Humans are one of the few creatures on this planet that have the ability to ignore our basic survival instincts. We jump out of perfectly good airplanes – which still sets off alarms among even the most experienced skydivers – and we push ourselves to the brink of death and come back with physical demands on our bodies that defy reason with activities such as ultra-marathons in the desert, life in microgravity and setting the world record for breath retention underwater.
Yet, as contradictory as it may seem, testing these limits is probably what makes us feel most human or most in tune with nature and our own potential – especially when it comes to rising above the heavens, jumping eight feet in the air… and eating the most bizarre, even dangerous dishes laid out in front of us on the dinner table.
What are the deadliest foods the world has ever seen? Are they poisonous or harmful on purpose, not by accident, and make us doubt our mental health when we choose to take a bite?
Here are these 7 foods that can put your life at risk
You’ll be surprised how often you eat N6 food.
glycoalkaloids, also present in nightshade, are found in the leaves, stems, and sprouts of potatoes. They can also accumulate in the potato if it is left too long, especially in the light. Consumption of glycoalkaloids leads to cramps, diarrhea, confused headaches, and even coma and death.
It is said that only 3 to 6 mg per kilogram of body weight could be fatal. Avoid potatoes with a greenish tinge.
2. Rhubarb leaves
You may have heard that rhubarb is toxic when raw, but these are actually the leaves you should avoid at all costs. The leaves contain incredibly high levels of a toxin called oxalic acid, which, when consumed, can cause severe kidney damage and even death.
Even a small amount can make you sick, and a few pounds is enough to kill you.
3. Casu Marzu (rotten cheese)
Casu marzu is technically banned in much of Italy, and many would consider it more like garbage than food. Nevertheless, its preparation is as meticulous as a good dessert: the sheep’s milk cheese is left outside to ferment and, in doing so, it is introduced into a certain species of fly, which is allowed to lay its eggs on the cheese. The eggs hatch and dinner begins… for maggots, that is – not for you; the best is yet to come.
Finally, maggots soften the cheese sufficiently to be eaten, but they must be eaten alive along with the cheese to avoid further toxicity. If you don’t want to eat live maggots, you can reduce their oxygen supply by placing the cheese in a sealed paper or plastic bag; the larvae will eventually jump out of the cheese looking for air and, if they don’t find any, they will die.
4. The Fugu (Pufferfish)
Fugu, also known as the pufferfish, is a fish whose liver and internal organs contain lethal amounts of tetrodotoxin, a poison for which there is no known antidote. However, it may surprise many to know that any fugu chef worth his weight in gold in Japan will try to leave just the right amount of poison so that a tingling sensation can pass through the tongue of the diner, leaving him satisfied with the taste and experience.
If you’re in the mood to “risk your life”, be sure to visit the western Japanese city of Shimonoseki, where no fugu-related deaths have ever been reported. In addition, you can choose from raw fugu sashimi, fried fugu (chicken-flavored), boiled fugu, fugu with miso and fugu sake.
5. The Sannakji
It doesn’t take much preparation to serve the sannakji (baby raw octopus) to cooking enthusiasts: the octopus is dismembered, seasoned with sesame oil and immediately presented on a plate. Thus, many tentacles are still moving (remember that each octopus’ “leg” has its own brain) and will not hesitate to use their suction cups on you if you try to swallow them. Take care to chew well before you risk leaving something alive and potentially dangerous in your throat.
Despite the “thrill,” many foreigners trying the dish have reported a relatively bland taste, more chewy than delicious.
6. The cashews
The raw cashews you can find in a supermarket are not really raw because they have been steamed to remove the urushiol, a chemical also found in poison ivy.
This chemical can have the same effect as poison ivy or poison sumac. High levels of urushiol can be deadly.
People allergic to poison ivy are likely to have a life-threatening allergic reaction if they eat real raw cashews.
7. Urechis Unicintus
The penis fish is actually a worm, and like other cock-shaped worms, it lives its life by digging in the underwater sand. It is a common food item in Asian supermarkets, and Jezebel has already written more than enough about fish and its flavor.
The danger in Urechis Unicintus is the mercury that the fish absorbs. Once in your body, the mercury will pass either through your kidneys or your brain and make you supposedly crazy. The FDA recommends that children and pregnant women should not consume Urechis Unicintus at all. Although it is unlikely that eating a massive amount of Urechis Unicintus at one time will kill you, it is a good idea to monitor your weekly intake.