Sushi : Good Or Bad For You?
People generally consider sushi to be nutritious, healthy and rich in omega-3 fatty acids. However, there are also a few concerns regarding some of the ingredients in it. Here you can find detailed look at sushi and its health effects.
It also provides simple tips on how to maximize the health benefits of eating sushi.
What Is Sushi
Sushi is a popular dish that originates from Japan.It consists of cooked, vinegar-flavored rice rolled together with raw or cooked fish and vegetables in seaweed known as nori.
It is commonly served with soy sauce, a spicy green paste called wasabi, as well as pickled ginger. Sushi first became popular in 7th-century Japan as a way to preserve fish. The cleaned fish was pressed between rice and salt and allowed to ferment for a few weeks until it was ready to eat.
Around the middle of the 17th century, people started adding vinegar to the rice as a way to reduce the fermentation time and improve taste.The fermentation process was abandoned relatively recently in the 19th century, when fresh fish started being used instead of the fermented variety.
Types Of Sushi
These are the most common types of sushi:
Hosomaki: A thin seaweed roll containing rice and just one type of filling.
Futomaki: A thicker specialty roll that usually contains a combination of rice and several types of fillings.
Uramaki: A specialty roll containing several ingredients, but with the seaweed on the inside and rice on the outside.
Temaki: A cone-shaped hand roll that holds fillings inside.
Nigiri: Mounds of rice covered by thin slices of raw fish.
Sushi is often regarded as a health food, mainly because it contains the following nutrient-rich ingredients.Fish is a good source of protein,iodine as well as several vitamins and minerals.In addition, it’s one of the few foods that naturally contain vitamin D.
What’s more, fish contains omega-3 fats needed for your brain and body to function optimally. They help fight medical conditions like heart disease and stroke.
Fish consumption is also linked to a lower risk of developing certain autoimmune diseases, depression and loss of memory and vision in old age.
What Is Wasabi
Wasabi paste is often served alongside sushi. It is very spicy, so it is only eaten in small amounts.
It is made from the grated stem of the Eutrema japonicum plant, which is part of the same family as cabbage, horseradish and mustard.
Wasabi is rich in beta-carotenes, glucosinolates and isothiocyanates. Research shows that these compounds may have anti-bacterial,anti-inflamatory and anti-cancer properties.
Nori is a type of seaweed used to roll sushi.
It contains many nutrients, including calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, sodium, iodine, thiamine as well as vitamins A, C and E.
What’s more, 44% of nori’s dry weight is protein, which is comparable to high-protein plant foods such as soybeans
However, one roll of sushi contains very little seaweed, which makes it unlikely to contribute to much of your daily nutrient needs.
Studies show that nori may also contain compounds that have the ability to fight viruses, inflammation and perhaps even cancer.
Some claim that nori also has the ability to clear heavy metals from the human body.
However, research shows that this property is more likely attributed to brown types of seaweed such as those found in wakame salad.
Sweet pickled ginger, also known as gari, is often used to cleanse the palate between different pieces of sushi. Ginger is a good source of potassium, magnesium, copper and manganese.In addition, it may have certain properties that help protect against bacteria, viruses and perhaps even cancer.
Refined Carbs And Low Fiber Content
The main component of sushi is white rice, which has been refined and stripped of almost all fiber,vitamins and minerals.
Some studies suggest that a high intake of refined carbs may promote inflammation and increase the risk of diabetes and heart disease.
Low Protein And High Fat Content
Sushi often contains high-fat sauces and toppings, but relatively little vegetables or fish. This can easily turn it into a high-calorie meal that’s less likely to make you feel full.
High In Salt
A sushi meal generally contains a large amount of salt.
First, the rice used to make it is often cooked with some salt. In addition, the smoked fish and pickled veggies used to make certain types of sushi also contain salt. Finally, it’s usually served with soy sauce, which is very high in salt. Too much salt in your diet may increase your risk of stomach cancer. It may also promote high blood pressure in people who are sensitive to sodium.
Contamination With Bacteria And Parasites
Eating sushi made with raw fish may put you at risk of infection with various bacteria and parasites. Some of the species most often found include Salmonella and various Vibrio bacteria as well as the Anisakiasis and Diphyllobothrium parasites.
If you wish to reduce your risk of contamination, aim to eat sushi at reputable restaurants. These are more likely to follow proper food safety practices. Opting for vegetarian rolls or ones made with cooked fish can also be beneficial.
There are some people that may need to avoid sushi made with raw fish. This includes pregnant women, young children, older adults and those with weakened immune systems.
Mercury And Other Toxins
Certain types of fish are more likely to be contaminated with toxins. This includes mercury and toxins that can lead to ciguatera or scombroid poisoning.
Seafood species that are low in mercury include salmon, eel, sea urchin, trout, crab and octopus.
Maximizing The Health Benefits Of Sushi
To get the most health benefits out,follow these simple guidelines:
- Increase your nutrient intake. Choose sushi rolls made with brown rice over those made with white rice.
- Favor cone-shaped hand rolls. Look for temaki on the menu. These rolls contain less rice than more traditional rolls.
- Increase the protein and fiber content of your meal. Accompany your sushi with a portion of edamame, a wakame salad, a miso soup or sashimi.
- Avoid rolls made with cream cheese, sauces or tempura. To create crunchiness without these unhealthy ingredients, ask for extra vegetables.
- Cut down on soy sauce. If you are salt-sensitive, avoid soy sauce or only lightly brush the top of your sushi with it.
- Avoid certain types of fish. Do not order rolls made with salty smoked fish or fish species at high risk of toxin contamination.
- Order sushi from reputable restaurants. They’re more likely to follow proper food safety practices.
Sushi is rich in several vitamins, minerals and health-promoting compounds.However, not all types are equally healthy or nutritious. Some of them are high in refined carbs and other ingredients that can be problematic.
That being said, if you follow the tips above, then eating sushi can definitely be healthy choice!