IS CEVICHE HEALTHY? WHAT DOES THE RESEARCH SAY?
Is ceviche healthy? -In today’s health-conscious society, it’s important to regularly eat foods that will nourish and sustain our bodies for all the demands of an active lifestyle. I know that I feel and perform at my best when I’m eating well – but sometimes what’s healthy can seem bland and unappealing.
Does that mean that eating healthy necessarily means skimping on taste? Absolutely not! Dishes like ceviche, traditionally made with fresh, raw fish tossed in an acidic marinade is an example that can add zest to your dinner table. So, is ceviche healthy, then? Yes! But, there are sill some things that you should know if you plan on eating ceviche.
Healthy Ingredients In Ceviche
There are many unique variations of the traditional ceviche dish, but most basic recipes call for the use of raw fish (scallops, shrimp, etc.), cured in citrus juices like lime or lemon, accompanied by fresh vegetables like onions, tomatoes and peppers, and seasonings such as cilantro and salt.
This dish is ideal for people wanting to eat simple, nutrient-dense, unprocessed foods. It also pairs well with other healthy food items, such as sweet potato, avocado, and corn. Mixing ceviche with a variety of these food items really complements its flavor and adds even more health benefits to your meal.
Macro And Micronutrients
Ceviche can be a highly nutritious food choice. It is high in protein, omega 3 fatty acids, vitamins A and C, and low in fat. Depending on which seafood and vegetable options you choose, you could also be bulking up on several important minerals like phosphorous and magnesium. Plus, if you add in lots of vegetables, you’ll be getting a healthy dose of fiber, and all their associated health benefits, too! It really is a delicious, nutritious meal all around.(Read more about Top 7 Weird and Disgusting Food For Fitness (#3 Will Make You Gag!))
Safety Of Ceviche
The health benefits of ceviche are obvious, but since its main ingredient is raw fish, you might be wondering if it can be considered a healthy and safe choice?
After all, raw fish is frequently associated with infectious pathogens and parasites like Salmonella and Vibrio vulnificus . Poor quality seafood, coupled with improper preparation and sanitation, can easily lead to short and long-term illnesses .
Pollutants In Raw Fish
Exposure to pathogens like tapeworms, roundworms, and bacteria is only one safety concern of consuming fish; exposure to harmful pollutants like PCBs is another health concern, as they tend to accumulate, particularly in farmed fish).
Mercury contamination is another major concern of consuming raw versus cooked fish, as cooking tends to reduce the risk of exposure to some, but not all, pollutants. If mercury and other pollutants are of particular concern in your diet, it might be best to avoid raw seafood dishes like ceviche altogether.
The American Dietetic Association also recommends that pregnant women and children steer clear from raw seafood dishes like ceviche for these very reasons.
Proper preparation of ceviche is crucial to reducing the risk of infection and contamination. Certain freshwater fish, like trout and salmon, may be more prone to infectious pathogens, so it’s also important to choose your raw seafood ingredients wisely. While you might think that the highly acidic citrus marinade is sufficient to kill harmful pathogens, it simply isn’t as effective as high-heat cooking.(Read more about Is Watermelon Fattening? Because You Need To Know Why)
However, cooking ceviche would take away from its traditional appeal. While cooking is an option for especially health-conscious individuals, you can still reduce your health risks simply by choosing fresh, parasite-free fish, or commercially-frozen fish.
So, Is Ceviche Healthy?
The appeal of ceviche is multi-faceted: it is simple to prepare, nutritious, delicious, and pairs well with many other foods. Although eating raw fish is associated with a higher risk of pathogenic infections and food poisoning, ceviche is still ideally very healthy. If you want to enjoy all the health benefits of ceviche with minimal risk to your health, then keep these important preparatory steps in mind:
-Choose fresh fish from a trusted supplier, or use commercially-frozen fish.
-Inspect your fish for contamination and spoilage before preparation.
-Wash your hands before and after handling.
-Keep your preparation area clean.
-Pregnant women and children shouldn’t consume ceviche.
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Do you have a preferred way to prepare ceviche? Let us know! Leave us a comment if you have any questions.
Is Ceviche Healthy?(References)
Douglas Rodriguez (2010). The Great Ceviche Book, Ten Speed Press.
"Parasites in Marine Fishes". Seafood Network Information Center – Sea Grant Extension Program. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Archived from the original on September 27, 2011. Retrieved Feb 15, 2018.
"Doctor's Responses". parasites from sushi – abdominal pain & diarrhea article. MedicineNet, Inc. Retrieved Feb 15, 2018.
"Food Safety Risks for Pregnant Women and Newborns". eatright.org: Public. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. December 2012. Retrieved Feb 15, 2018.
Weitzel, Thomas et al. “Human Infections with Pseudoterranova Cattani Nematodes, Chile.” Emerging Infectious Diseases 21.10 (2015): 1874–1875. PMC. Web. 15 Feb. 2018.
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