Sushi first became popular in Japan as a way to preserve fish. However, today sushi has become a trend all over the world. It consists of vinegar-flavored rice rolled together with raw or cooked fish and vegetables in nori, a type of seaweed. The sushi roll is commonly served with wasabi, soy sauce, and pickled ginger. Sushi is often thought of as a healthy diet food due to its high protein content, but is it really that good for you?
Let’s breakdown the main ingredients and find out:
- Fish is a good source of protein.
- It contains omega-3 fats needed for brain and total body function. Also, helps fight heart disease and stroke.
- Consuming fish has been seen to lower the risk for developing autoimmune diseases, depression, vision loss, and dementia in old age.
- Fish is one of the only foods that naturally contains vitamin D. It also is a good source of iodine.
- Nori contains many nutrients such as: calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, iodine, thiamine, vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin E. However, sushi rolls use only a small amount of nori, so it is unlikely to contribute to much of your daily nutrient needs.
- Research has shown that nori may have the ability to fight viruses, inflammation, and cancer.
- Rice is the main component of sushi. Often white rice is used, which means the grain has been refined and stripped of almost all fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
- Refined carbs, such as white rice, promote inflammation and increases the risk of diabetes and heart disease.
- The rice in sushi is often prepared with sugar causing blood sugar and insulin levels to spike. This can contribute to overeating.
- Wasabi is made from the grated stem of the Eutrema japonicum plant. However, due to the scarcity of this plant, many restaurants use imitation wasabi, which is made from a combination of horseradish, mustard powder, and green dye.
- Real wasabi is rich in beta-catotenes, glucosinolates, and isothiocyanates. This means that it has anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer properties.
- Pickled ginger, known as gari, is used to cleanse the plate between different pieces of sushi.
- Ginger is a good source of potassium, magnesium, copper, and manganese.
- It has properties that help protect against bacteria, viruses, and cancer.
- Research shows that ginger may help improve memory, reduce nausea, alleviate pain, and lower “bad” cholesterol levels.
Overall, there are pros and cons of sushi. It has some high-nutrient components in the fish, vegetables, and nori. However, these components only make up a small portion of the sushi roll. The majority of the roll is white rice, which is often coated in high-fat sauces and fried tempera batter. This increases overall calories and still leaves people feeling hungry. If you are a sushi lover, don’t fret! This doesn’t mean you cannot eat sushi. Check out the list below to find out the best and worst sushi rolls: