If you haven’t eaten sushi yet, there is a good chance that you will rush to a sushi parlour after reading this article. It’s considered a staple food in Japan for more than 200 years. Based on its excellent nutritional value, it’s good for the heart, brain, and the immune system.
Some of the impressive health benefits of sushi includes weight loss, hormone balance, and free radical-scavenging properties. Based on how you consume sushi, the most popular ingredients of it are rice, wasabi, and ginger. All of which have nutritive compounds and powerful antioxidants to protect against cancer, degenerative diseases, and diabetes.
That said, it’s time to learn the science-backed health benefits of this international dish.
1. Regular Intake Of Sushi Prevents Weight Gain
It is generally known that taking care of your body is much easier with the help of a stable low-calorie diet and regular exercise. Recent studies have once again proved why low-calorie foods help obese individuals to lose weight in a healthy manner.
Sushi contains very little calories that help maintain body weight. Even though there are different types of sushi, most of them contain less than 300 calories with very low fat. (1)
A study on overweight and obese people showed that low-calorie diets activate the body’s appetite inhibiting hormone. Obese individuals have very low levels of this hormone which has a direct impact on hunger and diet. (2)
The study showed that 20 obese individuals followed a healthy, low-calorie diet for 8 weeks. The results proved that there was a significant weight loss due to consistent intake of healthy foods. Interestingly, sushi is one such low-calorie food with weight management benefits.
Key Takeaway: Packed with very low calories and fats, sushi is a healthy meal for people looking forward to losing weight. It’s best for obese and overweight individuals who want to reduce body fat in a healthy manner.
2. Sushi Contains Iodine Which Prevents Hypothyroidism
Iodine is a nutritive mineral required for proper thyroid hormone production. Without sufficient levels of iodine in the body, it might lead to severe thyroid conditions such as hypothyroidism.
Along with hypothyroidism, you can also suffer from goiter, pregnancy-related problems, and hormonal imbalance. This is because iodine helps in the stimulation and development of thyroid hormone.
The thyroid hormone controls most metabolic processes in the body. Abnormal thyroid hormone levels can also cause weight gain, blood pressure problems, and autoimmune diseases. Hence sufficient intake of iodine, present in sushi, is essential. (3)
On the other hand, a research linked iodine supplementation with material thyroid function. This study showed that pregnant women who consumed low levels of iodine were at a higher risk of thyroid dysfunction. Whereas, those who consumed high levels showed reduced thyroid stimulating hormones which restricted thyroid dysfunction. (4)
Key Takeaway: There’s plenty of evidence to prove that iodine plays an important role in the production of thyroid hormone in both men and women. It even has a positive effect on pregnant women to reduce risk of thyroid dysfunction.
3. Sushi Is A Good Source Of Antioxidants To Prevent Diseases
You will find sushi is all sorts of varieties and one of them is made with wasabi. Wasabi sushi rolls are vital for preventing inflammatory-induced diseases. It can also be an excellent free radical scavenging meal for most people.
A study concluded that wasabi contains powerful allylisothiocyanate. This compound shows impressive oxidant inhibitory effects for conditions such as infections and food poisoning.
Wasabi also prohibited the production of superoxide and oxidant compounds in the body for reducing excessive inflammation and oxidative stress. (5)
Another study claimed that foods with plenty of antioxidants help reduce risk of developing heart diseases, cancer, and other proinflammatory conditions. A big contribution to sushi’s antioxidant strength lies in its omega-3 fatty acids content. It reduces inflammatory-markers in the body such as high blood pressure to treat heart diseases. (6)
Key Takeaway: Rich in antioxidants, sushi is vital for healthy antioxidant capacity in the body. It reduces inflammation and oxidative stress to lower chances of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and infections.
4. Omega-3 Fatty Acid In Sushi Suppresses The Development Of Lupus
Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease characterized by damaged skin, joints, and organ cells. Environmental or genetic factors can influence the production of unhealthy immune cells in the body.
