Eat– for Good Health

A neighbor friend told me this morning about her infestation of flukes and other parasites.  She loves raw sushi and hadn’t known the Japanese eat it with a large amount of ginger and Wasabi  because these spices fight parasites in raw fish. Public health concerns have been raised over the risk of parasitic helminth (roundworm, tapeworm and fluke) infections from eating raw fish, an increasing US consumer trend. Hawaii consumers eat seafood at nearly 3 times the US national average rate, with a long tradition and high level of raw fish consumption. The local fish species commonly eaten raw in Hawaii include tuna (bigeye, yellowfin, albacore and skipjack), marlin (blue and striped) and deepwater snappers (long-tailed red, pink and blue green). Forty-eight Hawaii based physicians (gastroenterologists, internists, general and family practitioners) were surveyed to count known cases of parasitic worm infection.  Cooking fish thoroughly is a smart idea! We enjoyed a fish dinner last night, tilapia which I coated with low cal mayo and then panko crumbs before frying with butter spray.  I served it alongside peas and a tossed salad.

Tilapia With Panko Coating

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6 thoughts on “Eat– for Good Health

  1. Mary Alice Tallmadge

    Hi Kathleen, flukes from raw fish get into the liver. Dr. Peter Hotez, the president of the Sabin Vaccine Institute, a nonprofit organization in the United States that researches neglected tropical diseases, describes liver flukes as one of “the most important infectious causes of cancer that no one has ever heard of.”

    Cooking the fish would eliminate the risk of infection. But the battle against liver flukes is being undermined in Thailand by a deeply ingrained love of the sour and smoky-tasting fermented dishes that generations of villagers have relished.

  2. Kathleen Rowland

    Mary Alice, thank you for your research. I know you work in this area. Correct me if I’m wrong, I think it’s known as bile duct cancer and represents the majority of the 70 liver cancer deaths a day in Thailand.

  3. Mary Alice Tallmadge

    Correct– according to Dr. Banchob Sripa, the head of the tropical disease research laboratory at nearby Khon Kaen University. A NY Times article called the consumption of raw fish in Thailand a fatal attraction. The raw fish that is so avidly consumed in the stilt houses that sit among rice paddies and wetlands of the country’s northern provinces contain parasites that can accumulate in the liver and lead to a deadly cancer.

  4. Reba Studebaker

    Hello Mary Alice and Kathleen, I feel bad for people not knowing what their traditional preparation is doing to them. More should be done to make sure villagers stop eating raw fish.
    I love fish but always eat it cooked.

  5. Mary Alice Tallmadge

    Reba, missionaries and the government are trying. In surrounding countries as well, villagers just cannot break the habit, according to Nutcharin Yanarangsri, from a government health clinic. She walks from house to house with a singular message: “Say no to raw fish!”

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