The Potential Health Benefits And Risks Of Eating Raw Fish

Would you eat a sushi platter every night? I am very tempted to say that yes, of course, I would, they’re absolutely amazing. But when it comes to raw fish, overdoing it might not be the best of ideas. 

These days, we have so many options for eating great food, right at our fingertips. And with all of the food delivery services out there, you can satisfy your craving every single night. And of course, supermarkets are stocked with everything you might need, picking up a pre-packaged tray from the aisle and putting it in your cart is simple and accessible.

That can be a problem. On the topic of raw fish, the variety is astounding even. You have sashimi, nigiri, sushi, maki rolls, poke bowls and so many others. Tuna tartare? Yes, please! A platter of ceviche? Once again, an enthusiastic, resounding yes! So should you indulge in them whenever you feel like it? We investigate a little so that you know what is the healthiest way to go about things.

The nutrients in raw fish

Of course, omega-3 fatty acids are the bomb. They have plenty of health benefits like supporting the health of your heart and brain, keeping type-2 diabetes away and lowering the risk of certain cancers. You can load up on them after you work out because they are chock full of protein. So is eating raw fish better than cooking it? It would appear so because exposure to heat might reduce the levels of healthy fats in your food.

At the same time, if a healthier diet is your goal, make sure to know what other ingredients are in your sushi rolls – mayonnaise, sodium bomb soy sauce, and so on.

Want to make a poke bowl? Try this one!

Are there health risks?

Unfortunately, yes. Raw fish can sometimes have bacteria and parasites. Be more mindful if you live in Europe, North America, and Asia, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

So how do you prevent infections? Always check out the restaurants you’re about to eat in or order from. They should have “A” health inspection ratings. And don’t forget to read reviews on Yelp, Google Maps and any other sources you might have. If you see even one negative review, run the other way. Even when there, make sure to ask questions to the staff about how they prepare the food. Be as mindful as possible.

And of course, there are demographic groups who should stay away from raw fish altogether: small children, older adults, people with compromised immune systems and pregnant women. Check with your doctor first, if you know that you are in one of those categories.

The other reason you probably shouldn’t eat raw fish every day is mercury. It is a naturally-occurring mineral that can be toxic at high levels. The types of fish most likely to be high in mercury (and thus you should avoid) are tuna, swordfish, and king mackerel. Go instead for salmon and shrimp.

The American Heart Association recommends having two average meals of low-mercury seafood per week, about 12 ounces (340 grams). If you’re having high in mercury fish, then eat even less!

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Article by Ruxandra Grecu from So Delicious. View the original article here.

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Here’s A Breakdown of Raw Dishes, So You Don’t Feel Like a Noob When Ordering Them

Have you ever been to a restaurant and just stared at the menu in silence wondering what on Earth the strange terms were in front of you? You’re not alone. There seems to be a fancy name for everything these days, but a category of foods where this is extremely apparent is raw fish and meat dishes. It turns out there is a marked difference between tartare, ceviche, and crudo. Who knew?

Here’s a breakdown of some raw dishes you might find, so you can navigate that menu like a pro.


beef carpaccio

Traditional carpaccio is made with either fish or beef, with the most popular renditions using beef sirloin or tuna. However, this dish is increasingly being catered towards vegetarians, employing veggies like zucchini or cucumber. Carnivorous or not, the determining factor of carpaccio is definitely how thin each piece is, so when you see a raw dish with laser thin slices, you’ll know what it is.


steak tartare

Tartare originally gained its namesake for being a dish that used tartar sauce, but after years of modifications, the standard application of this dish no longer uses the notorious sauce. You can find this dish made with fish pretty much anywhere since it’s considered “trendy,” but you should really head to your local French restaurant and get steak tartare served with rye bread because that shit is bomb. Especially because some places will add an egg yolk for that extra yolk porn.


peruvian ceviche

Ceviche is a Latin American-inspired dish guaranteed to be on the menu at your nearest Peruvian restaurant or place that takes great pride in their fresh fish selection. Each piece of raw fish destined for ceviche spends several hours in a nice lemon-lime, citrus juice bath. The fish is then traditionally served with sweet potato or avocado in its own delicious juices, and garnished with onion or chili peppers. The acidity gives the fish an appearance of being cooked, but citrus doesn’t get rid of bacteria so if you’re making this dish at home, be sure to use the freshest seafood possible.


fluke crudo

Crudo is probably the simplest of all these dishes, and literally means “raw” in Italian. Basically all you need for a crudo is raw fish, olive oil, and a splash of lemon. Considering there’s only three ingredients, I kind of feel like this dish can be a hoax, since depending on the place, it can be devastatingly overpriced. However, this dish can be beautiful if the chef likes to take liberties with their plating.



There are few Nordic foods that have become mainstream in Western cuisine, but gravlax is definitely one of them. Gravlax is made by taking the freshest salmon you can find (literally, the dish was created by fishermen, so you have some competition), and curing it with salt, sugar, and dill. After curing for a few days, the fish is typically served atop rye bread with some sort of sauce. Because we like to Americanize everything, gravlax is also commonly eaten with bagels as an alternative to lox.


hawaiian poke

Poke, also known as a raw fish salad, is probably one of the hottest dishes on the menu right now and we have Hawaii to thank. The dish had some pretty humble beginnings, starting out as a simple snack amongst fishermen while they were waiting for the next catch. Today, there are restaurants across the country that focus solely on poke, serving it atop sushi rice with tons of fresh veggies. The fish is typically seasoned fairly simply, with soy sauce and sesame oil as the base.



Sashimi is pretty much sliced, raw fish served on a plate. You can obviously find this at a sushi establishment as an alternative to a roll, but if a restaurant is pretty stoked about a fresh catch, they’ll often let the flavors of the fish do the talking and serve it plain regardless of the cuisine. Sashimi originated in Japan, and is considered one of the highest delicacies, as only the freshest, most quality fish is used.



Nigiri is essentially sashimi, but served over rice in bite-sized pieces. It’s always a mystery to us how they make those little mounds of rice so perfect, but such is the life of a good sushi chef.


Today I Learned: Sushi Actually Means ‘Sour Rice,’ Not ‘Raw Fish’


I’ve learned and/or remembered a great many things just by poking through LA Mag’s recent sushi feature this week, such as the proper angle for tilting fish to dip into soy sauce (90 degrees), or the exact number of grains required for the perfect piece of nigiri (247).

But nowhere did I read that “sushi” doesn’t actually mean “fish.”

Apparently the word “sushi” actually derives from a Japanese term for “sour rice,” and refers to the process with which fish would be preserved by wrapping it in, well, sour fermented rice. Once the fish was extracted and eaten, the rice itself would then be thrown away.

Today’s sushi bears little resemblance to its nearly 700 year old forbear, as most “shari” (flavored sushi rice) is now made with vinegar, sugar and salt as opposed to the original method of lacto-fermentation. But the name stuck, and has since been adopted to describe the entire dish  instead of referring solely to the rice.

Well then. Like deciphering the real meaning of “SPAM,” perhaps I should have realized something was up when slices of fish alone were called “sashimi” and fish on top of rice was called “nigiri.” But that’s why the next time I go to the sushi bar, I’ll just defer to the experts and tell the chef “omakase” – “I leave it up to you.”

H/T Mental Floss, Eat-Japan + PicThx Plonq