So as a result, the body’s immune system is unable to distinguish between good and bad cells. This leads to the production of autoantibodies that attack and kill healthy cells. (7)
A recent study suggested that the presence of omega-3 fatty acid in the body can help prevent lupus and similar autoimmune diseases. Omega-3 fatty acid is also considered as DHA or docosahexaenoic acid, which plays a hand in positively impacting lupus production. (8)
DHA blocks the production of a toxic mineral called quartz which is responsible for the development of lupus. The study proved that there was a 99% improvement in lupus lesions in the lungs because of a higher omega-3 fatty acids intake.
It helps in the construction of healthy immune cells and promotes a healthier response to fight against autoantibodies.
Key Takeaway: According to multiple studies, the anti-inflammatory and powerful properties of omega-3 fatty acids can help prevent the development of lupus. It can lowers your chances of suffering from any other autoimmune disease triggered by a toxic mineral called quartz.
5. Sushi Plays An Important Role In Treating Major Depression
Major Depressive Disorder is a recurrent condition affecting many people worldwide. But recent studies suggest that a regular intake in certain types of nutrients, including omega-3 fatty acid, can aid depression.
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential compounds for the proper functioning of the central nervous system. It prevents the development of major depression by lowering effects of brain phospholipids. These enzymes negatively impact brain cells causing severe depression.
People with irregular omega-3 fatty acids intake had mild depressive disorder than non-depressed participants. (9)
Another analysis showed that an increase in DHA, that is omega-3 fatty acid, showed a 59% decrease in depressive symptoms.
To treat such a mental disorder, your body requires plenty of nutrient intake such as vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and omega-3 fatty acids. Any sort nutrient deficiency in the body can trigger depressive symptoms. (10)
Key Takeaway: A proper intake of omega-3 fatty acids is essential for preventing major depressive disorder in both men and women. Deficiencies in selenium, iron, vitamins, and other nutrients present in sushi can also cause depression.
6. Daily Consumption Of Sushi Can Promote Hormone Balance
As you already know that iodine plays an important role in the production of thyroid hormone. But what you don’t know is that it also plays a hand at preventing hormone imbalance in healthy individuals.
For proper stimulation and sensitivity of hormones in the body, you need adequate iodine content in the bloodstream. And iodine deficiency can cause inactive and abnormal hormones which could cause weight gain, excessive hair growth in women, and skin problems.
Iodine helps maintain healthy estrogen levels in the ovaries. For women, iodine supplementation is very important as it reduces rapid estrogen growth and increased estrogen sensitivity in the body. (11)
This can lower chances of developing hormone-induced cancers in the breast, ovaries, and other parts of the body.
It is also established that lack of iodine can lead to long-term inflammation in the thyroid. This could suppress proper regulation of all essential hormones in the body. It can also lead to diseases such as depression, diabetes, ADHD, and ovarian cysts.
Key Takeaway: Iodine deficiency is a serious condition that could lead to many problems. Apart from thyroid dysfunction, it can cause hormonal imbalance, cancer, and diabetes. The proper supplementation of iodine, with the help of sushi, is essential for maintaining hormone balance.
7. Sufficient Digestion Of Sushi In The Body Can Prevent Heart Diseases
Many sushi dishes contain powerful antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. But the most surprising nutritional factor about sushi is that it contains “good” cholesterol.
Studies have also mentioned the positive health benefits of consuming “good” cholesterol foods. One such study associated it with cardiovascular diseases.
“Good” cholesterol or HDL, helps eliminate fat from arteries which offers better blood circulation to other parts of the body. This prevents plaque buildup and hence reduces risk of heart disease. (12)
With over 25,000 men and women participants, this study concluded that people with better HDL levels in the body showed less chances of cholesterol-induced plaque buildup, artery inflammation, and low cholesterol efflux.
Another study shed light on HDL’s anti-inflammatory properties. It helps control inflammatory markers in the body while promoting a stronger anti-inflammatory response. Diseases such as thrombosis, heart attacks, and strokes are greatly affected by high cholesterol levels. It increases the production of toxic deposits in the bloodstream, which blocks arteries. (13)
Key Takeaway: Beyond the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory health benefits of sushi, it also lowers arteries buildup and heart diseases. The HDL compound present in sushi fights against artery inflammation in unhealthy blood vessels.
