July 21, 2024

Sushi

With its primary ingredients consisting of fresh veggies, fish full of healthy fats and energy-giving rice, sushi certainly has many components that registered dietitians preach the importance of eating regularly. Does that mean you can have it every single day? If you love sushi, the thought may have crossed your mind more than once.

The ways eating sushi every day will impact the body depends on several factors, including what one’s sushi plate consists of, what the rest of their diet looks like and their individual health. With that in mind, there are five changes many people can expect to experience if they start eating sushi regularly.

Related: Brown Rice vs. White Rice: Here’s Exactly How Their Taste, Nutritional Benefits and Prep Time Differ

Is Sushi Healthy?

Before getting into how eating sushi every day impacts the body, it’s helpful to know just how healthy (or not) sushi actually is. As with other types of cuisine, this depends on what exactly your sushi meal consists of. “The first thing that I consider when I am preparing a healthy meal is to be aware of total calorie content as well as fat content and this applies to preparing a sushi meal. Be aware of ingredients that can increase the calorie content, like sauces and certain additions to sushi rolls, especially specialty rolls, that can quickly increase the total calorie content,” says Alex Oskian, MS, RDN, a registered dietitian and nutrition coach at Working Against Gravity.

If you want to keep your sushi order as healthy as possible, Oskian recommends avoiding orders that include tempura, sauces or are deep fried. With these guidelines in place, Oskian says that sushi is very healthy because it consists primarily of nutrient-rich veggies and fish, which is a good source of protein, omega-3s and vitamin D. To ensure the fish in your sushi is fresh, registered dietitian Jenny Beth Kroplin, RDN, says to pay attention to its color: it should be bright and not dull or gray.

Related: This Is What the 8 Most Common Types of Sushi Actually Are

Like Oskian, Kroplin also says that sushi is generally healthy, explaining, “Sushi often incorporates ingredients like avocado, brown rice, vegetables and seaweed which provides great gut-healthy fiber along with a variety of nutrients like iron, calcium, iodine, vitamins A, B1, B2, C, D, E and K.”

The dietitians say it’s important to be aware of the mercury content in the type of fish you are eating if you are choosing to eat sushi every day. “Keep in mind most fish do have some levels of mercury and an abundance of mercury in our system can pose health risks. The Food and Drug Administration and Environmental Protection Agency states that it’s safe to consume 12 ounces of fish per week for adults,” Kroplin explains.

She adds that bigger fish tend to have higher levels of mercury while smaller fish have lower mercury levels, sharing, “King mackerel, marlin, bigeye tuna, swordfish and salmon typically will have lower mercury concentration levels.”

Additionally, Kroplin says it’s important to be aware of the risk factors of eating any kind of raw fish. They may contain parasites like salmonella or listeriosis which can cause vomiting, diarrhea, nausea or digestive issues.

Some people should not eat sushi made with raw fish regularly, if at all. “If you are pregnant, immune-compromised, a young child or elderly, consuming sushi with raw fish should be avoided,” Kroplin says.

Related: So You’re Craving Sushi—Here Are the Healthiest and Unhealthiest Items On the Menu

5 Ways Eating Sushi Every Day Can Impact Your Health

It bears repeating that eating sushi that contains raw fish regularly is not recommended for everyone. But if you keep the dietitians’ guidelines and advice for choosing healthy sushi rolls in mind when ordering or making your sushi meals, there are some key changes you can expect to experience.

1. You’ll have more energy

If you aren’t used to eating vegetables and high-quality protein sources regularly, Oskian says that eating sushi every day can lead to increased energy. “Fish are high in protein and offer many vitamins and minerals. Vegetables also contain several vitamins and minerals. Vitamins and minerals help the body make energy. So by consuming more whole food sources, like fish and veggies, you might experience more energy regularly,” she explains.

Kroplin says that one benefit of eating sushi is that it’s a high-protein meal, yet still feels light. This means that after eating it, you won’t feel weighed down or sluggish, which can often happen after eating some other types of high-protein meals, like a turkey sandwich.

2. Eating sushi regularly supports digestion and gut health

Both Kroplin and Oskian say that eating sushi regularly supports gut health both in the short and long term. This, they say, is due to both the veggies and the fish.

“Vegetables are helpful when it comes to digestion since vegetables can contain a mix of soluble and insoluble fiber, which is what helps with daily bowel movements,” Oskian says. As for the fish, she explains that many fish sources are a great source of healthy fats, which has been found to be helpful for the digestion process since it can improve the gut lining and microbiome as evidenced by some studies.

When enjoying sushi, Kroplin says not to skip out on the pickled ginger that often comes with it. “The fiber and fermented pickled ginger added into a sushi meal can also promote good digestion from both prebiotics and probiotic benefits the gut needs to maintain a healthy balance,” she explains.

3. You may notice your mood improving

Eating sushi regularly may put you in a better mood, and not only because it’s delicious! “Fish is a core ingredient in sushi and a great mood food. The body will be receiving more omega-3 fatty acids, protein, vitamin D, vitamin B12, selenium, zinc and iodine which can help keep the brain ‘happy’ by improving mood and energy, leading to potentially less depression, anxiety and brain fog,” Kroplin says. Scientific research backs this up, showing that people who ate fish regularly were less likely to be depressed than people who rarely ate fish.

4. Your brain health will likely improve in the long term

Eating sushi regularly doesn’t just support brain health in the short term; it has long-term brain benefits too. Scientific research shows that eating fish regularly may improve cognitive function and could play a role in dementia prevention. This is due to the omega-3 fatty acids found in many types of fish, which helps prevent chronic inflammation in the brain.

5. Your blood pressure may improve

Making a habit of eating sushi is good for your heart too. “Omega-3s are shown to be very helpful for heart health since they can help reduce blood pressure, lower triglycerides and slow the buildup of plaque in the arteries. Therefore, eating fish at least twice a week can result in a well-functioning ticker!” Oskian says.

Kroplin agrees but says to be mindful of how much sodium is in your meal— particularly soy sauce—since consuming too much sodium negatively impacts the heart and can raise blood pressure.

While sushi can be healthy to eat regularly, Kroplin emphasizes that eating a wide range of nutrient-rich foods is best for overall health. While sushi certainly is tasty, there are many other delicious nutritious foods out there to enjoy too.

Next up, here’s how to make seven different types of sushi at home.

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