About Consuming Raw Fish

Like fruits, humans have been eating raw fish for millions of years.

Fish can much better be consumed raw than meat, for containing far less connective tissue.


Consuming food containing sugars and / or fibers within 2 to 3 hours after having consumed raw fish or -egg yolk can cause severe cramps.

Consume fruits before consuming sashimi, and take your time.


Sashimi is Japanese for raw seafood.

Sushi can contain raw fish, but can also contain cooked or otherwise prepared seafood (and vegetables). In sushi the fish is rolled in cooked or steamed rice.

For how to make sushi rolls, check this external site


For why consuming fresh raw animal food in general is not dangerous, click here





Vitamins and Minerals
Together with just a little fish, fruits contain all the nutrients you need.
Consuming more protein (salmon, tuna and mackerel averagely contain 20% protein) than you need (see site18), requires more vitamin B2, B6 and folic acid.
Though raw fish contains thiaminase, which decomposes some of the vitamin B1 in fish, that doesn't matter, because one piece of fruit already contains as much vitamin B1.
For exact nutrient contents of some fish, click here
Check Freshness
To judge fish on freshness, it has to be a whole fish ; the slime-layer must be intact, and the gills should be moist and bright red. (except for mackerel, whose gills are brown) The scales must be both intact and shiny, and firmly attached to the body. The cut-wound edges must have a fresh scent. The flesh has to be firm. Poking your finger in the flesh, it has to bounce back. Fresh fish has convex eyes, which shouldn't be bloody but bright white, with shiny black pupils. There should not be any signs of browning (due to oxidation).
And fresh fish does not smell.
Of course nobody will tell you (or they tell you it is needed to kill parasites), but be sure the fish hasn't been in the freezer. You can tell because fish that has been in the freezer is tasteless and 'watery'. 
Supermarket-salmon often isn't very fresh and sometimes 'slightly prepared', to increase shelf-life.
Americans in general are quite frantic about raw food, and American sites therefore will tell you that sweet-water fish has to be deep-frozen before consumption. In the USA the FDA in it's infinite wisdom has decided that the almost negligible risk of absorbing parasites should be totally eliminated. Fish that is intended to be consumed in its raw form, has to be deep-frozen first, by law, while freezing does not kill nematodes. Luckily, the FDA has no jurisdiction over the retail operation in general; "the serving of sushi does not fall under their purview". Also see the FDA on seafood
Strangly, the FDA does not mind that the risk of absorbing mutagenic HCA from cooked fish is 100%; cooked fish always contains mutagenic HCA 

In fact, absorbing parasites from fish that can cause ill effects, can easily be prevented. Simply stay away from the internal organs, and consume fresh raw red tuna, or farm raised salmon instead of wild salmon.

In the main there are three kinds of parasites to look out for in raw fish: flukes (trematodes), nematodes (roundworms) and tapeworms (cestodes).

Flukes are too big to remain unnoticed. They also are extremely rare.

Nematodes look like big, but short human hair (25-150 mm long, 2 mm in diameter). They lie perpendicular to the fishes' muscle striations (the pattern of striae in the flesh) and have a white translucent sheen. Any merchant - who wants to make sure his customers will not get ill - can detect them using ultrasound. 
In particular wild salmon may contain roundworms, but farm raised salmon hardly ever does. There also have been case reports of roundworms from raw Yellowfin tuna causing ill effects in humans. Furtunately, nematodes cannot survive in humans, and only may cause temporary ill effects, such as bloating, cramping and diarrhea.

Tapeworm is the only type of worm that can survive in humans, but their intake can be easily prevented. Tapeworms are found in the internal organs (especially the intestines) and body cavities of the fish. You can avoid ingesting them by only eating the flesh of the fish, staying away from all organs. Tuna does not contain tapeworms.
Fortunately, tapeworms can be easily eliminated with medicines.

The risk of absorbing parasites that can cause ill effects is extremely small; less than 40 US citizens get ill each year by consuming fish containing parasites (in general due to an immune deficiency or due to having consumed some digestive part of the fish). In comparison: every year thousands of US citizens are bitten by snakes. 

Of all fish, consuming raw red tuna is safest. Farm raised salmon is much safer than wild salmon. Consuming raw fish other than tuna, you just need to make sure not to consume any digestive organ of the fish, that you check the flesh of the fish, and that your immune system is working properly, so that your body is perfectly able to prevent any possible parasytic infection.