8. Sushi Is Good For Maintaining Healthy Blood Glucose Levels
Abnormal blood glucose levels has a direct impact on metabolic, digestive, and heart health. It may lead to hypertension, diabetes, obesity, and metabolic syndrome. Hence, foods high in HDL cholesterol are considered good for preventing high glucose levels in the blood.
The way HDL cholesterol, present in sushi, helps control blood glucose level is that it enhances skeletal muscle function in the body. This plays a major role in the proper metabolic function.
Another interesting fact about HDL cholesterol is its ability to strengthen muscle function associated with high blood glucose levels. It improves better fat metabolism in the mitochondria and prevents fibroblast growth.
This helps resist mitochondrial dysfunction, one of the leading causes of high blood glucose levels in unhealthy individuals. (14)
Researchers who investigated this study found that HDL cholesterol promotes healthy glucose metabolism on a cellular level. Hence, reducing risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Key Takeaway: Humans with low HDL cholesterol levels are a potential target of high blood glucose and abnormal muscle performance. Proper intake of sushi, containing HDL cholesterol, can help alleviate such inflammatory symptoms.
9. Sushi Contains Small Amounts Of Ginger Which Helps Reduce Inflammation
Common sushi dishes high in antioxidants contain ginger, wasabi, and soy sauce.
The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of ginger play a major role in reducing various types of cancers, diseases, and infections in the body. Reactive oxygen species, also know as free radicals, can cause severe oxidative stress due to low antioxidant capacity in the body.
Hence, you need to increase your antioxidant intake to lower your chances of developing chronic inflammatory diseases. Ginger contains non-volatile pungent compounds that have a potential for dealing with multiple diseases. These compounds include gingerols, paradols, and zingerones.
If you are a victim to degenerative disorders, ulcers, and microbial conditions, you can help reduce its symptoms with a regular ginger intake. (15)
Animal studies have proved that increased ginger intake can inhibit cytokines and prostaglandin enzymes in the body. These are some of the inflammatory-markers that cause chronic illnesses.
Key Takeaway: Conditions such as asthma, ulcers, infections, skin diseases, etc. can be diminished with a regular sushi diet. This is because sushi contains good amounts of ginger with anti-inflammatory properties.
10. Consumption Of Sushi May Prevent Tooth Decay
Wasabi is a Japanese sushi dish which helps prevent cavities and other forms of tooth decay in humans.
Wasabi consists of powerful chemicals compounds including isothiocyanates which reduce bacterial growth in the mouth. Bacterias such as streptococcus mutan is the leading cause of dental caries, cavity, and tooth decay.
Furthermore, wasabi consumption is directly linked to lowering preventing bacterial accumulation in the mouth to prevent bad breath.
Another health benefits that have a direct impact on preventing tooth decay are wasabi’s anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. Based on multiple test-tube studies, it is proven that wasabi, in its raw form, can improve oral health and restrict production of dangerous bacteria in the mouth. (16)
Key Takeaway: Wasabi is the common ingredient present in sushi as it’s a popular Japanese sushi dish. The powerful anti-inflammatory chemical compounds present in wasabi prevent bacterial accumulation in different parts of the mouth like the teeth, tongue, and gum.
11. Sushi Is An Effective Anti-Carcinogenic Food
Sushi contains more than just fish, which makes it a powerhouse of nutrients such as ginger, selenium, vitamins, and minerals.
One study proved that an increase in ginger consumption can positively impact gastrointestinal cancer. Gastrointestinal cancer is the cancer of the digestive system, targeting the stomach, intestines, rectum, esophagus, and the anus.
The common compounds present in ginger have powerful anti-cancer properties. In animal studies, it was proven that an increase in ginger-induced phenolic compounds in the body has both chemopreventive and chemotherapeutic effects. (17)
Moving forward, an increase in selenium-rich foods, such as sushi, target cancer cell receptors that encourage breast cancer tumor growth. Breast cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy can show a higher risk of destroying uncontrolled cancer cells with the help of selenium. (18)
Selenium also decreases risk of developing bladder cancer by reducing cellular damage caused by oxidative stress. This study was conducted on women with very low levels of selenium intake. (19)
Key Takeaway: There are few nutrients present in sushi such as selenium and ginger that can boost your immune system against cancer cells proliferation. It fights against many types of cancers including breast cancer, gastrointestinal cancer, bladder cancer, and pancreatic cancer.
