Is It Dangerous To Eat A Cherry Pit?

Fruits, as sweet and delectable as they can be, always seem to come with some kind of structural caveat. Some fruits have strips that need peeling, some have weird cores that are difficult to eat or cut around, some have seeds everywhere, and some of the most delicious have armored pits. Usually, people are taught to avoid these parts, but on the off chance that you've swallowed a couple or perhaps a child near you has ingested some, it's best to know if they're dangerous.

According to Healthline, as a rule, cherry pits and other fruit pits should not be ingested, and children should be taught to avoid consuming both pits and seeds. First and foremost, they can present a choking hazard and, depending on the size of the pit (or the size of the throat), can obstruct airways and can sometimes be difficult to remove. Secondly, cherries and other pitted fruits produce and contain certain amounts of amygdalin, which, when ingested, the human body converts to cyanide, per Bon App├ętit.

Lions, tigers, and cherry pits. Oh my!

The potential exposure to cyanide may be initially terrifying, but by no means does this mean you should avoid pitted fruits. Poison Control reassures that simply swallowing even a few cherry pits on accident is completely harmless. The amygdalin is only a problem in bruised and cracked cherry pits, and even then, the amounts contained are small.

All the same, it is still important to be mindful of the fruit that you're eating and, again, teach young children to do the same. If you or a child has consumed a large number of pits, look for symptoms like headache, nausea, seizures, or difficulty breathing, as these are typical symptoms of high cyanide toxicity. If this occurs, contact emergency services immediately (dial 911). Cherries are delicious both on their own and as ingredients for dishes, but you still must stay vigilant of where those pits end up. For example, this cherry pie recipe may be good, but it's not to die for, so be careful with the small pits.