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Is Sushi Healthy? How to Eat It Without Risks

Updated on March 22, 2018
Alessio Ganci profile image

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Sushi is maybe one of the most creative dishes of the world. Combinations, colors... it is not just raw fish with rice!
Sushi is maybe one of the most creative dishes of the world. Combinations, colors... it is not just raw fish with rice!

Sushi is one of the most famous dishes in the world, just like pizza (American or Italian edition), hamburger, doner kebab and various other recipes from countries of everywhere. Sushi is basically made of various types of rice rolls with raw fish, but this description is really trivializing, as many other ingredients are present in this delicious dish. In addition, various types of rice rolls compose sushi (uramaki and futomaki are two examples).

In the past you was able to find sushi only in little places (limited to big cities), while today you can find sushi almost everywhere (obviously big cities remain the best place where you can eat it), even in the supermarkets (even if purists will surely not be able to enjoy a sushi box bought at a supermarket). A very popular place in which you can eat sushi is the all you can eat sushi restaurant, in which you pay for a fixed price and then you can eat as many sushi as you want, with no limits (by paying attention not to leave any food on the table).

One Of The Most Loved & Criticized Dishes

Is sushi healthy? Despite many beliefs, sushi is not an unhealthy dish: it is really healthy, as it has very balanced nutrients and many ingredients who are great for our body. The fact Japanese people are among the most longeve ones in the world is maybe the demonstration. Also pizza is not an unhealthy dish, even if we should talk about Italian one, rather than American fast food version of it. Surely pizza and sushi should not be eaten every day, but they are not enemies of our diet!

Is sushi healthy for you? Is raw fish dangerous to eat?

Sushi is maybe one of the most loved and criticized dishes you can find in the world. It is loved because its great taste has been able to conquer many people of all around the world (even those who are not used to eat Asian food). It is hated because there are still many people who don't like sushi.

There is also another reason why many people hate sushi: raw fish is dangerous. Is this statement true? Is that an enough reason to limit sushi in your diet? Let's clarify this popular question, by starting with a short answer: yes, raw fish is dangerous, as it may be vehicle for Anisakis. The good thing is that symptoms, in this case, are easily recognizable and fixable, even if this should not be a reason to eat sushi no-stop without caring about your health: as always, prevention is better than cure.

Is there a way to eat sushi without risks? Raw fish is never 100% without risks, anyway there are good advices you can follow in order to reduce them and enjoy sushi without particular fears.

Pay the right price for sushi

Is sushi healthy? Yes, if you eat a high quality sushi. How to find high quality sushi restaurants? The first good advice is to understand the fact sushi is an expensive dish: raw fish needs very high quality of treatments, so you cannot expect to eat sushi safely if you want to spend few bucks. It is better to eat sushi sometimes, by paying the right price, rather than eating it often by paying only few bucks.

Pay attention to all you can eat formulas: if they are too much cheap, this may be a signal the restaurant is saving money on quality. You should also check fish in your dish: at a rapid glance you can see if it is good or not for you: color and taste are a good signal of the quality of the product. Start your order at the all you can eat restaurant with a sashimi, so you can easily check quality of the fish.

Color, consistence and taste of raw fish are very important parameters to consider in order to understand its quality
Color, consistence and taste of raw fish are very important parameters to consider in order to understand its quality

Vegetarian or Cooked Fish Based Sushi

You enjoy the great taste of sushi but fish is not the main ingredient you enjoy. Rice and the other ingredients are the most enjoyable thing you find in this popular Japanese dish. If you are in this situation, you can eat vegetarian sushi: fish is not present there, while other ingredients may be added. You can find it in some restaurants and supermarkets.

Vegetarian sushi is a great variant of the traditional recipe based on raw fish
Vegetarian sushi is a great variant of the traditional recipe based on raw fish

By eating vegetarian sushi there are no risks: obviously this is a good solution for vegetarians and for all people who do not consider fish as the most important ingredient of this dish. Also sushi with cooked fish may be another solution, even if, also in this case, it is a suitable solution only for those who do not care about eating or not the original recipe.

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Eat Supermarket Sushi

This is not exactly a zero-risk solution, and surely it is also not suitable for purists (who will surely not find supermarket sushi tasteful just like the restaurant one), but supermarket sushi has a great advantage: it is generally more secure. Supermarket chains are often subject to much more severe security checks than those reserved to all you can eat restaurants, so fish quality here is mainly assured. This should not be an invite to eat sushi only at home without enjoying it with friends at the restaurant: caution should not be excessive. The important thing is that you do not exaggerate when you eat sushi, while also understanding you should pay the right price in order to eat it.

Is sushi healthy? Yes, but what about the sauces?

Sushi is healthy but many people get fat by eating it, and not only because they it too much. In fact just like Italian pizza has been adapted to fast food concepts (so that outside Italy big pizza chains sell American fast food pizza which is completely different from original Italian one), the same is for sushi. I don't think makis with mayonnaise are actually an original Asian recipe! Despite this, many people eat them, or tend to exaggerate also with the typical Asian sauces, like soy sauce. Sushi is healthy as long as you do not exaggerate with sauces, especially mayonnaise.

Plain sushi without sauces is surely a healthy choice
Plain sushi without sauces is surely a healthy choice
while sushi with mayonnaise or other sauces tends not to be a healthy choice.
while sushi with mayonnaise or other sauces tends not to be a healthy choice.

© 2017 Alessio Ganci

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