There’s no denying in it that a plant-based diet supports a healthy lifestyle, but not all of them stay true to serving their purpose!
Researchers have found that not all plants are good especially for those who are undernourished or depend on a single plant diet. They also cautioned that growing interest in wild edibles raises the risk for people in wealthy countries, too, especially as some plants may become more toxic with changing climate.
“The bottom line is that plants and fungi were not put here for our benefit – they need to defend themselves,” said Peter Spencer, professor of neurology in the OHSU School of Medicine and an affiliated faculty member of the Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences at OHSU.
The findings published in the journal Environmental Neurology highlighted plants with neurotoxic potential in undernourished people around the world. In it, the researchers catalogued a quartet of plants that sicken or kill undernourished people around the globe.
“The adverse neurological effects of food dependency on plant components with toxic potential constitute a significant global health issue,” explained researchers. Those in the list of the researchers include the potential neurotoxic effects of fruit of the ackee tree, an evergreen native to West Africa and favourite of Jamaica; lychee fruit, a delicious tropical fruit from southern Asia now eaten worldwide; grasspea, a protein-rich legume eaten on the Indian continent and the Horn of Africa; and cassava, a plant whose roots and leaves are consumed in across sub-Sahara.
Researchers elucidate ways in which they can rapidly and fatally affect brain function or, in the case of cassava and grasspea, gradually induce crippling disease.
This depends on the amount of plant product consumed along with the poor health of the people eating it; and the relative availability of each of these plants due to poverty, hunger and, increasingly, climate change.