The thought of being a host to a parasite is rather unsettling but we put ourselves at risk almost every day.
Parasites are transferred from mammal to mammal. If you are in a place where there is livestock or you have animals at home, there are chances that you can become a host. Parasites can also be transferred indirectly through the meats and vegetables that you consume.
The fresh produce that enticingly invites you on the supermarket shelf might have some darker secrets hidden. Parasites are common in all unprocessed food products – but sound awareness and the right steps can prevent you from falling ill because of these lurkers.
To get started, it is important that you familiarize yourself with some of the common parasites that are found in food. At the same time, you also need to know what you can do to get rid of parasites and avoid long-term harm. This article from Microbe Formulas will certainly help you on your way.
There are some rather repulsive stories of pork tapeworms growing to abnormal lengths inside the human body but a lot of it happens in poorer parts of the world where hygiene and health facilities are not as stringent as in the West. However, that does not mean that you are not susceptible to becoming a host for the Taenia solium. This parasite can be found in pork that has not been prepared properly.
The parasite competes with the host for nutrients so symptoms would include increased constant hunger and severe malnutrition in some cases. It is also related to epileptic fits.
Pork is a culprit in many parasite infection cases. Trichinella spiralis is a roundworm that can cause infection in the muscles. Apart from raw or undercooked pork meat, they can also be found in sausages that have been smoked. Wild boar meat is also known to carry this parasite.
Healthy diets would suggest that raw vegetables are a must. That is absolutely true – they contain a lot of important nutrients and vitamins and also increase your fiber intake. However, vegetables if not washed properly, can give a few problems. Cryptosporidium spp is a dangerous parasite that is found in lettuces which have not been washed properly.
Always remember the basic rule – if you are going to consume the veggies raw, wash them thoroughly in clean water. A pinch of salt in the water is recommended as salt is toxic to lower life forms and will kill most parasites.
Seafood And Freshwater Parasites
Opisthorchiidae is a very common parasite in Asian countries and some parts of Europe. These are a type of flatworms which live in freshwater fish. Consumption of undercooked fish can lead to infestation. These parasites will inhabit the gallbladder and bile duct of the human host. According to some studies, these parasites have a correlation with the possibility of liver cancer. The aforementioned Cryptosporidium spp is also found in shellfish.
Toxoplasma Gondii – A Very Common Parasite
Toxoplasma gondii is a very common parasite that infects a majority of warm-blooded animals. This means that you are probably surrounded by it or maybe even have it. You can get it from your cats if the hygiene standards at home are not good, you can similarly get it from livestock and also from eating the meat of an animal host.
There are places where more than half the population is infected by the Toxoplasma gondii – travelers need to watch out when they are in South East Asia, Africa, and Latin America. It is believed that this parasite can influence behavioral changes even.
The parasite is said to be mainly dormant but it causes serious complications in pregnant women – fetal abnormalities are not uncommon.
Tips For Travelers
There are many more parasites that are found across the world and if you are traveling then you need to follow certain practices to reduce the chances of infection. Always go for food that is cooked. Avoid compromising on the cleanliness of the place where you have your meal.
You might feel tempted by a street stall to engage in some local flavors but the place might be using contaminated water or produce. Never drink water from an open tap or if you are unsure where it has been sourced from. Buy bottled water from a reputed brand and stick to it.
Parasites have been afflicting human beings since the beginning of our species. In many ways, they have become a constant battle that we are now slowly winning due to the development of modern medicine and improved understanding. To ensure that your body is parasite-free – keep your habits clean, be aware of what you eat, and do not hesitate to try out new remedies.