For those who love the sight of a scrumptious sushi roll spread, yet worry about eating right and staying healthy, there's a lot of questions that need answers before you can relax and truly enjoy this special treat. Some of the most common questions we hear are:
- Is sushi good for your health?
- Is raw fish good for you?
- Just how healthy is sushi?
- Is sushi fattening?
For any sushi lovers worried about these or other health questions, we've got great news for you. Sushi is, in fact, good for your health. That said, it's important to note that not all sushi is created equal. Some will be better for you, some worse, and some you should really just stay away from. In this article we'll cover the good, the bad, and the reasons why we've ranked each how we did. We'll even let you in on a little secret to creating beautiful, healthy sushi rolls yourself for a fraction of the cost of going to a fancy restaurant.
If you've ever asked "is sushi healthy?", we know this article will help unravel the mystery and help you see the benefits of eating sushi.
What are the health benefits of eating sushi?
Japanese people are among the healthiest in the world, and scientists believe this has a lot to do with the amount of seafood they consume. That includes sushi. The average Japanese diet consists of fish, vegetables, and rice, which means their diets are naturally low in fat. The average seafood consumption of Japanese people is around one hundred grams in dishes like tempura, sashimi, and various sushi types. Lower rates of heart disease and lower blood pressure are just two of the amazing health benefits of a diet that includes sushi, and researchers are investigating the possibility that a diet full of sushi may even protect smokers from lung cancer. The inclusion of wasabi, the green paste that you often see on the side of sushi platters, is also linked with cancer prevention.
Some more sushi health facts:
- Protein: The most obvious benefit of eating sushi is the huge amount of lean protein you'll get. A single, high quality salmon or tuna roll can pack as much as twenty grams of protein. That's about the same amount of protein you can get from five hard-boiled egg whites or eighty-seven grams of turkey.
Omega-3 fatty acids: Seafood is one of the absolute best sources of omega-3, and sushi rolls are a tasty and efficient way to get it. For the biggest boost, choose salmon, trout, or tuna rolls.
- Iodine, calcium, iron, and copper: These vital nutrients are found in abundance in the seaweed used in many types of sushi rolls.
- Low calorie: Fish is a low-calorie food, which means sushi can be low calorie as well.
Rules to follow for healthier sushi
- Added sugar: If you're considering adding sushi to your menu for weight loss reasons, be mindful of the other ingredients in each roll. Sushi rice is often loaded with added sugar. Request brown rice if you'd like to lower your sugar intake and lower the overall calories in your sushi rolls
- Sodium: Many types of sushi contain high amounts of sodium, and some even have added salt beyond what's naturally found in the fish, roe, or seaweed. See our list below for lower sodium options to look for.
- Beware bad-smelling sushi: Even when dealing with raw varieties of sushi, there should never be an unpleasant smell. Strong, offensive odors indicate poor quality ingredients and possibly spoiled rolls.
- Higher fat: Tempura and other crunchy-type sushi rolls have been battered and fried, adding large amounts of fat. Opt for non-fried types and those without creamy sauces or cream cheese fillings.
Which are the best and worst sushi rolls to order?
Setting aside taste preference, we've put together a list of the best sushi rolls for healthy eating and some of the worst. These lists are compiled based on health factors only, so keep in mind your own flavor preferences.
The best and healthiest rolls:
- Most raw salmon rolls will be on the healthier side.
- Rainbow rolls.
- California rolls. Be sure these are made from real crab.
- Most raw tuna rolls fall into our list of healthier sushi options. Avoid "spicy" varieties, as the sauce is usually made of mayo.
- Raw trout, if you can find it in your area, is a healthier option.
- Salmon, tuna, or trout rolls made with brown rice instead of white sushi rice are higher in fiber and lower in refined carbs.
- If available, choose sushi rolls with no added sugar.
- Consider sashimi—sushi without rice.
The worst rolls for healthy sushi:
- Any crunchy or crispy roll. These are heavily breaded and have been fried, adding a lot of extra fat, calories, and refined carbs.
- Anything called "tempura" means it's been breaded and fried.
- Cream cheese rolls. In small quantities, cream cheese isn't bad for most people, however, cream cheese sushi rolls are loaded with this high-fat and sodium cheese.
- Spider rolls are fried crab and spicy mayo. That's a lot of fat.
- Avoid albacore tuna, mackerel, and swordfish sushi and sashimi, as these are considered moderate to high mercury fish.
Final thoughts on sushi, and our big secret
We hope you've found this article useful in helping you determine the best and healthiest sushi options to add to your diet. As promised, here's our secret to getting amazing sushi at home for a fraction of the cost. Global Seafoods sells many of the products you need for making your own sushi, including high quality salmon at incredible prices. And the best part is that it's delivered right to your door.