Is Sushi Healthy For You Or Not? Let’s Find Out

Sushi is a Japanese-originated food that is loved all around the world. It is made of rice, fish, vegetables, & sauces and served with salads and tasty soups. But there are now talks on the health status of this Japanese delicacy. Some have called sushi a great source of nutrition, while some show their concerns about it.

So, Is sushi healthy to eat or not? 

Yes, sushi is an entirely healthy meal but only when certain things are done. It helps in reducing cardiovascular diseases, inflammation. In addition, it’s a source of good carbs and fibers so it aids in weight loss too.

So, make sure you read everything carefully if you want to continue eating sushi and maintain good health. 

Famous Sushi Types

These are the most popular varieties of sushi.

Sashimi: It is a sushi-grade fish slice that is served without white or brown rice. Hence, sashimi is a good diet for losing fat. Crabmeat, tiger shrimp, and squid can also be served as sashimi. 

Nigiri: Sashimi served with rectangular-shaped rice is called Nigiri. 

Temaki: Have you seen cone-shaped sushi? It is Temaki, and sometimes seaweed is also put outside it as a cover. 

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Uramaki: It is a roll in which seaweed is filled with salmon or avocado and wrapped in rice. 

Maki: It is a sushi roll that is made of rice and filled with salmon or avocado. It is then wrapped in seaweed before serving (opposite to Uramaki). 

Beneficial Ingredients in the Sushi

Want to know why sushi is healthy for you? Sushi is a healthy meal as it contains the following ingredients:

Fish

Fish is rich in proteins, omega-3 content, vitamins, calcium, phosphorus, iodine, iron, zinc, and many other minerals. It is one of the most beneficial meats you can get. That is why the American Heart Association recommends every person eat fish twice a week to obtain beneficial nutrients and reduce heart complications. 

Seaweed

Seaweed contains many important nutrients which are iodine, calcium, magnesium, zinc, and vitamins. Generally, Nori seaweed is used in sushi which is 44% protein, so it is highly nutritious.  

Wasabi

The paste you see with sushi rolls is Wasabi. It is rich in glucosinolates, isothiocyanates, and beta carotene, which have anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. 

wasabi

Ginger

People search, Is the ginger in sushi healthy, to get a concise answer. Well, we are helping you there as well because the answer is a Big Yes. Ginger is an excellent source to get different minerals like potassium, manganese, magnesium, and copper. These minerals improve brain functioning and memory. 

Nutritional value of Sushi

Are you wondering how nutritious is sushi? Don’t worry; we are describing that too. As many types of sushi rolls are available, the nutrition content also differs. 

So, How Healthy Is Sushi? It all depends on the type you order. 

Generally, eating one maki sushi roll provides 20-28 calories, and Salmon Nigri provides 37 calories. Similarly, eating Salmon Sashimi will give you 36 calories, while one shrimp tempura provides 17 calories. 

One of most often questions people ask us is, Is California roll sushi healthy? Yes, they are healthy as they are rich in protein. California sushi rolls are among the most famous sushi rolls in the USA. Half a dozen (One serving) California sushi rolls have the following nutrients: 

NutritionQuantity
Calories170-225 calories
Protein9g
Fat7g
Carbohydrates38g

Benefits of Sushi

You can enjoy the following benefits if you eat sushi meals: 

Prevention From Cardiovascular diseases

Different vitamins (B12, E, C, and K) fibers, and Omega-3 fat content is present in sushi which is super beneficial in stabilizing blood pressure, preventing fat to store in arteries, and improving overall heart health. Similarly, those sushi rolls that have avocado in them also have a positive effect on the heart. Avocados contain monounsaturated fats that reduce bad cholesterol levels in the blood. 

Good Source of Fiber And Healthy Carbohydrates

Sushi is a great source of obtaining fiber and healthy carbohydrates. Ordering sushi with brown rice will provide you with beneficial carbohydrates which improve brain functioning and make muscles stronger. 

Moreover, avocado and seaweed in sushi meals are good sources of fiber. Fiber lowers cholesterol, stabilizes sugar levels, aids in digestion, and relieves constipation.

Reduces Inflammation

The vitamins in the sushi meal have antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. This reduces inflammation and oxidative stress. 

Weight loss

People ask us, “Is sushi healthy for weight loss?” and the answer is Yes.

Here’s how you can do it:

  • Eat sushi with brown rice and don’t’ even go near the white rice. 
  • Request the chef to add more vegetables to your sushi and less rice. 
  • Avoid cheese, mayonnaise, and soy sauce in sushi meals. 
  • Eat the sushi with salads. 
  • Lead a healthy lifestyle by exercising daily. 

