One of the oldest and most well-known food preservation techniques is eating smoked or dried fish. It has been around for millennia and continues to be used extensively in many regions of the world today. Even though eating smoked or dried fish has been around for a long time, there are some health risks that everyone should be aware of.
Fish that has been smoked or dried loses flavor and affects the nutritional makeup from fresh, raw fish. Fish loses moisture during smoking or drying, which lowers the protein and fat content of the food. Fish may lose some of its flavor and nutritional value as a result of this. Additionally, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which are known to cause cancer, can be found in dried or smoked fish.
According to Healthline, when some fatty substances are burned, chemical chemicals called PAHs can result. They may develop when fish is smoked or dried, and their presence may be exacerbated if wood or charcoal are burned during the process. Exposure to PAHs is associated with a higher risk of developing cancer, according to both the World Health Organization (WHO) and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Methylmercury exposure is a further health risk related to eating dried or smoked fish. Larger fish like swordfish and tuna are the main hosts of this poisonous, metal-like substance. Methylmercury content considerably rises during smoking or drying processes. The nervous system and developing children may suffer lifelong harm from high amounts of methylmercury exposure, according to the EPA. Pregnant women and young children are advised to steer clear of these bigger, potentially more infected fish.
A danger of contracting a foodborne illness exists while eating dried or smoked fish. Due to its high protein content, fish is especially prone to bacterial development. Bacteria in the fish may grow and constitute a health risk during the smoking or drying process. Additionally, if the dried or smoked fish is handled or stored incorrectly, microorganisms may be added. Foodborne infections brought on by smoked or dried fish may be especially dangerous to those who already have compromised immune systems, such as small children and pregnant women.
It is crucial to remember that the majority of these dangers can be reduced by selecting and treating smoked or dried fish with care. The risk of food-related illnesses can be decreased by purchasing fish from a reliable source and ensuring that it has been cooked, smoked, or dried appropriately. Additionally, methylmercury and PAH exposure can be decreased by staying away from eating large, predatory fish and fish with more fat.
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