Salmon is a delicious and healthy food that is packed with nutrients, but for some people, it can cause stomach discomfort.
From gas and bloating to food poisoning and allergies, there are a variety of reasons why salmon may not agree with your digestive system.
In this article, we’ll explore the possible causes of stomach pain after eating salmon and provide tips for how to enjoy this nutritious fish without any unpleasant side effects.
So if you’ve ever wondered why salmon makes your stomach hurt, keep reading to find out!
Why Does Salmon Make My Stomach Hurt?
There are several reasons why salmon may cause stomach discomfort. One of the most common reasons is that raw salmon can contain small parasites that can cause anisakidosis. This infection can lead to symptoms such as abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Cooked salmon is generally safer to eat, but it can still cause stomach issues for some people. Salmon is a common allergy trigger and can also harbor bacteria that causes food poisoning. Symptoms of fish intolerance or food poisoning include upset stomach, bloating, nausea, headaches, and skin rashes.
Salmon is also high in fat and protein, which can be difficult to digest for some people. This can lead to increased levels of gas in the intestines, causing bloating and discomfort. Additionally, salmon skin is often rich in histamine, which can also cause gas and bloating.
Consuming too much salmon can also lead to indigestion and heartburn. So if you’re experiencing any of these symptoms after eating salmon, it’s probably best to cut back on your intake.
Possible Causes Of Stomach Pain After Eating Salmon
If you experience stomach pain after eating salmon, it could be due to several reasons. One possible cause is the presence of Anisakis, a small parasite that can be found in raw or undercooked salmon. Anisakis can enter the stomach and intestinal wall of humans, causing gastroenteritis, also known as “Anisakis disease.” Symptoms of Anisakis disease include intense stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Another possible cause of stomach pain after eating salmon is food poisoning. Salmon can harbor bacteria such as Vibrio vulnificus, which can cause fever, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. Additionally, salmon can also cause scombroid poisoning or ciguatera poisoning. Symptoms of scombroid poisoning include flushing of the face, hives, abdominal pain, and vomiting. Ciguatera poisoning symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle aches, and numbness of the skin.
Furthermore, salmon is high in fat and protein which can be difficult to digest for some people. This can lead to increased levels of gas in the intestines causing bloating and discomfort. Salmon skin is also rich in histamine which can cause gas and bloating.
Lastly, consuming too much salmon can lead to indigestion and heartburn. If you experience any of these symptoms after eating salmon, it may be best to reduce your intake or avoid it altogether.
Food Poisoning From Salmon
While cooked salmon is generally considered safe to eat, there is still a risk of food poisoning from improperly handled or stored salmon. One type of food poisoning that can result from eating contaminated salmon is scombroid poisoning. This occurs when fish, such as salmon, are not properly refrigerated or preserved, allowing bacteria to convert histidine to histamine. Symptoms of scombroid poisoning include tingling and burning sensations around the mouth, facial flushing, sweating, nausea, vomiting, headache, palpitations, dizziness, and rash.
Another type of food poisoning that can result from eating salmon is Vibrio vulnificus infection. This bacterial infection is found in warm seawater fish, including salmon, and can cause symptoms such as fever, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. In more severe cases, it can lead to redness, swelling, and blisters on the skin and even become life-threatening if it spreads through the bloodstream.
To prevent food poisoning from salmon, it’s important to properly store and handle the fish. This includes refrigerating or freezing it right after it’s caught or purchased and cooking it to a safe internal temperature of 145°F. It’s also important to wash your hands and any utensils or surfaces that come into contact with raw salmon to prevent cross-contamination.
If you suspect that you have food poisoning from salmon or any other type of seafood, seek medical care immediately. Symptoms can range from mild discomfort to life-threatening complications and should not be ignored.
Allergic Reactions To Salmon
For some people, consuming salmon can trigger an allergic reaction. Salmon allergy is primarily induced through the oral route and secondarily through exposure to vapors while cooking and boiling fish or fish processing and through contact. Ingestion of salmon by sensitized individuals triggers allergic symptoms such as oral allergy syndrome, angioedema, urticaria, anaphylaxis, nausea, and gastrointestinal symptoms (nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain).
