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16 Foods That Can Kill You

Some of the most ordinary foods you eat every day can kill you. Sure, eating too much sugar or fat isn’t good for you and can contribute to illnesses over a long period of time, but what about natural foods that are supposed to be healthy for us, like apples?

The foods on this list will give you more than just an upset stomach if you’re not careful about how you eat them. From processed and packaged foods to all natural and organic, this is a list of foods that could poison you. But don’t worry – we’ll also tell you how to avoid inadvertently making any of these foods your last meal.

  1. Cherries

    The cherry itself is safe and delicious, but don’t eat the pits. Cherry seeds are located inside the pit, and the seeds contain enough cyanide to kill a 150-pound person. (source)
  2. Potato

    Potatoes are generally safe, but make sure they haven’t started to turn green. Unlike with a traffic light, you should stop when you see green potatoes. In addition to being bitter, green potatoes produce the chemical solanine, which can cause vomiting and even cardiac arrest. (source)
  3. Apples

    Some like to eat whole apples, right down to the core. However, they should know that a single apple seed contains around 700 miligrams of cyanide. Thankfully, you’d have to eat about 200 seeds to kill yourself, and the average apple has less than 10. (source)
  4. Elderberry

    Elderberry jam is delicious, but you should never eat the berry raw. Elderberries containglycosides, which when metabolized, they turn into a form of cyanide. As with bitter almonds, cyanide in elderberries can be neutralized by cooking the berries. (source)
  5. Tomatoes

    Tomato leaves and stems have been known to contain the poison glycoalkaloid. Although glycoalkaloid isn’t likely to kill you, it has been known to cause severe stomach pain and cramps.(source)
  6. Castor Beans

    Thankfully, people don’t eat castor beans, but you’ve probably taken castor oil as a home remedy at some point in your life. Although the oil might taste like poison, it’s perfectly safe. However, raw castor beans can be used to make ricin, and a single bean has been known to kill an average-sized person. (source)
  7. Almonds

    Most commercially available almonds are the harmless, sweet almonds. But you should watch out for bitter almonds, which are more commonly found in the wild. Bitter almonds contain a substance that will break down into cyanide inside your body. Cooking bitter almonds should neutralize the toxin. (source)
  8. Mushroom

    Most mushrooms are okay, but watch out for fungi like the Fool’s Mushroom and the fittingly named Death Cap. In small doses, these mushrooms can cause a bdominal pain. In larger doses, they can cause serious liver, kidney, and cardiac damage. (source)
  9. Hot Dog

    Believe it or not, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, hot dogs are one of the most dangerous foods for a young child. Surprisingly, it has nothing to do with the contents of the dog, but the ’s round shape, perfect for blocking airways. So, always remember to dice up a small child’s hot dog. (source)
  10. Kidney beans

    Raw, red kidney beans contain a toxin called phytohaemagglutinin. This toxin won’t kill you, but it will cause serious vomiting and nausea. To kill the toxin, boil the beans for ten minutes. (source)

  11. Rhubarb

    Rhubarb makes for a tasty pie, but you should avoid the leaves. Rhubarb leaves contain the chemical oxalic acid, which is used to make many household cleaning products. It would take ten pounds of leaves to kill you, but even small amounts of rhubarb leaves can cause vomiting and nausea. (source)
  12. Rice

    Every serving of rice (about 1/4 cup) contains a few micrograms of arsenic. Honestly, death by rice is, at best, a theoretical concept, as it would take about 1,800 cups to kill you. You’d probably develop a stomach ache long before you’d get that far.  (source)
  13. Nutmeg

    Relax, grating a little nutmeg on your coffee or hot toddy is still perfectly fine. However, don’t go overboard on the spice, as a large serving will carry with it a large dose of the organic compound myristicin. In rare cases, myristicin poisoning has lead to death. In less extreme instances, the poison can cause hallucinations and nausea. (source)
  14. Fugu

    Fugu (puffer fish) is a delicacy of Japanese cuisine, but ordering fugu carries a great risk. The puffer fish’s organs and skin contain tetrodotoxin, a poison that can paralyze and asphyxiate humans. In order to keep people safe, fugu can only be prepared by licensed chefs who have received special training. (source)
  15. Lima Beans

    Lima beans contain cyanide as a natural defense. Thankfully, the U.S. restricts commercial lima bean growth to only those beans with low cyanide levels. Just to be safe, boil your lima beans for ten minutes. (source)
  16. Sannakji (Octopus)

    Sannakji is a live octopus dish popular in Korean cooking. Surprisingly, the danger doesn’t arise from eating a live octopus, but from the suction cups on the beast’s arms. If you don’t chew carefully, the suction cups could stick to your throat, making you suffocate.

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