Sushi has become pretty mainstream by now — you can even find it at most local supermarkets. When it’s filled with omega-3 rich seafood like tuna and salmon or heart healthy avocado it’s a very healthy addition to your diet. But the health benefits of sushi can quickly decline once condiments like mayo and cream cheese enter the picture or tempura batter. A shrimp tempura roll with spicy mayo can be 500 calories and could contain more than 20 grams of fat. Another thing to be mindful of is sodium-rich soy sauce — one tablespoon has 40% of your daily recommended sodium intake. And if there are brown rice alternatives, it’s always healthier to choose brown rice over white.
Dr Kiel quickly reviews The Health Benefits of Sushi and How to Choose Healthy Sushi
I want to briefly talk about Sushi and it’s health benefits. Sushi has taken off in recent years as a favorite cuisine and has a lot of reported health benefits. I wanted to take a few minutes to talk about the contents of sushi and whether or not it really is good for you.
Generally consists of Cooked, vinegared rice (white or brown), Seafood (typically raw fish or shellfish), Vegetables, Sides: ginger, wasabi, soy sauce.
Potential benefits Low calories (generally speaking), Low fat, moderate carbohydrates and high protein, Vegetables: Vitamins and minerals, Fish: high in protein and omega 3 fatty acids (healthy heart and brain), Wasabi: antioxidants, and Ginger: potential immune booster.
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Sushi can be very healthy but there are 6 Things that can sabotage your sushi that you need to watch out for….let’s dive right in
Tempura rolls = tempura is made from flour battering then frying in oil (Vegetable oil or canola oil are most commonly used and over 90 percent of canola oil is genetically modified and consist of partially hydrogenated oil (the worst type of fat, this is the oil that causes heart disease)
Cream cheese in rolls = high in fat that can clog your arteries and loaded with calories
High fat sauces (think spicy mayo or any cream based specialty sauces)
Farmed fish and fish high in toxic metals such as mercury (Seafood species that are high in mercury include king mackerel, marlin, orange roughy, shark, swordfish, tilefish, ahi tuna, and bigeye tuna)
Sushi white rice = it’s made with sugar (high glycemic)
Using Soy Sauce. Sushi is high in salt to begin with but adding soy sauce make it even higher in salt.
How to avoid the sushi pitfalls:
Don’t order tempura rolls
Swap out cream cheese with avocado
Be sure you’re eating at a quality sushi restaurant. Go somewhere that you know they have a high turnover so you know it’s fresh. If you really want to take it to the next level ask if the fish is farmed or wild caught. Eat fish known to be low in toxins (Seafood species that are low in mercury include salmon, eel, sea urchin, trout, crab and octopus)
Substitute brown rice for white rice to get more fiber and slow the sugar spike or ask for rolls to be rolled without rice all or request that your rolls contain a little less rice and more vegetables to further increase the nutrient content and make them feel more filling.
Use low sodium soy sauce or better yet don’t use soy sauce at all. Use the ginger instead to add some extra flavor and nutrients.
For a great guide to making healthy sushi at home visit http://minimalistbaker.com/veggie-brown-rice-sushi/