6. Peanut butter can be turned into diamonds.
Peanut butter is much more than just a favorite sandwich ingredient. Scientists have even been able to turn it into diamonds! Back in 2014, when working at the Bayerisches Geoinstitut, German scientist Dan Frost led a series of experiments to try and mimic Earth’s lower mantle. Despite making significant strides in space exploration, we are yet to know what lies underneath our feet.
According to basic geology, the Earth’s interior has many layers. On top there is the crust, below that is the upper mantle, under that, comes the lower mantle, and then comes the core in the middle. However, we are yet to learn about the specifics of the exact composition. What we do know is that the lower mantle is over 1,800 miles under the crust, the temperature soars up to 4,000 °F, and the pressure is 1.3 million times our atmosphere.
When simulating these conditions in his lab, Dan Frost came across some innovative methods of manufacturing diamonds. These shiny gems are nothing but carbon atoms that turned into crystal. Frost hypothesized that rocks drained CO2 from the oceans, and when these rocks would reach the mantle, high pressure would expel the carbon dioxide from the rocks. Then the iron present in the mantle would strip the rock of its oxygen, leaving only the carbon. In the end, high pressure and heat will turn the carbon into diamonds.
Since all food items and living things have carbon in them, Frost was able to follow the same formula to create diamonds out of peanut butter! However, the transformation takes a long time, and it is also a messy process. (1, 2)
7. Cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and kohlrabi are different varieties of a single plant.
Over the last few years, kale has risen in popularity in some circles. Kale chips and smoothies are already doing the rounds, and soon enough, kale salads may become a common item at restaurants. Cabbage, on the other hand, has fallen quite significantly on the popularity scale since the 1920s. Back then, average Americans would consume about 22 pounds of cabbage every year. Now, the amount has dropped down to only eight pounds.
When you think about their appearance and flavor profile, kale and cabbage seem like two very different vegetables. Surprisingly, kale, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and kohlrabi come from the same species of plant known as Brassica oleracea. Are you wondering how that is possible? Let’s discuss.
Approximately 2,500 years ago, Brassica oleracea was merely a wild plant that was native to the coastal areas of France, Britain, and some Mediterranean countries. The wild variety still exists, and we know it as wild mustard. In ancient Rome and Greece, growing plants in gardens became commonplace. To get the maximum yield, people started planting seeds of leafy plants.
Generations of this artificial selection led to the production of leafy wild mustards that look a lot like today’s collard greens and kale. Around the 1600s, farmers began working with another variant of the plant that later produced cabbages through the same process of artificial selection.
Various parts and types of the plant was used for producing different vegetables. For examples, the small heads became Brussels sprouts, enlarged stems became kohlrabi, the enlarged flowering structure became broccoli and cauliflower. This type of artificial selection and breeding is still done today. The Chinese broccoli, for example, is a hybrid between kai-lan and broccoli. (1, 2)
8. Plums, apples, and pears belong to the rose family.
If you comb through various scientific literature where plants are listed, you will see that roses, plums, apples, and pears do come from the same family called Rosaceae. Belonging in the order called Rosales, this family of medium-sized plants has over 90 genera and 2,500 species. Though native to the north temperate zone, these plants grow in a wide range of habitats.
The Rosaceae family mostly consists of shrubs, woody plants, and small or mid-sized trees. Many of these also have prickles, spines or thorns to keep the herbivores at bay. Most of the species found in this family of plants small leafy structures and alternative leaves. Known as stipules, this feature is usually seen at the bottom of the leaf stalks.
Scientists look at the flowering structure of plants before deciding their family. If you compare the rose with an apple flower, you will see that both of them have the same structure — groups of stamens at the center, five slightly overlapping petals, and five outer petals. Many other plants such as peaches, cherries, raspberries, blackberries and more share the same flowering structure, and thus they belong to the same family. (1, 2)
9. Shredded cheese is mixed with sawdust, scientifically known as “cellulose,” to prevent it from caking.
Have you ever wondered why shredded cheese does not clump together in the bag? That is because most manufacturers use a magic ingredient that comes from sawdust! Of course, you won’t find actual wood shavings mixed in the cheese. It is cellulose that is widely used by popular shredded cheese brands. Cellulose is the insoluble substance that creates cell walls in plants. Naturally, it is widely found in wood. Now, if you read the label of shredded cheese, you will find that cellulose is an active ingredient in most of them.
Before you panic at the thought of having eaten sawdust, you should know that cellulose is actually FDA approved. It is mostly fiber that does not get absorbed when passing through the gastrointestinal tract. However, it is indeed true that cellulose is obtained from wood. So, why does the Food and Drug Administration allow brands to add wood shavings in cheese? That is because it is an organic matter that poses no real harm to the body. Moreover, it keeps your cheese fresh and non-sticky.
Though most brands add cellulose to their shredded cheese, not all do. If you wish to eat cheese that does not have sawdust or cellulose in them, you should read the ingredient label carefully before buying. Better yet, buy a block of cheese and shred it on your own to avoid getting any additives. (1, 2)
10. Fried eggs are the perfect remedy for a hangover.
We can all agree that hangovers are the worst! You do not have to drink a ton to feel lousy the morning after. If you have a low alcohol tolerance, you may get a nasty hangover just for having a few beers. Regardless of the cause of the hangover, we have all wished for a miracle cure at some point or another. What you may not have known is that eggs are the best remedy for a hangover.
When alcohol is metabolized, it produces a toxin called “acetaldehyde” which is the main cause of the hangover. Experts have found that some amino acids are great at fighting this toxin. The amino acid known as “cysteine” is largely found in eggs. That is why eating eggs the morning after a night of partying not only provides you with energy, but it also cures your hangover. You can get the necessary dosage of cysteine by having two large eggs for your breakfast. (1, 2)