Most food products that come with nutrition fact labeling are those that are usually processed.
Although it’s probably safe to assume that all organic food is good for you, or doesn’t pose any major negative effects when consumed, some people who are curious enough will end up searching for a food item’s information on the internet.
The internet will probably give you what you wanted, but you’ll still end up with more information than necessary. Still, whether you’re a casual eater or a picky eater, you should know what you’re consuming, especially if they pose dangerous health risks when consumed in large amounts.
Here are six common toxins found in everyday foods
This toxin is caused by fungal growth more commonly found in agricultural products such as corn and peanuts. Consequentially, peanut butter also is found to contain an alarming amount of this toxin, even with freshly ground peanut butter.
Consuming large amounts of this toxin is known to cause liver disease and even cancer.
Cyanide is a deadly poison that can be found in various forms and in very different types of products. In food, cyanide is notoriously known to be found in apple seeds, almonds, and cherry pits. Although the amount of cyanide found in one serving of these food items isn’t really notable, experts still suggest that people take out the seeds/pits of the food that they eat just to stay on the safe side.
Consuming large amounts of this toxin is deadly, as it can cause low blood pressure, convulsions, and respiratory failure.
Lectins are proteins that are found in all plants. If consumed in appropriate amounts, this protein is able to provide health benefits, such as improved immunity, and cell growth. Healthy foods that contain the highest amounts of lectins are red kidney beans, soybeans, potatoes, and wheat.
Lectins are the most potent in their raw state, and they are water-soluble, so cooking your food properly essentially removes this toxin. As the food products that have the highes amount of lectins are beans, it’s typical that they need to be soaked or boiled when cooking, but experts say that it is essential to use high heat to ensure that all lectins are removed.
Humans are incapable of digesting this toxin. Consuming a large amount can result in severe and/or painful reactions, may damage the gut wall, and may cause digestion problems and vomiting.
Mercury is a toxic metal, and consumption may lead to mercury poisoning. Foods that have high amounts of mercury are saltwater seafood and some freshwater fish as well. Tuna and mackerel are known to contain the highest levels of mercury in saltwater fish.
Mercury brings about neurological effects and may cause anxiety, memory problems, tremors, and numbness of the hands, feet, or mouth. In more extreme cases, mercury poisoning may cause permanent brain and kidney damage.
Myristicin can be found in herbs and spices like parsley, carrot, and black pepper, nutmeg being the most associated with this toxin. In addition to making our food tastier, consuming these herbs in large amounts can apparently get you high because of the myristicin found in them.
There has been one report that documented a student who had complaints of heart palpitations, nausea, dry mouth, restlessness, and the feeling of being in a trance-like state when she consumed a milkshake that contained almost 50g of nutmeg just around 30 minutes before her symptoms began. According to her, she felt “like Jack in the box wanting to get out” and she purposely drank the nutmeg milkshake in hopes of getting high but reported that she didn’t have any hallucinations.
Other than the above mentioned symptoms, myristicin poisoning may result in organ failure, and an overdose can cause death when used with other drugs.
Urushiol is an allergen present in poison ivy, and it can also be found in mango tree leaves, barks, and the fruit’s skin as well. Cashews and pistachios also contain this toxin in their shells. According to allrecipes, cashews are never sold with their shells, and both nuts are typically roasted or steamed before being packed to remove this poisonous chemical.
Although eating the three items above doesn’t affect most people, just like when you touch poison ivy or oak, getting in contact with urushiol may result in rashes in varying degrees. If you have severe reactions to touching poison ivy, assume the intensity of consuming food that contains urushiol would be the same. High doses of this toxin may result in extreme rashes and anaphylaxis.