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6 Toxins in Food That Should Concern You

Did You Know About The Toxins In These Foods?

As a parent, you probably have a laundry list of foods your child should never eat. But as a healthy adult, some foods can have toxins and may be fatal if swallowed. Many of them are things you probably wouldn’t eat anyway, like fruit pits.

But some will definitely surprise you…and even alarm you. Of course, if most of these foods are consumed in small amounts, they won’t cause you any harm.

However, it’s interesting to see what harmful effects you would experience and chalk up to a food allergy that could actually be something quite serious, at times even lethal.

The World Health Organization helped establish international standards and practices to limit exposure to natural toxins from certain foods.

Let’s see what they came up with. Here are 10 foods you should try to limit because of the toxins they contain.

Take a look and see how many of them you didn’t know about!

Photo by Beykov Maksim at Shutterstock

Cherry Pits

The small pits of this all-time favorite summer fruit are chock-full of prussic acid. But you might know it better as: Cyanide, a deadly poison! But don’t freak out if you swallow one by accident.

This toxin is only released if you decide to crunch or crush the pits. Though we don’t know how a person could without shattering their teeth in the process!

Apple Seeds

They might be what doctors recommend eating daily, but this fruit also has cyanide. Not that you’d just toss back a fistful of apple seeds just for the heck of it, but it’s good to know if you’re in the habit of eating your apples down to their core.

Of course, you’d obviously have to eat a large amount of apple seeds to feel the ill effects, but the cyanide can cause seizures, rapid breathing, and possibly death.

Raw Cashews

The ones you always buy in the grocery stores are fine. And they’re not really “raw” because they have been steamed to remove certain toxins called urushiol that can be found inside their shells.

This is the same toxin you find in poison ivy. Eating actual raw cashews can cause a similar allergic reaction, which can be life-threatening if you have severe allergies.


The actual mango fruit is okay to eat, but the bark, skin, and leaves also contain the same toxins, urushiol, found in those cashew shells. So you should never bite into a mango before you peel it!


The syrup from Elderberries is known as a natural booster for your immune system. They’re also great at fighting any constipation and cold issues.

But on the other hand, the unripe berries and the bark or leaves of this plant contain cyanide and lectin, which can both cause diarrhea and vomiting.


The spicy scent of nutmeg will undoubtedly remind you of autumn and baking pumpkin pie. But there’s a good reason that recipes tend to call for minimal amounts.

Even as little as two teaspoons of this yummy condiment can be toxic because of the myristicin, an oil that can cause hallucinations, confusion, drowsiness, dizziness, and seizures.

Photo by Dubrovskiy Vladimir at Shutterstock

Star Fruit

This exotic fruit should be avoided by people who suffer from kidney disease or even if their kidneys just don’t function perfectly. Only a person with strong kidneys will be able to filter out the neurotoxins in this fruit.

For those who can’t handle it, the toxin accumulates in your body and causes harmful neurological damage, including mental confusion, seizures, and even death.


There are so many wide varieties, and you probably know your porcini from portobello mushrooms. But do you have knowledge of what a death cap or destroying angel looks like? Those names alone should make anyone avoid picking any mushrooms in the wild.

Those two cause vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, dehydration, coma, intense thirst, liver failure, and death. Yet, don’t avoid mushrooms that are not poisonous and good to eat.

Most are packed with health-boosting nutrients and compounds that can protect your body and nothing else!

Raw Kidney Beans

It would be best if you were to always boil your kidney beans before consuming them. They have a very high concentration of lectins that can lead to vomiting, stomach aches, and diarrhea.

It would actually only take about four or five raw kidney beans to make you sick, so you should be careful about this one!

Rhubarb Leaves

Even though we all love a good rhubarb pie in the summertime, you should only use the stalk of this vegetable when you make it! The leaves have oxalic acid in them, which binds to calcium, so your body can’t absorb it the same.

And while this might not exactly sound like the biggest deal, it can put you at risk for blood clotting issues, kidney stones, vomiting, diarrhea, weak bones, and coma if you eat too much of it.

Photo by Trueffelpix at Shutterstock

What Else Should You Stay Away From?

We’ve covered some foods you should be aware of when it comes to the toxins you put in your body. But the story doesn’t end here. Here’s a list of specific compounds you should stay away from.

The next time you’re at the supermarket, check the label and see if your favorites contain any of these:

  • SPLENDA: Splenda is obviously another artificial sweetener that can cause toxic effects. It’s a combination of chlorine and natural sugar. Some studies suggest that this sweetener can cause lots of swelling and liver damage.
  • GENETIC MODIFICATION: Genetic modification involves altering the genes of foods to grow them faster and easier. Some researchers calculate that around 70 percent of a regular American grocery store’s food has genetically modified elements. The trouble with genetically-modified foods is that their long-term effects are simply not known, so we shouldn’t trust them.
  • HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP: This is another popular sweetener that’s used in all types of foods, including drinks and cereals. High fructose corn syrup has mercury, one of the worst toxins out there. And it’s been linked to obesity, tooth decay, and diabetes.
  • BHT: BHT is added to many of the processed foods we eat. There’s no single opinion on whether or not it’s harmful. Yet, the International Agency for Research on Cancer says that it may be a carcinogen, so avoiding BHT for safety isn’t exactly a bad idea.
  • FOOD ADDITIVES: Presently, there are about 2,800 substances and additives that food manufacturers use to make their foods look more pleasing and last longer. Many of these substances contain toxins and other dangerous elements that can harm your health.
  • PESTICIDES: Pesticides are chemicals that farmers tend to use in killing several living organisms, including insects and rodents. Using these chemicals on foods can result in large amounts of toxins in the foods you eat on a daily basis. They aim to kill some organisms while protecting others, but sadly, they often spread toxins to the microorganisms they’re supposed to be protecting.
  • SOIL: A lot of foods that we eat start in the ground. This includes fruits and vegetables. But many other foods, like meats, have a lot of contact with the environment. One of the issues with it is that it can be highly contaminated.

Please leave us a comment below and let us know what you think about all these toxins we regularly find in our foods.

And for another great read on nutrition, we also recommend checking out: 5 Signs Your Body Has Inflammation (And What You Should Eat to Help It)

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