Cyanide is another of the thousands of natural phytochemicals found in nature and make up 99.9% of the “pesticides” that we eat in our food every day. Plants make these natural pesticides to protect themselves from predators. Our bodies have evolved with their own natural defenses against a tremendous variety of chemicals.
“Among the twenty-four leading food plants in the world, sixteen are cyanogenic,” explained professors C. Leigh Broadhurst, Ph.D., and James A. Duke, Ph.D., in Herb Companion. To enjoy some plants with especially high natural levels of cyanide, prehistoric man also learned to “process” the foods by grinding, rinsing and cooking to make them safer, and sweeter. “Cyanogenic glycosides have a chemical structure that contains one carbon with a cyanide group linked to a sugar (‘glyco’ means sugar),” they said. During digestion, the cyanide group is released and forms hydrocyanic acid which is toxic, but like everything “the dose makes the poison.”
PS Organic veggies contain more cyanide (and other poisons) when artificial pesticides are not present to help the plants fight off insects.