The major allergen identified is Sal s 1, a parvalbumin, which is a highly stable and heat-resistant protein found in salmon muscle tissue. Fish parvalbumin is a panallergen, which is responsible for cross-reactivity among different fish species. About 50% of patients hypersensitive to cod are reported to react to salmon. Cross-reactivity between finned fish and shellfish such as crustaceans is also reported.
Allergic reactions to salmon can differ from person to person. Sometimes the same person can react differently at different times. Fish allergy can cause a severe reaction called anaphylaxis, even if a previous reaction was mild. Anaphylaxis might start with some of the same symptoms as a less severe reaction but can quickly get worse. The person may have trouble breathing or pass out. More than one part of the body might be involved. If it isn’t treated, anaphylaxis can be life-threatening.
If you suspect that you have a salmon allergy, it’s important to speak with your doctor or allergist for proper diagnosis and treatment. Individuals with fish allergies are advised to avoid fish in any form in the diet to prevent allergic reactions. In case of severe allergic reactions such as anaphylaxis, it’s essential to call emergency services immediately for prompt medical attention.
Intolerance To Histamines In Salmon
Histamines are natural products of the decomposition of the amino acid histidine, and they are present in many foods, including salmon. Histamines can cause an allergic reaction in some people, and those with histamine intolerance may experience symptoms such as headaches, itching, hives, and gastrointestinal distress after consuming foods high in histamines.
The histamine level of salmon is slightly controversial, with some sources stating that it is high histamine while others say it is low histamine. Freshly caught or immediately frozen fish are generally lower in histamines than canned, smoked, marinated, salted or dried fish. Carp and trout are generally better low histamine choices than salmon.
For those with histamine intolerance, it’s important to be cautious when consuming salmon. If you’re unsure about your tolerance to histamines in salmon, start with a small portion and monitor your body’s reaction. It’s also important to choose high-quality salmon from a reputable source, such as Vital Choice, which offers low histamine options and adheres to ethical and sustainable practices.
Salmon And Digestive Issues
Salmon is generally considered a healthy food due to its high protein content and low saturated fat levels. However, some people may experience digestive issues after consuming salmon. This is because salmon is high in fat and protein, which can be difficult to digest for some individuals.
Oily salmon, such as Atlantic salmon, can take longer to digest and may cause gastrointestinal problems such as bloating, gas, and diarrhea. This is because the high oil content in the fish can cause irritation in the digestive tract.
Salmon can also aggravate existing heartburn and indigestion symptoms due to its high purine content. Purines are compounds that are broken down into uric acid in the body, and too much uric acid can lead to pain and swelling in the joints.
Furthermore, raw salmon can contain small parasites that can cause anisakidosis, leading to symptoms like abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Cooked salmon is generally safer to eat but can still cause stomach issues for some people.
If you experience digestive issues after eating salmon, it’s important to pay attention to your body and speak with a healthcare professional for guidance. Cutting back on your intake of salmon or choosing less oily varieties may also help alleviate any discomfort.
Tips For Enjoying Salmon Without Stomach Pain
If you love salmon but don’t want to experience stomach pain after eating it, there are a few things you can do to make it easier to digest. Here are some tips:
1. Cook it thoroughly: As mentioned earlier, raw salmon can contain parasites that cause anisakidosis. To avoid this, make sure to cook your salmon thoroughly until it reaches an internal temperature of 145°F.
2. Remove the skin: Salmon skin is often rich in histamine, which can cause gas and bloating. If you’re prone to these symptoms, consider removing the skin before cooking or serving.
3. Pair it with easy-to-digest foods: To make salmon easier to digest, pair it with foods that are easy on the stomach, such as steamed vegetables or rice.
4. Limit your portion size: Consuming too much salmon can lead to indigestion and heartburn. To avoid this, limit your portion size and enjoy it in moderation.
5. Consider taking digestive enzymes: If you have a history of digestive issues or struggle with digesting high-fat foods, consider taking digestive enzymes before eating salmon to help break down the protein and fat more efficiently.
By following these tips, you can still enjoy the health benefits of salmon without experiencing stomach discomfort.