Are apple seeds safe to eat?

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question, “are apple seeds safe to eat?”. We will also discuss the potential health risks of eating apple seeds.

Are apple seeds safe to eat?

No, it is not safe to eat apple seeds. Eating a few apple seeds will not have a big effect but a large number of apple seeds can poison you.

Apples have five seed compartments, each with a different quantity of seeds. 

The seeds have a bitter flavor, so most people avoid them. However, a person may consume one or two by accident and forget to spit them out. Alternatively, pulverized seed juice can be consumed.

So why are apple seeds unsafe? And what happens if you eat them?

Why are apple seeds unsafe?

Apple seeds contain a plant chemical known as amygdalin, which can be poisonous.

Amygdalin is a chemical defense mechanism found in seeds. When a seed is intact, amygdalin is harmless, but when a seed is eaten or otherwise crushed, the amygdalin degrades into hydrogen cyanide. Hydrogen cyanide is extremely dangerous, and in excessive concentrations, it can be fatal.

Amygdalin is found in relatively high concentrations in the seeds of fruits such as apples, pears, apricots, peaches, and cherries.

Throughout history, people have employed cyanide as a poison. It operates by interfering with the oxygen supply of cells, and large amounts can kill you in minutes.

How many apple seeds can you safely eat?

A few apple seeds won’t kill you, anything over 200 seeds can be harmful. 

Because the human body can handle hydrogen cyanide in little amounts, a few chewed seeds are usually totally safe. 

A fatal oral dose of cyanide for a 154 pound (70 kg) man is 1–2 mg/kg. Around 5 apple seeds are found in most apple cores. This amount, however, will vary depending on the plant’s health. To get a fatal dose, you’d have to finely chew and eat about 200 apple seeds, or about 40 apple cores.

What happens if you swallow apple seeds whole?

It’s unlikely that swallowing whole apple seeds will result in any symptoms. The seed coating shields it from digestive enzymes, allowing it to travel through the digestive system without being destroyed.

However, before offering apples to little children or pets, it is probably a good idea to remove the seeds.

What happens if you eat too many apple seeds?

If you eat too many apple seeds, you will have cyanide poisoning. Even liittle doses of cyanide can be fatal. 

Symptoms of cyanide poisoning can emerge anywhere between seconds and minutes after exposure.

You might have the following symptoms:

  • Nausea
  • Confusion
  • A general weakness
  • Seizure
  • Headache
  • Unconsciousness
  • Heart attack

It is very important to treat cyanide poisoning symptoms urgently. If not they can cause coma and even death.

Does apple juice have apple seeds?

Yes. Whole crushed apples, including the core and seeds, are frequently used in apple juice and smoothies. Because the apple seeds are smashed during processing, some cyanide may be released into the juice.

When researchers looked at how much amygdalin was in popular apple juice brands, they discovered that it was quite low, ranging from:

  • In squeezed apple juice:  0.01–0.04 milligrams per milliliter (ml)
  • In long-life apple juice:  0.001–0.007 milligrams per milliliter

According to the authors of the study, the quantities of amygdalin in commonly available apple juice are unlikely to cause harm.

Nonetheless, because of the amygdalin presence, they advise against chewing apple seeds and removing them before crushing apples.

Are there any benefits of apple seeds? 

Yes, apple seeds contain beneficial bacteria.

Each apple has 100 million bacterial cells, with the majority of those organisms localized in the apple seeds.

These bacteria can help Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, two helpful bacteria in the gut, proliferate and reduce the amount of potentially harmful bacteria and infections. Bacteria found in apples can help to regulate the human microbiome and lessen the occurrence and severity of food allergies.

Although apple seeds can be beneficial, eating apple seeds is not recommended. 

What are the safe ways to use apple seeds?

The only proven safe way to use apple seeds is as apple seed oil. Apple seed oil is used topically on the skin and hair.

Juice processing produces apple seed oil as a byproduct. It’s made from apple pomace that hasn’t been cooked. In most cases, the amount of amygdalin present in apple seed oil is minimal.

It’s used for its aroma, to condition hair, and to relieve skin inflammation. It is also a good source of antioxidants and has anti-cancer properties. Apple seed oil is also effective against germs and yeast.

Other FAQs about Apples that you may be interested in.

How long does it take for an apple to rot?

Can rabbits eat apples?

Can you steam apples?


In this brief guide, we answered the question, “are apple seeds safe to eat?”. We also discussed the potential health risks of eating apple seeds.


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