Sushi: a Surprising Health Food

Are you a sushi fanatic or do you have trouble getting past the thought of eating raw fish? Well, it turns out that our national indulgence in this tasty and visually enticing treat from Japan may also be good for our health.

Sushi is generally made with white rice and sweet rice vinegar, fresh vegetables, seaweed, sesame seeds, and cooked or raw seafood. Like many other Japanese foods, sushi tends to be low in fat, cholesterol, and calories.

In addition, sushi that has seafood as an ingredient is often an excellent source of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, which lower the risk of blood clots and decrease triglyceride levels.

The fresh vegetables in most sushi also have essential vitamins and minerals. The seaweed wrapping for these rolls is rich in micronutrients and phytochemicals.

A few cautions if you are an avid sushi eater but have high blood pressure or are pregnant or nursing. Sushi made with seaweed tends to be a little higher in sodium, as is the soy sauce that each piece is dipped in.

Too much sodium in the diet contributes to high blood pressure. And if you are pregnant or nursing, be sure to avoid sushi made from fish, either raw or cooked. The raw fish may carry unwanted bacteria and any sushi made from fish, whether cooked or uncooked, is likely to contain high levels of mercury.

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