Saturday, 29 November 2008

Grains, beans and potatoes

Fundamentally these are seeds. They will grow into a healthy plant if you let them. To protect the seed from the elements they have certain toxins in place. This is why they store so well. The enzyme blockers they contain put them into a state of deep freeze, effectively stopping them from sprouting till the conditions are just right. These toxins are natural pesticides and can attack bacteria, insects, worms and other pests (and of course humans too).

Let's take 2 examples:

The cashew nut, although a nut in the culinary sense is actually a seed in the botanical sense. The seed is surrounded by a double shell containing some serious poisons. This is why you will never find a cashew nut in its shell at the supermarket.

The castor bean is infamous for the extraction of Ricin from it. This is one of the most potent poisons known to man and 500 micrograms (the size of a grain of salt) will kill you. Enough said really.


Marie said...

Thats a shame, i love beans. Guess now i will stop eating them.

Dr. Art Ayers said...
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Dr. Art Ayers said...

I think that beans are great. And just because a few of them protect themselves, is no reason to write them off. If you like them, enjoy them. Cashews and casterbeans are little exotic and undomesticated, but they are not much worse than other typical plants that we eat with a little care. Whole wants to eat the alkaloids in green potatoes. We can't grow corn in the southern parts of the US, because of the growth of Aspergillus flavus that produces the toxin that has the record for toxicity. Besides, caster oil is quite safe and is very effective for aches and pains -- similar to capsaicin. So plants are not safe, but with care, we can enjoy them.
Cool that inflammation, Rosso!