12. Ascorbic Acid Present In Sushi Help Reduce Skin Infections
You must have seen skin creams and skin therapy treatments focusing on vitamin C to reduce pigmentation and fight signs of aging. Well, sushi has plenty of vitamin C for healthy, glowing skin.
Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, contains powerful antioxidants. These compounds fight on a cellular level to prevent skin cell damage. It protects the skin against UV radiation, sun exposure, and harmful toxins present in the air.
Studies suggests that a vitamin C deficiency can cause increase in skin oxygen species and damaged cells. A high vitamin C content can help promote proper keratinocytes transportation. This effectively reduces skin damage and improves epidermis health. (20)
To treat vitamin C deficiency, with the help of sushi, you can consume 10 mg of vitamin C on a daily basis. This reduces symptoms of scurvy, bleeding, skin inflammation, and other symptoms.
Key Takeaway: Daily consumption of vitamin C is essential for photoprotection and aging. It helps protect the skin against excessive sun exposure, UV radiation, wrinkles, and scurvy.
13. Sushi Might Inhibit Iron Deficiency In The Body
Did you know that sufficient levels of iron in your body can promote muscle health? It also helps in energy production and better hemoglobin transportation.
Irons plays an important role as a healthy protein for preventing muscle cell damage in the body. Our body requires proper oxygen supply to and from muscle cells to reduce weakness, fatigue, and muscle pain. Without proper hemoglobin count, muscle cell performance is weakened. And this causes muscle-related diseases.
By impacting proper energy production and DNA synthesis, iron can help alleviate muscle tension and increase hemoglobin count in the bloodstream. (21)
Any level of iron deficiency can cause increased heart rate, muscle soreness, lack of energy, and palpitations. That’s why a regular intake of sushi for its high iron content is very important.
Another study focusing on iron deficiency anemia showed that low levels of iron the body might cause hearing loss in adults. Factors such as low hemoglobin levels and iron deficiency can have a direct impact on hearing loss. (22)
Key Takeaway: Sushi contains good amounts of iron that is considered to have muscle-building and health-promoting properties. It boosts the body’s ability to transport oxygen to different parts of the body, especially muscle cells for better mobility. It also reduces iron deficiency anemia-induced hearing loss.
14. The Antibacterial Properties Of Sushi Fights Against Helicobacter Pylori
Helicobacter pylori is a harmful bacteria that causes gastric ulcers and other digestive problems. It sticks to the inner linings of the stomach or the small intestine. Studies also suggest that the presence of helicobacter pylori in the digestive system can also cause stomach cancer. (23)
The powerful antibacterial properties of wasabi, a type of Japanese sushi, can suppress the development of this bacteria. The stems, leaves, and the roots of wasabi contain a powerful compound called AIT that helps in fighting against H. pylori. (24)
It improves digestion and the health of the colon, stomach, and intestines. Furthermore, it also induces a normal metabolic and digestive response to dangerous bacterias that might get into your daily diet due to pollution.
Key Takeaway: The presence of helicobacter pylori in the digestive system can make you nauseas. It can lead to digestive ulcers, stomach cancer, and other gastrointestinal problems. Obtaining enough antibacterial compounds from sushi can protect you from such symptoms.
15. The Omega-3 Fatty Acid In Sushi May Inhibit Development Of Atherosclerosis
Atherosclerosis is a type of cardiovascular disease characterized by blocked arteries. It was observed that omega-3 fatty acids are directly linked to lowering chances developing high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels in the body.
These factors may a role in the development of atherosclerosis. It enhances the healthy oxygenation process to other parts of the body. This directly increases the body’s immune response and metabolism.
