When it comes to Japanese cuisine, sushi is the primary dish that you should try. Is sushi good for you just because it contains fish? Yes, fish is a healthy ingredient, but it is raw. Moreover, there is a lot of soy sauce involved, which means high sodium content. But these are not the only ingredients in sushi. It has seaweed, vegetables, pickled ginger, wasabi, and more. You can also find cooked fish sushi. So, is it good to have sushi as a part of your diet?
What does sushi contain?
The primary ingredient is fish. The fish is a rich source of several vitamins, minerals, protein, iodine, and healthy fatty acids. Wasabi is a strong spicy flavoring agent. It contains isothiocyanates, beta carotene, glucosinolates, and others. These components are rich in anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial properties.
Nori is the seaweed that holds the fish and rice together. It is rich in vitamins, iodine, iron, phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, and sodium. 44% of Nori is protein, and thus, it is a good source than soybeans.
How much fiber and carbs does sushi give you?
The second primary ingredient of the dish is rice. Usually, it is a refined variety that has little to no fiber, mineral, or anything other than starch. Very high intake of starch (refined carbs) can lead to inflammation, diabetes, heart diseases, and more. Moreover, to balance the palate, sweetened rice is used. This sweetened rice will break down the carbs much faster, thereby inducing a spike in insulin. It leads to weight gain, diabetes, and more.
Isn’t sushi good for you because of the protein content? Yes, the seaweed has a very high amount of protein. But, only a small strip of the seaweed comes into making a roll, along with a spoonful of sweetened rice. The best alternative is choosing the varieties that come with less rice and more vegetables.
Is sushi good for you for weight loss?
If you are considering losing weight, is sushi good for you? It is indeed a weight loss-friendly diet as it has a high healthy fat content and adequate protein. However, the fried tempura batter, high-fat sauces, and sweetened additions would not help. You should prefer sushi with more amounts of vegetables, cooked fish, and with no sauce. Such sushi is seldom tasty, and we always switch to the better variants. In the end, you are consuming high-fat, low protein, and low fiber food, which will lead to obesity.
The salt content in sushi
There is way too much salt in the preparation. The rice and vegetables are usually cooked with an ample amount of salt. Moreover, pickled vegetables and smoked fish varieties have even higher salt content. These dishes come with soy sauce, which again has high sodium content.
Such a very high sodium content diet can cause stomach cancer, spiked blood pressure, and other problems. Miso soup has higher salt content too. The best alternative is to choose sushi that does not have smoked fish like salmon or mackerel. Also, avoid sauces.
Is the raw fish in sushi good for you?
The raw fish does more harm to you than good. The raw fish contains several bacteria and parasites that can cause a long list of disorders. Is sushi good for you if it comes with the sushi-grade fish label? The sushi-grade fish label is not a guarantee from FDA. The only regulation on sushi is to freeze the fish to kill the parasites before serving.
Freezing does not necessarily kill all parasites. Moreover, there are no regulations in food processing or handling. Thus, the risk of contamination is quite high. If you are someone prone to food poisoning, sushi is one of the top foods to avoid. Those with a weakened immune system like cancer patients, old individuals, pregnant women, and young children should avoid raw fish sushi.
Fish and mercury poisoning
Most of the fishes contain high mercury content. Especially species like marlin, mackerel, shark, tuna, and swordfish are very high in mercury content. On the other hand, salmon, octopus, trout, urchin, eel, and crab have low mercury content.
Is it good for you at all?
You cannot dismiss that sushi is bad food. It is a healthy wholesome food if you eat it right.
- Always choose rolls made with brown rice instead of the sticky white ones. The cone-shaped rolls (temaki) contain less rice volume than the others. If you do not like brown rice, you can try soba noodles. These noodles are buckwheat variants with high protein content.
- Add sashimi, wakame salad, and edamame to your meal to increase protein content. Make sure whether you are eating real wasabi or a horseradish mix with green food coloring.
- Avoid fish rolls with tempura, sauces, or cream cheese. You can ask for crunchy vegetables to improve the flavor. Also, avoid soy sauce or use it sparingly.
- Prefer restaurants that have high safety regulations. You can at least be sure about sanitary food handling techniques.
- Portion control is imperative here. One roll contains 500 calories maximum. It gets cut into six or nine pieces. However, a spicy shrimp roll with all condiments will have 550 calories. The size might be small, but it is densely packed with calories. Unfortunately, most of this calorie count comes from rice.
- You can switch rice rolls with cucumber rolls. You can consume sushi as a part of a complete meal, instead of eating only sushi as a meal.
- It is a funny recommendation to use chopsticks instead of forks. Forks make you eat faster. However, with chopsticks, you will be pacing yourself and will not jump into an eating spree.
Next time when you sit down for sushi, remember to custom-pick your fish, rolls, and condiments. After all, you need not forego the dish completely. It is all about moderation and healthy variants. Also, choose traditional green tea for your sushi beverage rather than any sugary sodas.