The Real Dangers Of Eating Undercooked Chicken

Unless you are on some fad diet that promotes raw foods, including meats, there’s not much chance of anyone wanting to eat raw chicken! But, what we do love to eat is street food, whether chicken momos or seekh kababs. As mouth wateringly delicious as these roadside treats may be, there’s always a possibility of chicken being undercooked. Now a mild tummy upset may seem like a small price to pay for such gastronomic pleasure, but studies now show that consuming undercooked chicken could be a lot more dangerous than we once thought.

Undercooked Chicken Linked With Paralysis

“A study published in the Journal of Autoimmunity links a paralytic autoimmune condition called Guillain-Barre Syndrome with a bacteria found in undercooked chicken”

The fact that bacteria can be found on almost all raw foods, especially in meats, comes as no surprise, but we usually associate this type of contamination with food borne illnesses that cause indigestion or abdominal cramps, and in more severe cases diarrhea and vomiting. So, a recent finding linking bacteria in undercooked chicken with paralysis came as quite a shocker. The study was published in the Journal of Autoimmunity and reveals that a particular strain of bacteria (Campylobacter jejuni), commonly found in undercooked chicken, can cause the paralytic condition known as Guillain-Barre Syndrome.

What Is Guillain-Barre Syndrome?

“GBS is a chronic disease in which your immune system attacks your own body, causing weakening of the nerves & muscles, eventually leading to complete paralysis that can also result in death”

Guillain-Barre Syndrome or GBS is chronic disease in which your immune system begins attacking healthy body cells, in this case, it causes damage to the nerves and muscles. The condition usually surfaces with symptoms like those from food poisoning, such as vomiting and diarrhea, so these early warning signs may be easily overlooked. A few weeks later however, patients start to suffer weakening of the muscles and a tingling or needles and pins sensation in the lower extremities. This marks the onset of paralysis, which spreads to the rest of the body including the arms. The condition can even turn fatal, as it may also cause respiratory failure and other complications that require life support.

Prevention Is The Key

“Make it a point to cook chicken thoroughly, so that the internal temperature also reaches 165 degrees to ensure that all bacteria are destroyed”

The precise causes and treatments for autoimmune conditions like GBS are hard to identify, with some strains of this particular bacteria showing resistance to antibiotics. In fact, patients start to deteriorate even faster with antibiotic treatment. This makes preventive care even more vital and it’s also so simple. Simply make it a point to cook chicken thoroughly, heating it to at least 165 degrees Fahreneit. Of course, if you are cooking a whole chicken, you also need to make sure that the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees to ensure that all bacteria are destroyed.

Chicken is one of the best protein dense foods, also packed with nutrients like iron, vitamin B-12, niacin, phosphorus and vitamin B-6. So, instead of giving in to panic and avoiding chicken altogether, we’d advise you to exercise caution and common sense when cooking chicken at home, or eating out.

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