Natural Toxins


Foodborne illness can result from contamination by fecal bacteria or persistent organic pollutants, as well as the presence of natural toxins. As they decompose, seafood and meats can develop toxins that can sicken us before the spoilage is apparent. Other foods and supplements to be cautious about because of potential toxicity include betel nuts, star fruit, mangosteen juice, yerba mate (see here and here), iron pills, cod liver oil, noni juice, blue-green algae, and spirulina (see also here). Kimchee may also be a problem, though avocados (see also here) have been largely exonerated. We can reduce possible exposure to patulin, a fungus-produced mycotoxin that can affect apples, by cutting away brown parts in apples, and, if we’re going to drink any apple juice, choosing organic. And while sweet potatoes are a health-promoting superfood, white potatoes contain natural glycoalkaloid toxins, though peeling the skin removes about 75% of them. Raw mushrooms also contain natural toxins, but they are removed through cooking. Because of its coumarin content, which can be toxic to the liver, Chinese cinnamon, also known as cassia cinnamon, should be avoided. Ceylon cinnamon is considered safe for regular intake.

Topic summary contributed by Randy.