Childish fear of fruit trees growing in our stomachs has little real basis
In childhood, perhaps an adult in your family told you to be careful not to swallow the seeds when you eat fruits or plants will grow in your stomach.
While well intentioned, let’s see why this terrifying warning is unfounded.
Juanito and the magic beans
The seeds are an important part of the reproductive cycle of plants that produce flowers, because these develop and give rise to the fruits, which inside contain the seeds.
For this reason, from the botanical point of view, tomatoes are fruits, although gastronomically, due to their less sweet taste, we classify them as vegetables.
In any case, lThe fruits fulfill the function of protecting the seeds until they are ready to start their germination process and produce another plant.
A seed is, ultimately, the plant embryo: For it to develop and germinate, it needs a suitable place to do so, with enough water, adequate temperature and some nutrients.
So, we have to think if our stomach it would be a suitable place for a seed to germinate, to begin with it is the most acidic place in the human body.
To eat you better
Although the stomach has a lining that protects it from itself, the hydrochloric acid it contains is in such a high concentration that if a drop fell on our skin it would cause us great irritation, at least.
That doesn’t sound like a great place to sprout. Although the seeds have a protective cover that could help them not to be digested at all.
But the processes of digestion of certain animals are part of the mechanisms that some seeds use to germinate: but do not panic, that does not mean that they begin to do so inside the stomachs.
Let us remember that plants cannot move and to disperse their seeds they need a lot of help: the fruits that fall from the trees, the wind that carries the seeds, are some means.
Other means are animals that eat fruits, they swallow the seeds, which in general will pass through the digestive system without any problem and come out, being deposited in another place, where with enough luck they will be able to germinate.
So, what happens when we eat fruits with everything and seeds, is that they simply take a walk through our digestive system, where they do not find conditions to germinate.
Not the time, because it takes days for them to germinate and our digestion in general is faster.
Although perhaps the stomach is not the best place to grow plants: in 2010 a man from Massachusetts, USA had a small pea plant growing in his lungs.
For his symptoms, he had been treated for pulmonary emphysema, but it was only getting worse, until an X-ray revealed an abnormal growth, which turned out to be the plant.
It is likely that at some point you have inadvertently inhaled a pea that did not find an outlet, but did find some conditions to grow. They had to operate on him and he recovered.
Either way this is a very rare case, so keep up your good New Year’s resolutions and eat fruits and vegetables, no matter if you swallow the seeds.