People who are sensitive to latex can also have an allergic reaction to avocado.
Latex comes from the sap of the rubber tree, Hevea brasiliensis. A study of 137 patients with rubber latex allergy, published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, found that 21.1 percent were also allergic to particular foods, including banana (18.3 percent) and avocado (16.3 percent).
This is because some of the proteins in latex that cause allergic reactions are also present in these fruits.
The same cross-reactivity can happen with kiwi fruit, says Professor Jean Emberlin, scientific director of Allergy UK. ‘The proteins are very similar in both the latex and the fruit, so they can trigger similar reactions.’
Symptoms include tingling in the mouth, stuffy nose, itchy eyes, wheezing and, in rare cases, life-threatening anaphylaxis.
‘Cherry stones can be dangerous if chewed and then swallowed, as they contain a chemical compound based on the poison cyanide,’ says Dr Sanjay Prasad, a consultant cardiologist at the Royal Brompton Hospital in London.
If the stone is ground down, say by chewing, then the compound amygdalin, a form of cyanide, is released.
This can cause fever, headaches, falling blood pressure and, in extreme cases, can be fatal.
Research suggests the cyanide compound in cherries could be fatal in doses as small as 1.5 mg per kilogram of bodyweight, according to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).
A single cherry yields roughly 170 mg of cyanide per gram of seed — which means ingesting one or two freshly crushed stones could be dangerous. Apricot kernels also contain high levels of amygdalin — eating more than three small, raw apricot kernels, or less than half of one large kernel, can be a serious health risk, says the EFSA.
The chemical is also found in apple seeds — but you would have to eat two cups of ground seeds for it to be fatal.
If you’re taking statins, check with your doctor whether you can have grapefruit juice, says Dr Prasad. ‘Statins are broken down by an enzyme in the liver, CYP3A, which normally reduces the amount of drug that enters your bloodstream.’
But grapefruit contains compounds that affect the function of CYP3A and therefore increases the potency of the drug (because less is broken down).