Why do Some People say Sushi is Bad?

People raise the following concerns about the sushi diet: 

Salt Content

People search, “Is sushi high in salt” and the answer is yes, it is. 

Sushi rolls are high in sodium content because  

  • The rice used in sushi rolls is cooked with salt. 
  • The fish and pickled vegetables added in the rolls have salt as well. 
  • Also, soy sauce is another ingredient chefs add to increase the flavor. Soy sauce also has high salt content. 
  • Chefs often use vinegar and salt in sushi rolls and rice to make them sticky and stay in shape. 

The high salt content can lead to high blood pressure, kidney diseases, and even stomach cancer if you consume foods rich in salt for a longer period.

Unhealthy Saturated Fat

Some cooks add mayonnaise in sushi to make it different from others. However, mayonnaise content can increase the saturated fat in the body. Similarly, deep frying the sushi meal (shrimp tempura) can also increase the unhealthy fat content. Philadelphia sushi rolls have cheese in them, which is also high in saturated fats. 

Mercury Levels

Mercury levels are another source of concern for sushi lovers. Why? Because Mercury is extremely toxic to health, that can lead to neurological and behavioral disorders. 

The fish with high levels of this toxic element are tuna, shark, swordfish, and others. The biggest reason is the water pollution that is endangering the life of sea species and humans. 

Those fish with low mercury levels are salmon, eel, and trout. So, prefer those fish that won’t lead you to mercury poisoning. 

Bacteria and Parasites

If you like eating raw fish sushi, there is something you should know. There are some bacteria (Salmonella, vibrio) and Anisakis parasites present in raw fish that can lead to infections. 

But there are solutions to these concerns. 

healthy-sushi

What to Do to Make Sushi a Healthy Meal?

Dos and don'ts with sushi infographic

The concerns described above are indeed valid; however, they can be easily dealt with by doing the following things: 

Choose The Right Roll

You should prefer temaki sushi as it has a cone shape, so less rice gets in it. Also, don’t eat those rolls that are made of cheese, sauce, or anything that contains unhealthy fat or salt content. You should also avoid soy sauce in your sushi rolls if you are salt sensitive. 

Optimize Nutrient Uptake

You can do several things to increase your nutrition intake. To cope with nutrition deficiency, you can eat sushi with salads, edamame, and soups. You can also request your waiter to tell the chef to cook your sushi with less rice and more vegetables. 

Plus, choose rice vinegar which does not cause blood sugar levels to rise. Also, prefer brown rice instead of white rice as it is much healthier. People ask us, is sushi healthy for diabetics, and the answer is yes only when there is brown rice and more vegetables.  

Go to Credible Restaurants

It is crucial that restaurants follow food safety protocols to ensure that the food you eat is 100% healthy and safe. If restaurants do proper fish handling and processing, you don’t have to worry about bacteria and parasites. Moreover, reputable restaurants only choose those fish that do not have mercury content. 

FAQs

Is Veg Sushi Healthy? 

There are also vegan sushi rolls restaurants have on their menu. Vegans often search, “is veg sushi healthy” and the answer is again yes. A vegan sushi roll does not have any seafood and eggs. It includes tofu, avocados, cucumber, and some combination of sauces to give a creative touch and stand out from other restaurants offering veggie sushi rolls. However, be careful as these sauces may be high in sodium, leading to high blood pressure. 

Is Sushi Healthy During Pregnancy?

It is better to avoid sushi during the pregnancy and breastfeeding phase. If Pregnant and breastfeeding women eat sushi that has mercury levels, it will negatively impact the baby’s health. 

Is Sushi Bad For Health? 

No, sushi is not bad for health if you choose the right ingredients. However, some people should not eat sushi. Children under 16, people with weak immunity, and those trying to conceive should avoid eating raw fish sushi altogether. The reason is the mercury level which may harm such people’s health.  

Final Words

All inclusive, sushi is one of the most famous traditional Japanese foods worldwide. If you ask any westerner to tell a Japanese food name quickly, most of them will say sushi. But people are showing some concerns about this delicious food, which are also valid. So, is sushi healthy or unhealthy? Yes, Sushi is absolutely healthy to eat, but only if you eat it sensibly. Choose the right ingredients in sushi and enjoy eating it without any fear of health complications.

Dr Hafeez Arshad

Dr Hafeez Arshad

This is Dr. Hafeez. I have done my M.Phil in Pharmacology. I am a healthcare professional. My core competencies focus on writing different types of research articles/blogs regarding health sciences.

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