Apples have been known for its salubrious nature since time immemorial. Actually, it is one of the oldest fruits known, and its benefits are myriad. Apples contain high amounts of vitamin C, antioxidants, flavonoids, and dietary fiber. All these substances help prevent cancer, Alzheimer, Parkinson, gallstones, hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease. It is also known to reduce cholesterol and beats diarrhea and constipation.
Apple seeds are poisonous
However, if you are thinking to eat the entire apple to get the best results possible, then you are wrong. As you reach the core, you end up with tiny black seeds. These tiny black seeds are cyanide powerhouses which contain poisonous amygdalin, a cyanogenic glycoside.
Of course, the tiny black seeds are not broken down by digestive juices. The shell is hard enough to prevent amygdalin interact with the digestive juices. Therefore, if you have ever accidentally gulped apple pits, it would not harm you. But when you chew the seeds, amygdalin comes in contact with the digestive juices and enzymes. Thus, it releases cyanide.
What is cyanide?
Cyanide is a chemical group consisting of one atom of carbon connected to one atom of nitrogen by three molecular bonds (C≡N). On the other hand, cyanides are compounds that contain a cyanide group.
Once in the stomach, cyanide can quickly enter the bloodstream. It harms by making the body unable to use indispensable oxygen. The body is resistant to small amounts of cyanides because they are detoxified by enzymes. Also, they leave the body within the first 24 hours after exposure.
According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, some of the cyanide is changed to thiocyanate. This is less harmful, and it leaves the body in the form of urine. A small amount of cyanide is converted in the body to carbon dioxide, which leaves the body when we breathe.
How Much of Cyanide Is Lethal?
About 1-2 mg/kg of body weight is a fatal dose, and if we consider 1 mg/kg then 70 mg could kill a 70-kg person. The symptoms of cyanide poisoning include shortness of breath and seizures, chest pain, a fast heartbeat, loss of consciousness, anxiety, and nausea.
How Much of Cyanide Does An Apple Seed Have?
Apple seeds contain about 700 mg of cyanide per kilogram. Therefore, about 100 grams of apple seeds would be enough to kill a 70-kg adult.
How Many Apples Does It Take to Kill You?
An apple seed weighs around 0.7 grams, so you would have to ingest on an average 143 seeds to get that amount of cyanide. An apple typically has about eight pits. Hence, you would have to eat all the seeds of 18 apples to get a fatal dose.
What Other Fruit Kernels Contain Amygdalin?
It is found in the pits of many fruits and raw nuts. Apricot, bitter almonds, greengage, cherries, oranges, papaya, nectarines, peach, and plum contain cyanide in their kernels. It is also found in other plants like lima beans, clover, sprouting seeds, etc.
[sources: healthline.com, livescience.com]