What Is the Most Dangerous Vegetable?

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When one thinks about vegetables, one usually doesn’t think of the word dangerous. From a young age, we’re told that vegetables are good for us, that they make up the largest section of the fabled food pyramid, and that we need to eat them if we’re going to grow up big and strong. However, some people wonder what, if any, are the most dangerous vegetables

Off the bat, no vegetables are dangerous because of their nutritional content, but because of our own shortsighted farming processes. 

Why are these vegetables considered dangerous?

Green Matters recently interviewed EWG toxicologists Thomas Galligan and Alexis Temkin about the specific dangers posed by the Dirty Dozen. They explained that high pesticide exposure has been related to a wide range of harmful health effects, including cancer and hormone disruption. These pesticides could also potentially damage a child’s developing brain and nervous system. 

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These vegetables are also dangerous because of their sheer availability. Strawberries, tomatoes, spinach, and kale are abundant crops, and most people don’t even realize they may be contaminated with pesticides. According to Time, FDA pesticide residue testing revealed that more than 92 percent of conventionally-grown kale samples contained at least two different forms of pesticides.

That said, both Galligan and the EWG maintain that everyone should “eat lots and lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, regardless of whether they’re conventional or organic, because fruits and vegetables are a really critical part of a healthy diet, and eating fruits and vegetables outweighs the risks of consuming pesticides.”

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what most dangerous vegetable
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What vegetables should you never eat?

If you want to avoid too much pesticide exposure, you can shop for organic versions of the vegetables on the Dirty Dozen. You can also shop for versions grown locally, domestically, or organically in your own backyard. However, there are some vegetables out there that some experts recommend staying away from if possible, and those vegetables usually come from a can.

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According to Delish, many canned vegetables are high in salt, contain so-called “flavor enhancers” that are known to cause stomach pains or make digestion difficult, are full of additives and, in some cases, additional sugars. This is not always the case, but if you do shop for canned veggies, consider checking labels to find canned veggies that do not contain salt or any other additives, to keep things as healthy as possible.

what most dangerous vegetable
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What is the No. 1 toxic vegetable?

On their own, no vegetables are entirely toxic (unless you have an allergy, of course). However, there is one vegetable that can be partially poisonous to humans: rhubarb leaves.

Rhubarb leaves contain oxalic acid, a chemical that can cause death if a human consumes between 5.7 and 11.7 pounds of rhubarb leaves, depending on the specific leaves and the individual’s weight, according to Healthline. While rhubarb poisoning is rare (since most people wouldn’t eat that much at a time), it’s probably safest to stick to rhubarb stalks.

Despite the Dirty Dozen and Dr. Oz’s warnings about dangerous vegetables, the reality is that produce of any sort is a key part of a healthy, balanced diet. It’s also not always possible for everyone to avoid eating conventionally-grown produce. Not everyone has access to organic produce or a backyard garden where they can grow their own. In the end, experts agree it is better to eat fruits and vegetables whether or not they are organic, rather than avoid them entirely out of fear. 

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