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The perils of consuming undercooked meat

28 July 2015 [09:55] - TODAY.AZ

/By AzerNews/

By Amina Nazarli

Despite recent global vegetarian trends, meat still remains a staple of many diets for its taste and nutritional value. Eating meat, such as fish and various types of seafood, can provide the body with essential nutrients like phosphorus that are not as easily found in a vegetarian diet.

Raw or undercooked meat, in particular, is popular in many cuisines throughout the world. The French prefer their steak quite rare for example, while Asian cultures enjoy the taste of raw fish and seafood.

In addition, “raw food” movements, which encourage eating undercooked or “pink” meat, have gained notoriety recently as a means to maintain the nutritional integrity of meat. Research shows that overcooking meat not only forces it to lose valuable vitamins and minerals, but frying adds unhealthy additional fat and cholesterol.

Raw meat, however, should be consumed cautiously. Raw or undercooked meat could contain harmful bacteria that some researchers say are becoming more commonplace.

When consuming raw meat, one also runs the risk of being infected with various parasites, such as the beef tapeworm, which could lead to serious illness and even death.

Cases of salmonella poisoning, for example, are often found in those who consume undercooked meat. Symptoms include diarrhea, nausea, and extreme upset stomach.

A 46-year old man from the UK nearly died after consuming undercooked pork, the Daily Mail reported. Darren Ashall spent for nearly five months in hospital due to a potentially lethal brain bug.

He first fell ill after cooking two pork chops cooked on a caravan stove. A month later he went to hospital thinking he had a heart attack. There he was diagnosed him with a stroke, as his face began drooping on one side.

The man had picked up the listeria bug, which attacked his immune system and left an abscess on his brain. Ashall was left completely paralyzed and was placed on a ventilator to help him breathe.

Now, he has problems walking and communicating. Doctors told Ashall that he is lucky to be alive and said that if he had been a couple of years older, he likely wouldn't have made it.

Thoroughly cooking meat removes up to 99 percent of bacteria, including listeria, and parasite larvae.

The UK resident did survive the ordeal, but it is unlikely that he will ever consume raw or undercooked meat again.

Sushi, containing raw fish and seafood, is another popular dish that may pose potential risks. Dangerous bacteria have been discovered residing in the Sea of Japan, as well as the South China and Philippine seas.

In many cases, raw fish in sushi have been known to be infected with the Anisakis parasite.

“This type does not develop in the human body, but after ingestion its larvae can lead to severe clinical problems,” a report presented at the 72nd Congress of the American College of Gastroenterology said.

Meat dish tradition in Azerbaijan

Azerbaijani cuisine, widely regarded as one of the world’s best, includes a variety beef, lamb, poultry, and fish dishes. It is often referred to as a “man’s cuisine” for its emphasis on high-calorie, yet nourishing foods.

In comparison with other nations, there are no dishes prepared with raw or undercooked meat.

Since ancient times, Azerbaijanis would skewer and grill their meat thoroughly. This culinary technique has survived and has been improved over thousands of years.

Kebabs, such as lula kebab made from lamb, are perennial favorites of many Azerbaijanis who like to cook them on a barbecue, commonly referred to as “mangal” in Azerbaijan.

Poultry and fish cooked in a tandir, an oven made of clay and used in cooking and baking, are quite popular in the country’s southern region. The tandir provides the meat with an unforgettable taste.

The Caspian Sea, the Kura and Araz rivers, the Goy-Gol, Jeyranbatan, and Geycha lakes have all enriched Azerbaijani cuisine with amazing fish. Kebab made from sturgeon is probably the most popular. It is typically served with narsharab, a sweet and sour pomegranate sauce.

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