The study on clogged arteries was conducted on 3045 adults with an increase in omega-3 supplementation. It concluded that increasing omega-3 intake can prevent clogged arteries and other symptoms related to atherosclerosis. (25)
Key Takeaway: Sufficient levels omega-3 fatty acids in the body can help alleviate blocked arteries which is a major contributor of atherosclerosis. The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of this compound can protect from chronic heart diseases.
5 Easy To Roll Sushi Recipes
When preparing sushi, you’re not just cooking sushi but practising art too. The Japanese dish is considered to be an art form and pretty intimidating as well. And this is why many people believe that the job is done best by professionals. But that’s not true.
Anybody can learn how to cook something as exquisite as sushi even at home. Practice makes everyone perfect, doesn’t it? So once you decide to prepare sushi in the comforts of your home, the options for recipes are endless. Time to find out some of them!
1. California Style Sushi Roll
Ask any sushi lover and she’ll tell you how delicious these california style rolls are when served with wasabi and soy sauce.
2-1/2 tbsp of sesame seeds
1 tbsp of white sugar
1 cup of water
1 cucumber, thinly sliced
1/4 cup of rice vinegar
2 pitted and peeled avocados, sliced
1/4 cup of mayonnaise
1 cup of short-grain rice, uncooked
8 sheets of dry seaweed nori
1/2 cup of finely chopped imitation crabmeat
Wash the short-grain rice thoroughly. Then drain it and put it in a rice cooker or pan with a lid. Pour a cup of water into this and boil the rice until it starts to simmer. Once the top part of the rice dries up, which should not take more than 15 minutes, remove from heat. Let the rice stand like that for 10-15 minutes. During this time, the rice absorbs the remaining water.
Mix the sugar and rice vinegar in a bowl until all the sugar dissolves. Then pour this mixture into the rice pan and combine it thoroughly. Set this aside.
Then in another bowl, bring together mayonnaise and crabmeat. Set this aside too.
Now it’s time to roll that sushi. You need a rolling mat made of bamboo for this. Cover the mat using plastic wrap. On top of this wrap, lay out one nori sheet with the shiny part down.
Then wet your fingers and pat an even, thin layer of the cooked rice on top of the nori. Just make sure that you leave a tiny part of the sheet’s bottom edge uncovered.
Sprinkle 1/2 tsp of the sesame seeds over this before gently pressing them onto the rice. Now it’s safe to flip the sheet to keep the seaweed side facing upwards.
After that, it’s time to line up 1 tbsp of the mixture of imitation crab along with 3 avocado and 3 cucumber slices. Now you can pick up that uncovered edge of the bamboo sheet and fold it. This means you’re closing the filling to roll that sushi. Once you finish rolling, wrap the sushi inside the mat before gently squeezing it.
Finally, cut the roll into pieces using a sharp knife. But please make sure that this knife is completely wet. And there you have it, your California style sushi rolls are ready.
2. Pesto and Egg Sushi
We all love sushi rolls, don’t we? So here’s another sushi roll recipe with an exquisite pesto taste. Pair them up with pickled ginger, wasabi, and soy sauce for best results.
6 sheets of dry seaweed nori
4 cups of water
6 beaten eggs
1/4 cup of basil pesto
2 cups of uncooked rice, glutinous white
Pepper and salt to taste
Bring together water and rice in a pan and boil it. Once it starts to boil, reduce the heat and cover the pan. Let it cook for 15-20 minutes. After this time, all the water will get absorbed so this is when you turn off the heat and let the rice stand for 10-15 minutes. You can then transfer the rice into a separate bowl for it to cool properly.
Then apply some cooking spray on a skillet and set it over medium flame. Crack the eggs into this and scramble them until they’re cooked. Add seasoning and set them aside.
Lay a nori sheet on your sushi mat. Make sure that your fingers are wet for this process. Press down a layer of the cooked rice onto the sheet’s half portion. Then place pesto across this layer. Top it off with another layer of egg.
Now you can roll this nori sheet over the egg, pesto, and rice till you reach the part that’s empty. Make the end wet before rolling it up to seal the whole thing. Cut this roll into small serving size rolls, and that’s about it.
