Will Eating Apple Seeds Poison You?

Find out how apple seeds earned their deadly reputation.

Food
2 min
Ripley's Believe It or Not!
Ripley's Believe It or Not!

You may have taken some precautions while eating this crunchy snack as word on the street is that their tiny seeds can kill you!

Well, it turns out that’s not completely true. You’d have to try hard to feel any negative effects from swallowing apple seeds. Read on to learn why apple seeds are considered dangerous and why the fruit is generally safe to eat.

A Seed of Truth

Apple seeds contain amygdalin, which is a cyanogenic  glycoside  composed of  cyanide  and sugar. When amygdalin is broken down by the body, it turns into HCN, also called hydrogen cyanide (in fancy words). HCN is highly poisonous and can result in death within a few minutes — if enough is consumed.

Luckily for apple lovers, the amygdalin in apple seeds is only active if the seeds are crushed. The human body can tolerate a small amount of HCN. However, to cause harm, a large number of seeds (around 100 to 500) would be required.

apple seeds

Appley Ever After

To put it in perspective, one apple contains approximately 5 to 8 seeds, which is nowhere close to the hundreds that can cause illness or death. A few whole apple seeds that are swallowed on accident will simply pass through the digestive system without harm.

To err on the side of caution, we recommend avoiding apple seeds if possible. Make it a habit to incorporate an apple into your daily diet, as it provides a multitude of nutritional benefits in addition to its delightful taste, embodying the old saying, ‘An apple a day keeps the doctor away.’

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