Being packed with fresh fish, crunchy vegetables and fiber-filled rice, sushi proves to be a nutrient-packed, healthy meal. One wrong step though may add an abundance of fat, calories or sodium. So get informed about the ins and outs of what makes a healthy sushi roll, to ensure that your Japanese meal stays on the right track.
Consider the Calories
Certain traditional sushi rolls made with raw fish, vegetables, rice and nori (which is a type of seaweed) are low in calories. For instance, a salmon cucumber roll has just 231 calories and 4 grams of fat, while a mackerel roll has about the same calorie count with only 2 grams of fat. A shrimp roll provides 199 calories and 0 grams of fat.
Also, a piece of sashimi that nixes the rice, is only 35 calories, when you prepare it with tuna. Avoid tempura, or fried sushi, as well as spicy sauces made with mayonnaise, as they both increase the calories.
The outer wrap of sushi rolls, nori is a staple in Japanese cuisine, and for good reason. Although it is very low in calories, is abundant in nutrients such as vitamins A, B-6 and C, as well as in minerals like iodine. Also, some food scientists argue that the proteins found in seaweed could reduce blood pressure and improve heart health.
Benefits of Fish and Seaweed
Most of the nutritional impact of sushi comes from the fish or seafood in the roll. Salmon and tuna are both healthy options because they are high in protein, omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D. Mackerel is rich in omega-3s as well, and so is selenium which is a mineral that may help protect against cancer. Sushi doesn’t necessarily have to contain fish - it can be made with any type of seafood.
Vegetables and Spices
In order to boost your intake of nutrients, look for sushi rolls that contain vegetables as well as seafood. Some rolls also include avocado that is a great source of healthy fat. And don’t forget the condiments that come with sushi - spicy wasabi contains antioxidants and pickled ginger is an antimicrobial and antiviral agent.
How often do you eat sushi? Share with us in the comments below.