate. They contain ricin. It is a highly toxic lectin (protein that binds to particular sugar) and hemagglutinin (a substance that causes clumping of red blood cells). It acts as a violent irritant and may prove fatal.

2. Green vegetables and fruits

Cabbage, kale, rapeseed, broccoli, brussels sprouts, spinach, peaches, strawberries, pears, cauliflower and bamboo shoots contain a substance namely goitrogen. Goitrogen is a substance that induces goiter i.e. enlargement of the thyroid gland appearing as a swelling of the front of the neck.

3. Mushrooms

Tumor growth is found more often in mice who are fed with mushrooms normal than often. Moreover, Shiite and white button mushrooms contains large amount of carcinogenic compounds when eaten in raw form.

4. Apples, almonds, plums, apricots, cherries, peaches and many other seeds

The seeds of all these when bruised produce Hydrogen Cyanide. Hydrogen Cyanide is also known as Prussic acid or hydrocyanic acid. It is a very toxic compound.

Kidney Beans

5. Kidney Beans

Phytohaemagglutinin is found in Kidney beans that can make cell membranes too permeable resulting in the movement of all kinds of undesireable elements into the cell making the body to lose control of bodily functions. First signs that may appear after such poisoning may include vomiting and/or diarrhea. Soaking the kidney beans for at least 5 hours before cooking and/or cooking at over 100 degrees destroys the toxin.

6. Whole wheat and rye bread

They contain phytic acid, which is due to its horrifying nature is referred to as “Anti-nutrient”. Phytic acid stops taking in of zinc, calcium, iron and magnesium

7. Egg whites and Lima beans

Cooked egg white is useful otherwise it contains trypsin inhibitors which stops the ability of protein digestion.

8. Cashews

Cashews contain urushiol, the same compound found in Poison Ivy. This may harm you only if you will eat a large amount of cashews.

Potatoes

9. Potatoes

Potatoes contain a small amount of compounds namely “Solanines” in their stems, leaves and eyes. These compounds are natural pesticides and fungicides working as a defense for potato. Every potato contains about 8-13 milligrams, and about 200 milligrams can make people sick. Eating a lot of old potatoes, or making potato leaf tea, can make people to hallucinate, turn hypothermic, feel nausea, and to develop neurological problems.

But don’t be afraid. Remember Excess of everything is bad.

References and Further reading:

http://listverse.com/2009/01/06/top-10-poisonous-foods-we-love-to-eat/ accessed June 12, 2011.

http://www.healthy-eating-politics.com/toxins-in-food.html accessed June 12, 2011.

http://articles.cnn.com/2003-01-07/world/terror.poison.bulgarian_1_poison-ricin-
assassination-bulgarian-dissident-georgi-markov?_s=PM:WORLD accessed June 12, 2011.