Eating isn’t just about our physical needs, it’s also about communicating, relieving stress, and receiving pleasures. In some countries, there are food cults: Italians consider pasta a national heritage and French people are proud of their onion soup and fondue. Some products also have their own secrets! It turns out that boiled potatoes are really tricky to make and mushrooms are insects’ distant relatives.
Bright Side loves learning about new things and today we’ve collected the most amazing facts about foods that you probably eat every day. We bet you’ll change your attitude toward some of your favorite dishes after reading this article.
16. Apples are roses’ relatives.
It may sound unbelievable, but many fruits are the close relatives of roses: they belong to Rosaceae family. Apples, pears, plums, raspberries (and even almonds) are all related to roses.
15. There’s a drink that can replace meals.
The Soylent manufacturer wanted to create a drink that could replace meals. One bottle enriches your body with 20% of your needed protein, vitamins, and microelements. Soylent’s creators are sure that their product is the future of nutrition. Since the population is constantly growing and there are less and less products in the world, the drink may replace ordinary food. One bottle of Soylent costs $3.25.
14. Love for coffee may be inherited.
Harvard scientists have identified 6 types of genes that are responsible for caffeine absorption and found out why coffee has a different influence on certain people. It’s all about genetics. That’s why just a sip of coffee can boost one person’s energy while some people have to drink 2-3 cups of espresso to wake up.
13. Boiled potato is healthier when served cold.
The potato is considered to be a rather unhealthy food because of its high glycemic index (GI), the speed of carbohydrate absorption and the fact that it raises blood sugar levels. It turns out that it’s easy to reduce the influence of a potato’s glycemic index: you have to eat it cold. Starch will be absorbed slower and the potato’s GI will be lower than in hot mashed potatoes.
12. A cob of corn always has an even number of grains.
11. Mushrooms, as well as insects, have chitin.
All mushrooms contain a certain biopolymer, chitin. Yes, the same chitin that makes insects’ wings so rigid. That’s why it’s not recommended to boil them for too long: it doesn’t matter whether you boil them for 3 minutes or 3 hours — their shape and taste won’t change.
In Oregon, scientists have found the biggest mushroom in the world — the honey mushroom that covers an area as big as 1,665 football fields.
10. Pistachios can combust.
Pistachios can actually combust if transported in large batches. It happens because of the high level of fats and the lack of water in them. What’s more, is these nuts consume oxygen and produce carbon dioxide that also can lead to combustion. This is why pistachio nuts have to be shipped under very careful conditions.
9. Artificial vanilla and beavers
Yes, beavers smell like vanilla. Well, beavers’ gland secretions have a vanilla odor and are used in perfume manufacturing and as a food additive (in non-alcoholic drinks and desserts). With the help of this smell, animals mark their territory and people collect it on special farms.
8. Cotton candy was invented by a dentist.
William Morrison was a leader in political affairs, as well as an inventor, and a dentist. In 1897, he created a dessert, Fairy Floss, that we know today as cotton candy. Later, another dentist patented a cotton candy machine to produce the treat that we are used to eating.
7. Rhubarb leaves are to be eaten with caution.
Rhubarb is a really healthy vegetable. It contains carbs, vitamins (C, PP, and B), potassium, and magnesium. But people should consume the stalks as rhubarb’s leaves are enriched with oxalic acid. Acid consumption can cause stomach and kidney problems. At-risk are children and people who suffer from gastritis and kidney stone disease.
6. If you’re allergic to latex, you shouldn’t eat papayas.
5. Wasps reproduce inside figs.
Figs, which are inverted flowers, require a special pollination process, and fig wasps play an important role in it. Fig wasps can’t live without figs and figs can’t live without wasps. Tiny female insects get inside of the fruit, entrap their partner, and lay fertilized eggs into the flowers. Sadly, the male wasps die inside as they can’t get out. Then, all the baby wasps start to grow.
Fortunately, wasps are born only in male flowers that people don’t eat. But insects don’t know which flowers they should pollinate in, which is why almost every fig has dead wasps inside it. Good news: modern farmers usually grow self-pollinating types of figs and there’s just a small chance that you’ll eat a dead insect.
4. Manufacturers irradiate fruit and vegetables.
Food irradiation is the process of exposing food to ionizing radiation to kill pathogenic microorganisms and insect larvae. Gamma rays, x-rays, or electron beams are used for irradiation. Such processes are considered to be safe and are used in 41 countries to irradiate vegetables, meat, fish, wheat, and spices.
3. Salad dressings and sunscreens have something in common.
Titanium dioxide that is added to sunscreen, is also used in some food products. It performs the same function: it prevents the destructive effect of light and serves as a preservative.
2. Tequila can be used to make diamonds.
Yes, tiny diamonds that can be used for electronic purposes can be made from tequila. Tequila is made from agave, plants that are pollinated by bats as they flower at nighttime.
1. Canned tuna contains mercury.
Mercury in seafood is a result of air pollution by human beings. Scientists have noticed that canned tuna contains a high level of mercury. But you can replace tuna with a better alternative like canned salmon.
Bonus 1: Probably the best device for the tastiest grilled cheese ever…
Bonus 2: It’s unexplainable but the best french fries are always at the bottom of the bag.
Which food fact impressed you the most? Tell us in the comments!