Can you eat yellowfin tuna raw?

In this article, we will answer the question “Can you eat yellowfin tuna raw?” and discuss what is its health benefits?

Can you eat yellowfin tuna raw?

Yes, you can eat yellowfin tuna raw. Any kind of tuna may be eaten raw, including bluefin, yellowfin, skipjack, and albacore. Some consider it to be one of the most recognizable symbols of sushi and sashimi.

Yellowfin tuna imports to the USA have tripled since 1989, 50–60% of which is designated for the raw tuna market. As sushi consumption has become increasingly popular, the USA has emerged as the second largest market for raw tuna imports behind Japan (1).

Any kind of tuna may be eaten raw, including bluefin, yellowfin, skipjack, and albacore. Some consider it to be one of the most recognizable symbols of sushi and sashimi.

Tuna’s health benefits are many.

High in protein, low in fats and carbohydrates, tuna is a popular choice for a healthy diet. Even if you’ve eaten raw tuna in sushi or tuna salad sandwiches, you may not realize the many health advantages of this fish, whether it’s in its raw, tinned, or cooked form.

Protein-rich fish like salmon and tuna are good for bodybuilders and athletes because of their high concentrations. It offers roughly 25 grams of protein, no carbohydrates, and just a little amount of good fat in one serving of 100 g raw yellowfin tuna (7).

Omega-3 fatty acids, found in tuna and salmon, have been demonstrated to offer several health advantages. Saturated fats, such as those found in red meats like beef, are unhealthy; unsaturated fats, on the other hand, are better for you. Eating foods that contain saturated fats raises the level of cholesterol in your blood. High levels of LDL cholesterol in your blood increase your risk of heart disease and stroke. The American Heart Association recommends aiming for a dietary pattern that achieves 5% to 6% of calories from saturated fat. In addition to lowering high blood pressure, fish and fish oils rich in n-3 fatty acids can modify a variety of cellular processes associated with lipid metabolism, atherosclerosis, thrombosis, and inflammation (1).

It has been shown that omega-3 fatty acids found in fish are beneficial to heart health. The Food and Drug Administration recommends consuming one to two meals of fish each week in an effort to reduce the incidence of heart attacks. This means at least 8 ounces of seafood per week based on a 2,000 calorie diet and varies in the case of children and pregnant women. This kind of omega-3 fatty acid has also been demonstrated to improve blood pressure and decrease inflammation in the body (5).

The best healthful option may be to consume fish in its natural state rather than rely on fish oil supplements. A study indicated that consuming fresh fish  was safer and healthier for the heart than using commercial fish oil supplements. The study showed that fresh fish consumption can improve lipid profiles better than omega-3 supplementation, and using oil fish is not a substitute for fresh fish consumption. Based on observations, consumption of fresh fish seems to be superior in lowering the total cholesterol, LDL, and TG levels as well as increasing HDL level. These effects may translate into a reduction in the risk of CVD (8).

Other vitamins, such as vitamin A, vitamin B-12, B 6, vitamin D, and niacin, may also be found in albacore tuna, which are necessary for growth, bone development, hydrogen transfer reactions, and normal functioning of the brain and the nervous system (6)Besides copper, zinc and magnesium, iron, calcium and potassium are also found therein (7).

Cooked versus Raw Tuna

You won’t be fishing and eating fresh tuna from a river, but there are plenty of places where you can get raw fish in a variety of preparations. Sushi and sashimi are two popular Japanese meals that use raw tuna.

Poke bowls, or Hawaiian salads, are often made with raw fish and vegetables, however, this is not always the case. Ceviche, a marinated raw fish dish made with lime or lemon juice, is another option. Carpaccio, an Italian dish that often includes raw meat, may also incorporate raw fish.

All tuna should include the same minerals, vitamins, and omega-3 fatty acids, whether it’s raw or cooked. When it comes to eating tuna, the preparation and danger of parasites and germs are the most important factors.

As a general rule, eating raw fish indicates that you’re eating fish that has been little processed, with no cooking oils and no butter or sauce. Raw fish does not include any extra salts, fats, or calories, making it a healthier option than cooked fish. Raw tuna is the fish in its purest form: pure protein and healthful fats.

