Tuesday, November 2, 2010

What do you think about sushi?

Okay, girls, yay or nay?
Before you answer that, look at some of this information:
  • Studies have recently found that in testing the tuna in sushi at 20 restaurants in the Manhattan area, that most exceeded legal limits of mercury. Not only did most exceed, but 5 of the 20 had mercury levels so high in their tuna, the FDA was legally able to go in a remove the tuna from the restaurants.
  • Similar studies had the same findings in Los Angeles. This article noted that Tuna in particular is a more mercury laden fish, especially sushi grade tuna, because of its age. The larger and older tuna fish are the ones ideal for sushi, however, the larger the fish, the greater the mercury concentration, leading to higher levels of mercury in tuna than those fish that are caught younger, such as wild salmon and crab.
  • Despite reports of salmon's healthy mercury content, we still must be careful. The spread of a tape worm parasite found in undercooked salmon is on the rise, especially in Japan, but there have been cases reported here as well. Clearly rare, but still a concern.

    Keeping in mind that sushi is not all raw salmon and tuna, there are TONS of health benefits to eating sushi:

  • Wasabi sauce contains isothiocyanates, which destroy the bacteria that cause tooth decay. Isothiocyanates also inhibit cancer causing carcinogens.
  • The seaweed wrap is a great source of vitamin C, potassium, and iron
  • The vegetables offer a good source of fiber and other vitamins and minerals - especially avocado which is high in the carotenoid lutein, which has been shown to reduce macular degeneration

  • The fish offers a great amount of omega-3 fatty acids and protein - crab and wild salmon have the lowest mercury levels.

  • Try to find sushi made with brown rice rather than white rice, this gives you most of the nutrients from the rice as well as much more fiber.

  • Not to mention, all of these nutrients can be consumed for a relatively low calorie count.
  • Living on a budget? Check out this simple sushi making tutorial
    (PS - in buying fish, a Tufts University Health and Nutrition Letter suggests that buying organic fish is often a waste of money because organic fish is not closely regulated and the rules for organic fish are not as concrete as those for other food groups)
Overall we can see there are many pro's and con's to eating sushi, however, this is the case with all things we eat. Just because we are concerned with the mercury levels of fish does not mean that chicken or steak are better choices. There are just as many dangerous toxins there, even eating organic meat provides many risks.

I vote, avoid tuna, cook your salmon, and enjoy the rest :)
Yay, definite yes!

So, what do you think?


  1. I think sushi is an acquired taste. I use wasabi in my cooking and I don't recall when I had white rice. I eat brown rice. :-)

  2. Nay. Just doesn't look or sound appealing to me and a little to risky. Yeah for healthy eating though!