Ever eaten so much food you thought you might die? If you're like most Americans, at some point today you'll experience the gut-busting pain of cramming way too much food down your gullet.
The good news is that too much turkey probably won't actually kill you. But if you were to gobble down one too many apricots
, cyanide-containing stones and all, there's a definite chance you could die, as fatalities in large apricot-growing areas such as Turkey have proven.
Investigating the darker side of our culinary world, Asylum intrepidly discovers the foodstuffs that could actually kill you.
Ah, cherries ... so sweet, so innocent, so delicious. Yet if the cherry seed is damaged
in any way, such as chewing, it releases prussic acid (hydrogen cyanide), which, as a cyanogenic, in large enough quantities will eventually give you a nasty case of death. The same applies for its family members, such as peaches and plums
You'd have to make an effort to eat too many -- though larger doses can lead to difficulty breathing and kidney failure, and known reactions include coma, convulsions and respiratory arrest.
Arguably the sneakiest fungus known to man, the infamous "Death Cap" mushroom looks a lot like the perfectly edible straw mushroom, but can leave unsuspecting toadstool chompers suffering from liver and kidney damage. Almost all known mushroom-related deaths can be put down to this cheeky fella, including such big mushroom-eating names as Roman Emperor Claudius and Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI.
Clever, wily and very lethal, this is a mushroom not to be messed with. A few antidotes are known, but otherwise look forward to a bit of intracranial hemorrhage, pancreatitis and heart attacks.
Rhubarb, the least famous pie-filler, and an often-overlooked vegetable, is never served with its impressively large leaves. The reason? Yep, poison. They contain kidney-killing oxalic acid, the stuff that makes kidney stones. And if you've met anyone who's had them, you'll know it's no laughing matter -- think of the most painful sensation you've ever had, add some more pain, and then much more pain, and you're not even close.
The leaves are incredibly bitter, which is normally a good indicator to stop eating them, but if someone did have a death wish, they'd have to consume 11 lbs. of the stuff.
As if its susceptibility to crop-destroying potato blight (responsible for great famines worldwide) weren't enough, potatoes can also kill you in other, more ingenious ways. Their poisonous stems and leaves aside, once the 'tater goes green, it's full of glycoalkaloid poison.
High heat normally gets rid of the bad stuff (i.e., boil 'em), but people unfortunate enough to drink potato-leaf tea may well slip into a coma and eventually die.
First things first: Nutmeg is a hallucinogenic drug. If you have enough, it's like taking amphetamines, but with the added bonus of nausea, fever and headaches. Eat 0.2 ounces and you'll start convulsing, 0.3 ounces and you'll hallucinate, and eating a whole one will leave you feeling "nutmeg psychosis" and a mind-blowing sense of impending doom.
Nutmeg death has happened twice in recorded history (in 1908 and 2001), but it is entirely possible, if amazingly trippy.
Some chefs add tomato stems and leaves to their dishes to improve the flavor, but if left in the mix, they can cause agitation and stomach pain. The same goes for the green, unripened ones. Again, tomato tea is also to be avoided.
Are you going to be hunting down tomato stems and leaves to munch on as you watch "Anchorman" for the 15th time? Our prediction: not so much.
Not technically a nut (much like how tomatoes are not technically a vegetable), bitter almonds require a good deal of preparation to remove the 4-9 mg of hydrogen cyanide contained in each one. Heat them to remove the bad stuff, and if you're desperate for a bitter almond fix, don't go to New Zealand, where they've officially banned them.
Tasty, flavorsome pseudo-nuts, bitter almonds are easily eatable, and choc-a-block full of cyanide. Their danger is great enough for the U.S. to restrict the sale of the raw variety to protect its citizens.
When you chomp an apple, you're actually filling up your body with yet another source of cyanide, released on digestion. So rare in adult humans as to not matter, there's still a small chance you might end up vomiting up what's meant to keep the doctor away.
You'll actually have to try hard on this one
. (Photo credit: Flickr: Helenjagcat
Though you've probably never seen their seeds, the castor plant is where castor oil comes from, which is a part of our everyday culinary lives. It crops up in food additives, flavoring and chocolate. The seeds themselves, however, are full of ricin -- a substance so lethal, half a grain of sand's worth will kill you. Ricin is removed before being made into the oil, so it's nothing to worry about ... unless you have four to eight castor seeds in your mouth, in which case, it's all over.
Sure, it's not going to pop up in your shopping bag, but just a couple of seeds and you're a goner. Interestingly, it takes four seeds to kill a rabbit, five a sheep, six a horse, seven a pig, 11 a dog, but 80 to kill a duck. Now you know. (Photo credit: Flickr: Shielnaik
Those in Hong Kong and Japan might call it a delicacy, but we'd just call it a death wish. The most poisonous thing you could ever order to your table, its liver, muscles, ovaries and skin is full of a poison called tetrodotoxin, 1,200 times more deadly than cyanide. Only careful preparation by a three-year-trained chef (see video
) can save you from potential paralysis and death in four to six hours.
Are you insane? This is the king of deadly foods, and definitely not one for dinner parties. Trust us, they don't end well. (Photo credit: Flickr: Petrjan
(All photos courtesy of Getty Images unless mentioned otherwise)