Some stone fruits like apples, plums, and peaches contain about 1-4 mg of amygdalin per gram of fruit. It’s a substance that breaks down into a toxin called hydrogen cyanide when it enters our body. Orange seeds have smaller amounts of amygdalin, and not all turn into toxins when chewed and ingested. So occasionally swallowing one won’t cause any harm as it takes about 1.5 mg of such substances per kilogram of our body weight to be fatal.
Oranges are a common type of fruit typically eaten by many people in the world. We often see them in almost every household fruit tray with apples, bananas, strawberries, and grapes. It’s also known for its flavorful sweetness and citrusy taste and its many uses in cooking and medicinal purposes.
The fruit contains a maximum amount of 10 seeds. So there’s no surprise that when you consume an orange, you accidentally swallow one or two of its pip. Many people panic because of this, but do you really have to?
One summer, I accidentally swallowed a santol seed that was about 2 cm long. I freaked out but I knew I had to flush it out of my body. So, I chugged about 3/4 liters of water and ate a banana. A few hours later, I felt the seed knocking on my gut. I swear I had to summon all the forces of the universe to get the little troublemaker out but in the end, I survived.
But seriously speaking, santol seeds aren’t edible! Compared to a pea-size orange seed, santol seeds may cause severe intestinal destruction.
Below are some of the things you can do and should know about if you swallowed an orange seed.
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What to do when you swallowed an orange seed
If you happen to swallow an orange seed or most fruit seeds, you can rest easy because it definitely won’t kill you. In some cases, it may get stuck in the throat but that’s not likely to happen with an orange seed.
Here are some things to do if a seed gets stuck on your throat or chest:
- Drink lots of liquids (water, fresh lemonade, or soda drinks)
- Eat bananas
- Have moist foods
- Wait it out
Drinking small sips of water over time or having moist foods will lubricate the area of your esophagus and helps in pushing the seed on your throat down to your stomach. Banana is a soft and sticky food, and when you eat one, it’ll cling to the seed and help dislodge it from your throat.
You can also try the Heimlich Maneuver to force the item out of your mouth. But if you followed the tips above, the best thing you can do is wait for your body to eliminate the seed out.
However, if you are experiencing respiratory distress, like having trouble breathing or swallowing your saliva, please seek medical attention immediately.
5 things to know about swallowing seeds
1. When a pregnant woman accidentally swallows a seed
Pregnant women who happen to swallow an orange seed have nothing to worry about because it won’t harm the baby in your womb nor damage the internal organs. It will naturally just flow through the digestive tract until it exits the body through defecating.
If you attempted to do the tips mentioned above but signs of discomfort increase, please get emergency help. Also, it might be best to consider eating seedless oranges like navel or clementine variety to avoid the hassle.
2. Harmful toxins in fruit seeds
The seeds in stone fruits like apricots, cherries, plums, peaches, and apples contain amygdalin which serves as their chemical defenses. When the seed is broken or otherwise chewed and makes contact with the enzymes inside our body, it transforms into a toxin called hydrogen cyanide.
This is poisonous and can be lethal in very high doses.
Orange seeds have relatively small amounts of amygdalin and are less bitter in taste compared to lemons and tangerines. The seeds are edible and are consumed by some people in other countries.
However, if taken consistently in large amounts it can be dangerous and leads to cyanide poisoning.
Accidentally ingesting a small number of seeds is no big deal. Our digestive system will naturally flush out the seeds together with other toxins we have in our bodies.
3. Orange seeds are beneficial to our body
Just like the orange fruit which is a great source of fiber and antioxidants, the seeds also offer good amounts of the vitamin to our body.
Below are some health benefits we can get in orange seeds:
Orange seeds are known to lower the risks of having colon cancer. It also aids in bowel movement, helps control blood pressure, and gives an instant energy boost.
Frequent overconsumption of any fruit seed will lead to risks of food poisoning. It’s best to consume the seeds take it in moderation.
4. Orange seeds don’t grow in your stomach
It sure is quite horrifying to imagine growing a plant on our insides after swallowing a seed. But we can’t blame the old myth we almost believe when growing up as a child. Once upon a time, it did do good with our imagination but we can’t be telling false claims to science.
While our stomach has enough moisture, temperature, and air, the seed won’t stay long enough to absorb these conditions to start germinating. It only stays a couple of hours in your stomach before it makes a trip down to your gut.
5. Orange seeds don’t harm your internal organs
An orange seed is very small in size when swallowed it enters your esophagus then, goes down into your stomach. And because the organ systems work like a machine, the seed would have a hard time finding a place to settle for germination.
Your digestive tract has a hostile environment, it also lacks oxygen, and has no sunlight which is not an ideal place for a seed to grow. It will most likely be out of your gut once the digestive processes finish by a day.
A tiny orange seed is unlikely to harm your internal organs or inflame your appendix because the body will recognize this foreign material and mark it as seemingly dangerous.
What it does next eliminates the seed as soon as possible together with any unwanted material from your system.
Are orange seeds poisonous?
No, but it contains small amounts of amygdalin that break down into toxic substances. If chewed or ingested in large amounts will induce risks of cyanide poisoning.
What happens when a baby swallows an orange seed?
There is nothing to worry about. Naturally, the seed will show up in the stool the next time the baby defecated.
To make sure, you can check out his wastes (but sure do wear some gloves or use something like a stick to scatter it). In some cases, it takes 2 to 3 days before the seed will show up on his stool.
If your baby shows signs of discomfort and trouble breathing then please reach out to your baby’s pediatrician immediately.
Does swallowing an orange seed kills you?
Although orange seeds have small amounts of cyanide compounds in them, swallowing them whole shall not cause any harm to your body. If it causes you some trouble breathing or leads to choking then, please seek emergency help immediately.
What should I do when an orange seed is stuck in my throat?
Drink lots of water and try eating some moist food as a banana or bread dipped in coffee or milk. It will help in pushing the item from your throat down to your stomach.
Avoid cold or hot drinks as these may increase discomfort. It may take a couple of minutes before you can finally dislodge it but you just have to wait and continue flushing it with fluids.
What happens if a pregnant woman swallows an orange seed? Will it harm the baby?
No, it will not cause any harm to the baby. The orange seed will flow through your digestive tract en route to your gut. It won’t happen that it will enter the placenta and harm the baby in any way.
If you happen to experience choking please, seek emergency help immediately.
Just like when we do first-aid on any emergency, it is still very effective if we stay calm. Swallowing an orange seed may be alarming but it only takes patience and the right method to follow in reducing discomfort or the possibility of choking.
The best thing you can do is let your body do the job, it takes time for it to digest food and release any unwanted material from your system. Although seeds in fruits have some harmful substances in them, they are very small in amounts. It would take you to swallow more than a cup of orange seeds before you succeed in poisoning yourself.
If you’re experiencing unusual symptoms after applying the home remedies mentioned above, please call on emergency help immediately.