Side Effects of Eating Raw Seafood
Seafood and fish can be a part of a healthy and well-balanced diet. Seafood is low in saturated fat, rich in B vitamins, and a good source of protein and iron. Seafood and fish may include salmon, whitefish, tuna, herring, trout, mussels, oysters, crab, shrimp, scallops, clams, cod and lobster. When properly cooked, seafood is a good dietary choice. However, eating raw or undercooked seafood may pose potential side effects and health problems.
According to MedlinePlus, eating a large amount of raw fish or shellfish can cause you to become deficient in vitamin B1, or thiamine, an important vitamin for proper digestion, kidney function and prevention of diabetes. MedlinePlus states that eating cooked fish and seafood is safe and does not affect your thiamine levels. This is because cooking can destroy and eliminate chemicals that pose a hazard to thiamine in your body.
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Eating raw fish or oysters can contribute to food poisoning. Food poisoning occurs when you consume toxins, bacteria, or viruses from water or food that contains these harmful substances. Symptoms of food poisoning include nausea, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, headache, weakness, and nausea and vomiting.
Viral hepatitis occurs when your liver becomes inflamed. One possible cause of hepatitis is contamination by a water or food source. The University of Maryland Medical Center recommends that you avoid eating raw or undercooked fish and shellfish, especially when traveling, in order to reduce your risk of being contaminated with the hepatitis virus.
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- MedlinePlus: Thiamine (Vitamin B1)
- MedlinePlus: Food Poisoning
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Viral Hepatitis
- University of Michigan Health System: Healing Foods Pyramid: Fish and Seafood
- USP Verified Mark. United States Pharmocopeia website.
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- Rimm EB, Appel LJ, Chiuve SE, et al. Seafood Long-Chain n-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids and Cardiovascular Disease: A Science Advisory From the American Heart Association. Circulation. 2018;138(1):e35-e47. doi:10.1161/CIR.0000000000000574
Jill Andrews began writing professionally for various online publications since 2009. Andrews holds a Bachelor of Science in biochemistry/nutrition from Memorial University in St.John's, Newfoundland. She also holds a Bachelor of Science in occupational therapy from Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia.