This nut-chewing habit is linked to thousands of deaths

March 24, 2015 2:50 PM

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This nut-chewing habit is linked to thousands of deaths

Nicotine. Caffeine. Betel nuts. You may never have heard of them, but nuts from the Areca palm are hugely popular as a chewable stimulant: Almost a tenth of the global population enjoys them, the BBC reports.

A millennia-old tradition, they're the world's fourth-most-popular psychoactive substance, Healthline adds. Their effect is similar to that of drinking six cups of coffee, and many workers engaged in lengthy physical tasks chew them to maintain alertness.

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