We all love to eat, but unfortunately some of the most delightful and delicious fruits and vegetables harbor toxic substances within certain parts of their structure which, when eaten, are dangerous. For some, they have even proved deadly. The toxins are there to protect the plant from predators like squirrels, rabbits, and yes…humans, and to ensure their survival.

As we age, we become more vulnerable to even small amounts of these toxic substances, so it’s good to know in which foods they exist and avoid the grave consequences of consuming them unawares.

Some of the below are more harmful to people with certain preexisting conditions and sensitivities, so, do a quick check of your refrigerator and pantry for the following items and remove them!

  • Raw Cashews – Who doesn’t love cashews? If you’ve been wondering why you’ve been eating cashews labeled “raw” and haven’t had any problems, it’s because they are not truly “raw” cashews. All the commercial cashews we see are cooked to remove the shell and are sold as “raw” because they have not endured any further processing, such as roasting. The initial cooking has removed a resin called urushiol, which is the same compound that causes poison ivy to make your skin itch, swell, and ooze.
  • Elderberry – The roots and some parts of the elderberry tree are highly poisonous and will cause severe gastrointestinal problems, although the berries are fine to eat as well as the flowers. But in eating the flowers, make sure no bark or other parts of the plant hitch a ride along with them.
  • Almonds – There are two kinds of almonds: sweet and bitter. The bitter almonds are the most flavorful, have the strongest scent, and are the most commercially available almonds. They also contain lots of cyanide. All almonds sold in the United States are heat-processed to remove the cyanide but occasionally a few will slip past inspectors.
  • Starfruit – If you have kidney problems, stay away from this star-shaped beauty. It contains a dangerous neurotoxin, caramboxin, that cannot be processed by anyone with kidney disease. The caramboxin will accumulate and can lead to vomiting, confusion, weakness, psychomotor agitation, epileptic seizures, coma, and eve death.
  • Potatoes – Check your potato bin. If your spuds are sprouting or have begun to have a greenish cast to them, throw them out. It’s indicating that the toxic alkaloid, solanine, is becoming heavily concentrated. It’s also in the leaves and stems of the potato, so be careful, especially when growing your own. It’s is reported that just 3 to 6 mg per kilogram of body weight could be fatal.
  • Raw honey – Raw honey contains grayanotoxin and must endure the pasteurization process to eliminate this toxin. If you’re buying honey and it says “raw” on the label, make sure it is also pasteurized.
  • Nutmeg – Nutmeg is a seed and not a nut as its name would suggest. It’s also a hallucinogenic. It’s reported that eating 0.2 oz. can lead to convulsions, and 0.3 oz. can lead to seizures. I don’t think we want to find out what eating 0.4 ozs, can lead to!

Unfortunately, there are more common toxic foods out there, so know your food and exercise some caution when you prepare your meals.

Here’s to safe eating in the New Year, so read on!


1. 25 Foods That Can Actually Kill You.

2. 1o Foods That Can Potentially If You’re Not Careful.

3. 10 Everyday Foods That Can Kill You.

4. 20 Foods You Didn’t Know Could Kill You.