Health Risks And Benefits Of Sushi: Is Raw Fish Safe To Eat?

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The word “sushi” is often synonymous with “raw fish,” which is valid for the most part, but some sushi dishes are cooked, while others contain no fish or seafood at all. This Japanese delicacy has grown to be quite popular worldwide as more and more people discover sushi’s unique textures and robust flavors. However, there are still many people who are skeptical about eating entirely raw seafood.

Read on to discover the health benefits and possible dangers of eating sushi and raw fish.

What Is Sushi?

To put it into simple terms, sushi is indeed raw fish over or in a clump of rice. 

Sushi is one of the most popular dishes in Japanese cuisine and is probably the most famous worldwide. Sashimi is raw fish without rice. However, not all sushi is served raw.

Certain sushi dishes, like unagi (eel) or Ebi (shrimp), are cooked in some form. Popular, Westernized sushi rolls like the California Roll or the Crunchy Roll found in many restaurants also feature cooked seafood. Sushi can also include dishes containing no seafood, where the main ingredient might be vegetables or even eggs.

Is it Safe to Eat Sushi?

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As scary as eating raw fish may sound, one must understand that the fish used at a reputable sushi establishment is of the highest quality. A reputable sushi establishment will also follow the highest food safety standards to ensure that their dining guests do not fall ill from their food. Industrial freezers, proper fish freezing and storage, and the use of sushi-grade seafood are essential factors for protecting patrons against foodborne illness. So, if it’s a trusted establishment with reputable safety standards, feel free to enjoy your sushi happily.

Health Benefits of Eating Sushi

Sushi also has some health benefits like:

  • Having omega-3 fatty acids
  • Being an excellent source of protein
  • Having lots of vitamins and minerals, like calcium and vitamin D.

Aside from the rice and perhaps adding too much soy sauce, sushi is a very healthy dish that can benefit one’s health.

Dangers of Raw Fish

You should cook seafood thoroughly to decrease the risk of foodborne illnesses. Possible health risks if you ingest raw fish are:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Parasites as tapeworms
  • Food poisoning with toxins or bacteria like salmonella

If you experience symptoms after eating raw fish, including sushi, you should seek medical help immediately.

Other Precautions

Due to the levels of mercury found in some seafood and the potential health complications from foodborne illnesses, the FDA recommends that certain people should avoid the consumption of raw fish:

  • Pregnant women
  • Women who are still nursing
  • Older adults
  • People with weakened immune systems
  • Anyone with low stomach acidity
  • Those who may suffer an allergic reaction to certain seafood, like shellfish

Before eating sushi or any seafood, cooked or uncooked, make sure you talk to your doctor.

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