Dangerous food combinations

We are in the middle of autumn and it’s persimmon season! Well, at least in China, because I don’t remember ever having eaten persimmons in Spain when I was a child. At home my mum used to buy not-so-fancy fruits like apples, pears and oranges.

The other day C.’s mum gave me a bag with some persimmons. “Don’t eat them with milk or yogurt because you can die”. Sorry, what? “Yesterday on tv there were some news about two children who ate persimmon after eating a yogurt and they both died because those two foods together form a solid ball in your stomach and it kills you”.

Had you ever heard anything like that? I had not. But it turns out that Chinese people have a lot of restrictions regarding which foods cannot be consumed together. I’ll talk about that later. First I want to share the results of my Google search about persimmons and dairy. Searching for “persimmon” and “milk”, there are several results on the first page that talk about this supposed danger, but they are all English versions of Chinese websites. The sixth result is a recipe for persimmon milkshake from an American website. Uhm, could this be another one of those typical “foreigners are not affected by this, but Chinese people would die”? When I do the same search in Chinese (柿子 and 牛奶) there are hundreds of websites saying persimmons contain tannins which will harm you if they come into contact with milk. But wait a minute… coffee and tea also contain tannins, millions of people drink them with milk and no one died yet… no?

Is there any scientific base in all this? I would think it might be bad for you if you eat 5 kilos of persimmons and drink 7 liters of milk in one meal… but you would probably have a tummy ache too if you ate 5 kilos of apples in one go.

As I mentioned a couple of paragraphs above, Chinese people have a lot of restrictions about foods that cannot be eaten together. Let’s see some examples that I found online:

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Tomato and shrimp: shrimp contain something that when mixed with tomato becomes poisonous. This sounds a bit suspicious as shrimps with tomato sauce, or pasta with shrimps and tomato sounds like something pretty common to eat.

Honey and scallion: also poisonous and will affect your eyes. Doesn’t seem a very appetizing combination so I think we are safe.

Chicken and celery: affects the immune system. This sounds serious.

Mushrooms and donkey meat: causes illness in the arteries. Luckily we don’t eat donkey too often in this family.

Carrot and white radish: if you eat them together very often they can affect the immune system and cause a blood infection.

Potato and persimmon: if you eat them together very often they can form kidney stones.

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Carrot and baijiu (rice wine): can poison your liver. Well… I think baijiu does this on its own too…

Pumpkin and lamb: causes inflammation of the pleura.

White radish and loofah: I’m a bit confused about this one as I thought loofah was not eaten. Isn’t it the thing to exfoliate your skin? Anyway, this combination causes premature ejaculation and diabetes.

Pear and goose: bad for your spleen.

Spinach and tofu: will prevent calcium from being absorbed and spoil the calcium already in your body. I am 100% sure I’ve had spinach and tofu in the same meal when having hot pot. Will I suffer from osteoporosis when I’m old?

Tangerine and lemon: if you eat them together very often you will get stomach ulcers.

Dog meat and garlic: harms the stomach walls and poisons you. Damn! I love dog meat with garlic!

Banana and watermelon, cantaloupe or related melons: raises your blood sugar. But well… I guess less than drinking a bottle of Coca Cola!

There’s more in this website but they don’t have a nice table with pictures. Eggs and saccharin, you die. Tofu and honey, you will become deaf. Kelp and pig blood, constipation. Potato and banana, you will get freckles (gasp!!). Beef and brown sugar, the mixture expands inside you and you die. Pork and swamp eel, you die. Lamb and river snails, you will fart a lot (this sounds deadly too!). Celery and rabbit, your hair will fall. Tomato and mung beans, it will affect your qi. Crab and persimmon, diarrhoea.

Well, I think you get an idea. Now I’m wondering how Chinese people even dare to eat anything without checking first if the combination is dangerous or not! I had never heard anything similar to these risky mixtures in Spain, but a commenter on my Spanish blog told me that we have a proverb that says you cannot eat or drink anything after drinking milk or you will get diarrhoea. It seems my family was not well informed, as I don’t remember even my grandma saying this!

Do you have similar sayings in your country? What foods cannot be eaten together?

Should I sacrifice my body to science and try myself what happens when eating persimmon and yogurt together?

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