1. Health & Lifestyle

Beware! Read This Before You Eat An Apple

Shipra Singh
Shipra Singh
Apple pieces

“An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” This adage is famous. Apples are healthy. They are delicious too. But, it may have happened to you that you took a deep bite into a crunchy apple and found something bitter in your mouth. These are apple seeds. You accidentally bit into an apple seed in the core.  

Do you know apple seeds are poisonous? They contain a substance that releases cyanide!  

But, you once bit into an apple seed and you are still alive and reading this!  

Well, it’s true that apple seeds can kill you, but not a single seed; not even two or three. Read on to find out the truth about apple seeds and how many seeds can cause toxicity.  

First, let’s know about amygdalin and cyanide 

Cyanide is one of the deadliest poisons known on Earth. It can kill you within seconds. This is a common substance used in mass suicide and chemical warfare.  

Nature has many compounds that contain cynaoglycosides (containing cyanide) or release cyanide. Often, such compounds are found in seeds of fruits. One such compound is amygdalin.  

Fruit seeds that contain amygdalin are: 

  • Apples

  • Apricots

  • Peaches

  • Cherries

  • Almonds

  • Lemon

  • Plums

Now, for those of you thinking about watermelon seeds and other seeds, please do not worry. As per research, watermelon seeds are safe to eat. However, wisdom says that you should eat them only in small amounts. Why take the risk, eh? 

Want to try something different? How about apple tea  

Apples whole and cut

How cyanide is released from apple seeds? 

Apple seeds feature a robust outer layer, which is resistant to digestive juices. In other words, the seeds won’t be digested, if you chew them accidentally. But this could have been a harmless thing, if chewing seeds did not release amygdalin. And this compound produces cyanide.  

Thankfully, our body has enzymes that can detoxify very small amounts of cyanide. That’s the reason you are still alive and nothing happened to you when you accidentally chewed into an apple seed!  

However, large amount can be fatal.  

The thing with amygdalin is that it stays harmless as long as the seed is intact. Actually, it is a part of the seeds’ chemical defense mechanism. However, amygdalin releases hydrogen cyanide when the seed is cracked or chewed. This is a deadly poison that can create horrible medical complications in the body and, in large doses, can lead to death.  

From now on, spit out apple seeds, never chew them! 

Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry (ATSDR) warns that small amount of cyanide could also be dangerous. Cyanide can damage brain and heart; can lead to coma and death.  

So, if you are fond of eating apples, why take the risk? Simply spit any seed that comes into your mouth. If you accidentally chew a seed, spit it and gargle with water.  

Apples in abundance

Fatal dose 

As per Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1-2 mg/kg of cyanide is the fatal oral dose for a person weighing 70 kg (154lb).  

Apples usually contain about 5 seeds. You need to eat around 200 seeds or maybe 40 apple cores to get a fatal dose.  

However, the amount of fatal dose varies with a person’s weight. So, it’s always good to be on the safer side.  

An apple a day keeps the doctor away, but if you ingest many apple seeds, you may have to call a doctor right away!  

Do you know there’s something called ice apple 

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