Relying on Japanese tradition and experience, one knows many fish can perfectly be consumed raw. To the Japanese, only serving fish of the best quality and utmost freshness is a matter of honor and ages of tradition. For a list of Japanese Restaurants outside Japan, check external site


What Fish
Fat fish can be consumed raw best. Red tuna can therefore much better be consumed raw than white tuna. Many fish can be consumed raw, like farm raised salmon perfectly can. If you want to consume raw mackerel, be sure it's very fresh (sashimi), because you might react allergic to not-so-fresh mackerel. (due to originated amines)
Cod and herring very regularly contain much parasites, and should not be consumed raw. In most countries herring has to be deep frozen for 24 hours to kill possible herring-worms. So the raw herring they sell, is actually never ‘clean’-raw.Snapper contains very little parasites.



Oysters contain too little fat, too much copper and far too much zinc (up to 160 mg / 100 g). In cattle zinc and copper are supplemented to 'enhance growth', and to make the skin shine. Consuming oysters can make your skin shine, or swallow, and cause inflammations and severe allergic reactions.



Zinc is essential for cell proliferation and differentiation. (3) Zinc-metallothionein stimulates (3H)thymidine incorporation in the cell. (4) Copper, manganese, and nickel don't. (5) Skin-metallothioneine induces skin-keratinocyte proliferation. (6) Consuming oysters can enhance skin cell growth that much that the skin temporarily tightens.



If you do not like playing Russian roulette, do not consume Blowfish (Fugu), Globe fish, Swell fish, Puffer fish or fish of the order Tetraodonitiformes. These fish contain a deadly poison (Tetrodotoxin) to prevent being consumed by larger fish (and humans).




Bad Substances

Cooking, marinating, steaming or preparing fish in any other way creates mutagenic, carcinogenic and mind-altering substances

Because fish contains very much protein, lots of these substances originate due to the preparation process. Solely consuming raw fish instead of prepared animal food, already makes a world of difference.


Unfortunately, fish can be fed growth hormones orally. (1)

Fish from hatcheries can contain residues of drugs that had ‘to prevent diseases', up to 6 months after. (2) These hatcheries very often are owned by large companies also producing cattle-food, and recycle human foods. You can imagine that feeding these fish recycled foods, causes these fish to contain damaged cholesterol and trans fatty acids 



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Abstracts of most sources can be found at the National Library of Medi

(1) Hertz, Y. et al, Absorption of bioactive human growth hormone after oral administration in the common carp (cyprinus carpio) and its enhancement by deoxycholate. J. Comp. Physiol. (B) 1991 / 161 (2) / 159-163.
(2) Deelstra, H.et al, strange substances in our food (in Dutch), Antwerp, 1996 / 132, 136, 137. , Steffenak, I., et al, Food Addit.Contam.1991 / 8 / 777.
(3) Schmidt, C. et al, Transient peaks in zinc and metallothionein levels during differentiation of 3T3L1 cells. Arch. Biochem. Biophys. 1999 / 364 (1) / 91-98. , Gangwani, L. et al, Interaction of ZPR1 with translocation elongation factor-1 alpha on proliferating cells. J. Cell. Biol. 1998 / 143 (6) / 1471-1484. , Koterov ,A.N. et al, Stimulation by exogenous zinc-metallothionein of DNA replicative synthesis and proliferation of bone marrow cells in mice. Biull. Eksp. Biol. Med. 1996 / 122 (11) / 505-506.
(4) Koterov, A.N. et al, The possible mechanism of the antiradiation effect of metallothionein : the stimulation of DNA replicative synthesis and of bone marrow cell proliferation. Radiats. Biol. Radioecol. 1998 / 38 (3) / 432-437. , Kaji, T. et al, stimulation of cultured vascular smooth muscle cell proliferation by thrombospondin is potentiated by zinc. Biol. Pharm. Bull. 1995 / 18 (9) / 1264-1266.
(5) Fujiwara, Y. et al, Zinc potentiates the stimulation by basic and acidic fibroblast growth factors on the proliferation of cultured vascular smooth muscle cells. Res. Commun. Mol Pathol. Pharmacol. 1997 / 97 (1) / 95-106.
(6) Hanada, K. et al, Epidermal proliferation of the skin in metallothionein nu mice. J. Invest. Dermatol. 1998 / 110 (3) / 259-262.