Sometimes the food you eat is trying to kill you. Not in the traditional sense, with saturated fat, refined sugars and cholesterol. There are a few foods out there that can literally end your life if improperly prepared, or at the very least make you terribly sick. While you probably won’t encounter most of the items on this list during the normal course of your life, a few of them are surprisingly common.
The old saying “you are what you eat” takes on new meaning when what you “eat” doesn’t really care who you are, and could potentially harm you. You should always take care when planning your diet for the day, especially if you’re not sure what you’re getting into. Here are a few dangerous foods you might want to avoid.
Giant Bull Frogs
If you ever make it to Namibia, the African country where Angelina Jolie had her first natural born child, be careful when indulging in one of the nation’s culinary specialties, the giant bull frogs. The danger comes when the frog selected for supper happens to be a tad too young. These “premature” bullfrogs, ones that have not bred yet, carry a poison that can cause temporary kidney failure. That’s a high price to pay for a simple meal. Chances are you won’t “croak” after eating a premature bullfrog (provided you seek medial attention), but you’ll probably be sick for a fair amount of time.
Fugu Puffer Fish
Fugu, or blowfish, is an expensive delicacy found in Japan. When the fish, and the dish, is properly prepared, there isn’t any problem with eating this strange creature. But when the fish is improperly prepared, you’ll probably die. The risk comes from the fact that Fugu contains a tetrodoxin that will cause your muscles to freeze up, and keep you from breathing. The poison is released when the fish is cut the wrong way. Unfortunately, there is no antidote. Fugu has been a last meal for quite a few people, even though that wasn’t their initial intention.
Sannakji Choking Octopi
In Korea, rather than you choking on your food, your food might actually choke you. A Sannakji can be a great treat for those who love seafood. You can pick them up in local markets in Korea, but you have to be extremely careful — these octopi are served while the animal is still moving. They have been known to attach their tentacles and suction cups around the necks of diners and choke them to death. Sometimes food gets its revenge.
Cassava root is used to make tapioca, and it’s also a vital part in the diets of millions of people worldwide. If the cassava is improperly prepared, it can produce cyanide. Eating this root is one way to get a healthy dose of carbohydrates, but you have to make sure it’s always properly cultivated and cooked, otherwise you might get some unwanted poison as well.
If you’ve ever seen the film ‘Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom,’ you might remember the disgusting scene where Indy dines on chilled monkey brains. There are places, mostly in Asia, where, if you’re so inclined, you can chow down on primate brains. The danger comes from an illness called Variant creutzfeldt-Jakob disease which can lurk inside a monkey’s skull. This disease, which is similar to Mad Cow disease, will turn your own brain to goo, and cause death. Best avoid those monkey brains the next time someone passes them around the table.