Most of us have used food as something other than a meal—a spoonful of honey for a sore throat or a cup of ginger tea for an upset stomach are pretty common folk remedies.
But lots of foods have surprising side effects—and not all of them are quite as desirable. Read on to find out what strange things your favorite foods could be doing to you.
1. Margarine (and all trans fats) can make you want to fight.
It turns out that trans fats aren't just physically terrible for you—they can also make you irritable and aggressive.
Researchers from UC San Diego found that the more trans fats people ate, the more likely they became to exhibit "overt aggression." Margarine and shortenings tend to have high concentrations of trans fats.
2. Poppy seeds can make you test positive for drugs.
Eating too many poppy seed muffins before a drug test could cause a false positive for morphine or codeine.
Poppy seeds come from the opium poppy, a plant that also—you guessed it—produces opium. When producers harvest the poppy seeds from the plant, the seeds could come into contact with the opium pod.
Because morphine and codeine are opioid drugs, and have similar effects to opium, trace amounts of opium from poppy seeds can trigger a false positive.
3. Maple syrup can fight infections.
Move over, antibiotics: a recent study found that maple syrup can help fight off common bacteria that cause infections.
Researchers said the phenolic compounds in maple syrup had an antimicrobial effect on e. coli and other bacteria, and they were especially effective when combined with antibiotics. What particularly excited researchers is that the maple syrup also seemed to keep the bacteria from becoming drug-resistant—a growing global problem.
4. Asparagus can make your urine smell like sulphur.
No, you're not imagining it: Your pee really does smell funny after you eat asparagus.
In fact, scientists have even conducted a formal study on the "sulfurous odor." The jury is still out, though, on why some people don't smell anything different after eating asparagus—so far, researchers have chalked it up to individual biological differences.
5. Carrots can turn you orange (really).
If you ever watched The Magic School Bus, you might remember the episode where Arnold turns orange. As it turns out, this condition—hypercarotenemia—is real, and happens when you eat too many carrots.
Pumpkins and papaya can also turn your skin yellow. Each of these fruits and vegetables is heavy on vitamin A, and it's precursor, carotenoids—compound that researchers link to the yellowing of skin.
Luckily, this condition is harmless, and a few days on a carotenoid-free diet will get rid of the Oompa-Loompa hue.
Photo credit: Liz West via Flickr