Is Sushi Healthy? Here’s How to Order a Nutritious Sushi Meal

What started as a method to preserve fish in Japan has turned sushi into a delicacy beloved by people all over the world. At its core, sushi is simply seaweed, rice, and raw fish. But as anyone who’s visited a sushi restaurant knows, it’s not so simple anymore, with dozens of sauces, toppings, and mixtures that may make sushi not-so-healthy. Let’s talk about the health benefits of sushi and how to make your order a bit more nutritious.

Sushi Nutrition
Sushi can vary widely in nutrition facts, as the ingredients can also differ vastly. Most sushi tends to have one thing in common: fish or seafood. Common types of sushi fish, like salmon and tuna, are high in omega-3 healthy fats, protein, B-vitamins, iron, zinc, iodine, magnesium, and potassium. Other sushi rolls may be vegan or vegetarian, filling the middle with cucumber, avocado, or other vegetables. Most sushi will contain seaweed, which is also highly nutritious. The seaweed typically wrapping a sushi roll, known as nori, has ten times as many vitamins as spinach.

Is Sushi Healthy?
Although fish, vegetables, and seaweed contain many valuable vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, sushi is not always healthy. Having too much white rice, too many creamy sauces or tempura-fried toppings, or too much sodium-rich soy sauce can dampen the benefits of sushi. White rice is a crucial aspect of most sushi rolls. However, as white rice is a refined carbohydrate, it does not contain as many nutrients or fiber as brown rice, which can spike blood sugar. Tempura-fried additions can also contribute to excess carbohydrates and fat.

How to Order a Nutritious Sushi Meal
Skipping out on the tempura-fried sushi rolls is a leading way to make your sushi order healthier. Look for raw, fresh fish options that do not say “fried” or “battered” in the description. Instead of an extra-creamy sauce drizzled on top, try to gain some creaminess from rolls with avocados. Any sushi roll with vegetables, like cucumber, carrots, or sprouts will add more fiber to your meal. To round out the meal and benefit your blood sugar, add a salad or steamed edamame to the start of your meal. Lastly, opt for lower-sodium soy sauce to lessen the salt load.

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