25 Foods That Can Actually Kill You

Posted by , Updated on April 22, 2024

Do you think you eat healthy? Or do you at least try to avoid things that are bad for you? Well, you might be surprised at what foods can kill you! Of course, these foods are most likely perfectly fine if they are eaten normally. It’s just when you start eating the stems and seeds that things can get dangerous. These are 25 Foods That Can Actually Kill You.



Castor Oil

Castor oilSource: huffingtonpost.com, businessinsider.com

Castor oil comes from the castor bean plant, which also happens to contain the poison ricin. While castor oil is known for it’s benefits as a laxative and for skin and hair care, it’s important to use with caution. The main danger is in the beans. It only takes about 8 beans to kill an adult. Luckily, there are many safety guidelines in place for the production of castor beans.



OctopusSource: bbc

Not just any octopus…live octopus! It’s true; in some parts of the world, people eat octopus alive. Leaving all else aside, this practice can be quite dangerous as the suckers can get stuck in your throat and cause asphyxiation.



PlumsSource: livestrong.com

Although the fruit is perfectly fine to eat, the pit contains cyanogenic compounds which the body can use to create cyanide. Of course, not many people eat plum pits, so it shouldn’t be much of an issue.


Unpasteurized Honey

HoneySource: huffingtonpost.com - http://www.huffingtonpost.com/the-daily-meal/21-deadly-dishes_b_811345.html

Okay, so the honey you eat in the store is fine…because it has been pasteurized. Unpasteurized honey however may contain grayanotoxin, which can lead to side effects such as dizziness, weakness and vomiting. In infants, this can be deadly!


Cassava Root

Cassava rootSource: bbc

This popular South American and African vegetable is also known as tapioca or yuca. In its raw form, it contains linamarin which can be poisonous when digested. Of course, drying, baking, and soaking the root renders the linamarin harmless, but if the process isn’t carried out correctly, the cassava root can be dangerous.



PeanutsSource: webmd.com

One of the most common allergies, peanuts can cause anaphylaxis. Typical symptoms are constriction of the airway and trouble breathing. Left untreated, this can be fatal.



CherriesSource: time.com

Their seeds actually contain a poison – hydrogen cyanide.



FuguSource: washingtonpost.com

Commonly known as pufferfish, these creatures are considered a delicacy in some parts of the world. The chefs need to be very careful during preparation though. The pufferfish just so happens to be one of the most poisonous animals in the world.



RhubarbSource: nhs.uk

Although rhubarb is great for making tasty desserts, its leaves can cause respiratory problems and even death.



ElderberrySource: livestrong.com

Often used in sodas and medicines, eating elderberry leaves can mess you up if you’re not careful. Like too many cherry seeds, they can cause a build up of cyanide.



ApricotsSource: huffingtonpost.com

While the fruit itself is fine, its pit contains poison that can be harmful if ingested. Luckily, the pits are too big for most people to eat them.



TomatoesSource: livestrong.com

Say what!? It’s true, the stems and leaves contain glycoalkaloid, a poison that can cause some serious problems if your body is vulnerable. So don’t eat the leaves!


Bitter almonds

Bitter almondsSource: nhs.uk

First of all, they’re not nuts…they’re seeds. Second of all, in spite of being packed with healthy nutrients, they also contain cyanide in their raw form. (We’re talking about bitter almonds here. Sweet almonds don’t contain cyanide). This is why bitter almonds need to be treated prior to consumption. 5-10 raw bitter almonds would kill an adult.

Note: Only sweet almonds are sold in the United States.



ShellfishSource: webmd.com

If you are allergic to shellfish, be wary of seafood. It may seem common sense, but some people can have a severe allergic reaction that leads to fatal outcomes.


Raw meat

Raw meatSource: huffingtonpost.com

Salmonella is no joke. If you have a weak immune system, it can even kill you. Make sure to cook your meat!


Hot dogs

Hot dogsSource: time.com

Okay, while hot dogs aren’t known for their health benefits, they won’t kill you based on their ingredients. The problem? They are one of the leading causes of choking among young children.



PotatoesSource: livestrong.com

In spite of having poisonous stems and leaves, potato poisoning is rare. The majority of potato consumption deaths are the result of eating green potatoes or drinking potato leaf tea.


Apple Seeds

Apple seedsSource: huffingtonpost.com

While apples are very healthy, their seeds contain amygdalin, a cyanide and sugar compound that degrades into hydrogen cyanide when metabolized. Of course, the body can handle the small amounts of cyanide in these seeds with no issue. Theoretically, however, ingesting a large amount of apple seeds could cause issues.

Note: you would also have to crack every single seed open because the hard coating is too strong to be destroyed by your digestive system.



AckeeSource: time.com

It is critical that this pear shaped fruit ripen fully because if you eat it too soon, its toxins could potentially kill you.

Note: it is illegal to sell this fruit raw in the United States. Canned versions, however, can be bought.



MushroomsSource: telegraph.co.uk

While some mushrooms make perfect toppings, others will kill you instantly. So that mushroom you see growing in the wild? Maybe don’t eat it unless you have someone with you that knows what they’re doing.



CinnamonSource: theatlantic.com

While the cinnamon challenge was meant to be in good fun, there is a reason that the American Association of Poison Control Centers issued a warning concerning the practice. If it gets in your lungs, cinnamon can cause some serious problems…even death.



NutmegSource: livestrong.com

Each year there are a few cases of myristicin poisoning due to excessive nutmeg consumption. What is myristicin poisoning, you ask? Think vomiting, hallucinations, collapse, anxiety, and irrational behavior to name a few symptoms. It’s 0kay to enjoy the spice in moderation, but just don’t chug it or anything.



PeachesSource: nytimes.com

Similar to apricots, peaches have poisonous pits. Of course, the pits tend to be too large to be edible…fortunately.


Uncooked Eggs

Uncooked EggsSource: nhs.uk

Raw meat isn’t the only way you can contract salmonella. Uncooked eggs are just as dangerous.


Lima Beans

Lima beansSource: huffingtonpost.com

Similar to cassava root, lima beans contain the toxin linamarin. Uncooked, these beans can be hazardous. To be safe, cook them thoroughly and drain the water!

All photos public domain via pixabay except for #18Brocken InagloryPuffer Fish DSC01257CC BY-SA 3.0