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Can You Get Sick From Eating Fruits?

author image William McCoy
Toronto-based journalist William McCoy has been writing since 1997, specializing in topics such as sports, nutrition and health. He serves as the Studio's sports and recreation section expert. McCoy is a journalism graduate of Ryerson University.
Can You Get Sick From Eating Fruits?
A woman is washing her grapes off in the sink. Photo Credit: maria_esau/iStock/Getty Images

A fresh piece of fruit can be part of a healthy diet, given that fruits are packed with vitamins, minerals and fiber. In some cases, however, your fruit consumption can lead to illnesses. Don't be scared away from these healthy foods; washing them thoroughly can often reduce your risk of getting sick.

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Bacteria Problems

E. coli or salmonella, which originate in the intestines of animals, can contaminate the fruit. Consumption of either type of bacteria can make you sick, leading to symptoms such as stomach or abdominal cramps, diarrhea, fever and vomiting. The symptoms of E. coli can last up to 10 days, while salmonella illness can ensure for a week.

Undiagnosed Fruit Allergy

An undiagnosed fruit allergy can make you sick. Kiwis, peaches and apples are more commonly associated with allergies, according to the Food Allergy Research and Resource Program at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Consumption of fruits to which you're allergic can lead to itching and swelling in and around your mouth. In some cases, anaphylaxic reactions can occur.

Fruit and Diarrhea

If you have diarrhea, eating a piece of fruit might make it worse, because the fruit's high fiber content can cause it to pass quickly through your bowels. The National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse doesn't list fruit as a customary cause of diarrhea, but the University of Maryland Medical Center notes that fruit can make your diarrhea worse. Fruit can also cause gas, which can lead to complications when you have diarrhea.

Wash Fruit to Avoid Sickness

Thoroughly washing your fruit before you eat it can reduce the risk of it making you sick. For best results, wash your hands before you wash the fruit and ensure your knife and cutting board are also clean. Wash the fruit gently with water and use a scrub brush to scrub firm-skinned fruit such as apples. Washing the fruit won't remove every trace amount of microbes, but can be enough to keep you from getting sick.

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