Fish Raw Consumption Dangers

There are several health concerns associated with eating raw fish. It’s possible that many people may avoid eating raw fish unless it’s served in a reputable restaurant where it has been carefully monitored and cooked. It’s always best to cook seafood thoroughly to minimize the risk of foodborne illness. However, if the choice is to eat raw fish, it is advisable to eat fish that has been previously frozen, because some parasites are killed when frozen (2).

According to the FDA, parasites and bacteria that flourish in raw fish provide the greatest risk of foodborne disease. It is advisable to prepare meats and seafood at a temperature high enough to destroy the germs before eating them. The internal temperature of the fish must reach 145°F, or it should cook till the flesh is clear and separates easily with a fork (2).

Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes may be identified in raw tuna, according to a Foods research released in March 2016. Even after being refrigerated, raw yellowfin tuna still revealed evidence of Listeria monocytogenes, leading the researchers to stress the importance of properly handling raw seafood from farm to table. Seafood is one of the four food categories with the highest risk responsible for large numbers of foodborne illnesses and outbreaks in the U.S. during the past decade (4).

The Safest Way to Eat Fish

The danger of these toxins, many experts suggest, is outweighed by the advantages of eating fish if it is cooked correctly. Fish, according to the FDA, is an important element of a balanced diet (2).

Most fish and shellfish will have some amount of mercury and other toxins due to the omnipresent nature of pollution in seas and rivers, according to studies.These compounds may build up in the body if consumed in excess, although the vast majority of fish have levels low enough to be considered safe.

According to studies, yellowfin and bigeye are large predatory fish with high levels of mercury. Methylmercury is a neurotoxicant in humans and wildlife , and is a reactive molecule that can bind to cellular proteins thereby increasing its half-life in the cell. High levels of methylmercury in the human body have been associated with developmental disorders, including neurological effect (3).

For this reason, the best approach to get the health advantages of tuna and other forms of seafood is to stick to the safest varieties. Avoid capturing and eating raw fish that you caught yourself unless you’re an experienced fisherman. While it is possible to freeze fish in order to eradicate parasites, it is not recommended to consume raw fish.

To learn more about eating yellowfin tuna raw click here

Other FAQs about Tuna that you may be interested in.

Can you eat yellowfin tuna rarely?

How many times a week can you eat tuna?

What is the difference between albacore and yellowfin tuna?


In this article, we answered the question “Can you eat yellowfin tuna raw?” and we discussed what is its health benefits?


  1. Hassan, R., et al. Multistate outbreak of Salmonella Paratyphi B variant L (+) tartrate (+) and Salmonella Weltevreden infections linked to imported frozen raw tuna: USA, March–July 2015. Epidemiol Infec, 2018, 146, 1461-1467.
  2. Selecting and Serving Fresh and Frozen Seafood Safely. Food and Drug Administration.  
  3. Nicklisch, Sascha CT, et al. Mercury levels of yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares) are associated with capture location. Environ Pollut, 2017, 229, 87-93.
  4. Liu, Chengchu, Jing Mou, and Yi-Cheng Su. Behavior of Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes in raw yellowfin tuna during cold storage. Foods, 2016, 5, 16.
  5. Mori, Trevor A., et al. Dietary fish as a major component of a weight-loss diet: effect on serum lipids, glucose, and insulin metabolism in overweight hypertensive subjects. Am j clin nutr, 1999, 70, 817-825.
  6. Popović, Aleksandar R., et al. Canned sea fish marketed in Serbia: their zinc, copper, and iron levels and contribution to the dietary intake. Archiv Ind Hyg Toxicol, 2018, 69, 55-60..
  7. Abdullah, A., et al. Fish quality and nutritional assessment of yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares) during low temperature storage. IOP Confer Ser Earth Environ Sci, 2020, 40.
  8. Zibaeenezhad, Mohammad Javad, et al. Comparison of the effect of omega-3 supplements and fresh fish on lipid profile: a randomized, open-labeled trial. Nutr diab, 2017, 7, 1-8.