Sushi Has Many Health Benefits And Risks

William Brisby - Author
By

May 8 2014, Updated 6:16 p.m. ET

Sushi has many health benefits but it can also carry some health hazards as well. Sushi has grown in popularity steadily over the last several decades. The Japanese have been eating sushi, in varying forms, for centuries. The sushi we know today was designed as a fast-food in Japan in the mid-nineteenth century. People could order a hand roll and easily take it to go.

Modern Sushi restaurants offer two main categories of sushi – nigiri and maki. According to CHealth, “Nigiri consists of a mound of vinegared rice topped with a dab of hot horseradish wasabi and a slab of fish, crab, egg, or other topping. A small, thin bamboo mat is used to roll maki, a cylinder of rice wrapped in nori seaweed with a morsel of fish or other filling in the middle.”

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Most sushi restaurants offer such wide variety of sushi they create pictorial menus to help customers make choices. With so much diversity it’s impossible to make a broad sweeping statement declaring sushi as healthy or unhealthy. It really depends on what you order and how much you eat. Understanding which ingredients and condiments are healthy or unhealthy will help you pick healthier sushi.

Healthy Sushi

Many sushi restaurants are offering brown rice as a substitute for white rice. Brown rice contains more fiber and nutrients including manganese, for energy production, and selenium, which lowers the risk of colon cancer. According to whfoods.org women who eat brown rice and other whole tend to weigh less. Post-menopausal women benefit from brown rice as well, “Eating a serving of whole grains, such as brown rice, at least 6 times each week is an especially good idea for postmenopausal women with high cholesterol, high blood pressure or other signs of cardiovascular disease.”

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The dried seaweed that most sushi rolls are wrapped in is called Nori. According to askmen.comnori, “contains a dictionary’s worth of health benefits: It’s high in many vitamins and minerals including iodine; zinc; calcium; vitamins A, E, C, and K; fiber; and protein.”

Wasabi acts as an antimicrobial agent as well as an anti-inflammatory. Wasabi also improves liver health. According to 3fatchicks.com, “Wasabi is linked with certain other foods like broccoli and cabbage, which contain a set of chemicals that help to promote liver health.”

Ginger is used to cleanse the palate after each bite of sushi. Ginger relieves sinus congestion, lowers cholesterol levels, and limits blood clots in the same way aspirin does.

Mackerel is one of the healthiest fish to eat. It is packed with omega-3 fatty acids and it’s lower on the food chain which means less mercury. Askmen.com reports, “It is also a high-protein fish; there are 25 grams of protein in a 4-ounce serving, and only 160 calories. This healthy sushi choice also contains selenium, which works along with omega-3s to neutralize free radicals.”

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