3. Spicy Tuna Sushi Rolls
The name of the recipe says it all. There’s no reason why anybody wouldn’t like to try this delicious recipe of spicy seafood-infused rolls.
1 tsp of lemon juice, fresh
1 tbsp of mayonnaise
1/2 tsp of sesame oil
1 tsp of chilli sauce, the spicy one
6 sheets of dry seaweed nori
2 cups of sushi rice
12 thick avocado slices
The first step is to mix together the first 5 ingredients in a bowl.
The second step is to begin the rolling process. Take a sheet of nori and break into two. One half of the nori should be facing you, the rough side to be specific.
Wet your fingers to grab some sushi rice and turn it into a small ball. Place this over the nori before you spread it across the sheet. Please make sure that you don’t press on the rice. Once that is complete, flip the sheet over to get the nori’s smooth side facing you this time.
Time to fill it up. Load the sheet with all the good stuff. This includes two avocado slices along with the spicy mayo-covered tuna dices.
Now you can close that bamboo mat over the filling only to tighten it from all the sides. Roll the mat till the end. Then feel free to use a wet, sharp knife to slice the roll into several pieces. This is it, time to savor the spicy tuna sushi rolls!
4. Deconstructed Sushi
This recipe saves the day for those who don’t have a rolling mat or the nori to prepare sushi rolls. It is a delightful version of rice salad with an array of savory ingredients.
For the rice:
1 tsp of fresh grated garlic
1 tsp of fresh grated ginger
1/2 tsp of salt
1 cup of jasmine rice
A single bay leaf
1-1/4 cups of chicken broth
For the sushi:
1 tbsp of sesame seeds, toasted
4 ounces of shredded imitation crabmeat
A pinch of salt
Half a yellow squash, sliced into pieces
Half a cucumber, sliced into pieces
Half a zucchini, sliced into pieces
Combine together bay leaf, 1/2 tsp of salt, garlic, ginger, rice, and chicken broth in a medium-sized pot. Boil this mixture, then reduce the heat and cover the pot. Let it simmer until the rice becomes tender, which should not take more than 20 minutes. Then turn off the heat and let the rice cool for at least half an hour.
In the meantime, bring together cucumber and salt in a small bowl. Then add the remaining ingredients; sesame seeds, squash, zucchini, and crabmeat. Once you’ve combined all these together, add them to the rice mixture. And you’ve successfully constructed your deconstructed sushi rice salad.
5. Chakin Sushi
If you want a taste of Japanese food festival, then this recipe is the way to go!
3 tbsp of rice vinegar
1 tbsp of vegetable oil
2 tbsp of white sugar
2 tbsp of sesame seeds, black
3 beaten eggs
1 cup of sushi rice
1 tsp of salt
1/4 tsp of salt
6 sprigs of long-stemmed Italian parsley
Boil some water with rice in a medium saucepan. Reduce the heat and cover the pan. Let the mixture simmer for at least 20 minutes. Once it cooks, spoon the rice into any large-sized bowl. Let it cool for a while.
In the meantime, combine together eggs with 1/4 tsp of salt. Then take a skillet and set it over medium flame. Apply vegetable oil on the bottom. Once the skillet becomes hot, bring in only a part of that egg mixture. Spread it evenly on the pan and let it cook until the egg becomes firm on both the sides. You can repeat this process for the remaining portion of the eggs to create as many as 6 layers.
Then it’s time to stir together 1 tsp of salt, sugar, and vinegar in a bowl. Place the bowl in the microwave to make it hot. Keep stirring until the sugar dissolves.
Now you can fold the sesame seeds and vinegar into the warm rice.
Time to assemble the whole dish. Place a sufficient amount of the cooked rice in the middle of every egg sheet. You can fold the sheet into the shape of a square. As a finishing touch, tie the parsley sprig around the dish to secure it properly.
Wrapping It Up
This article provides a detailed view into the nutritional value of sushi. You now know how to maximize the health-promoting effects of sushi with a simple, effective diet. Containing a mixture of ginger, vinegar-flavored rice, vegetables, and raw fish, sushi is a powerhouse of healthy nutrients. It contains protein, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals.
So instead of asking yourself, ‘Is sushi really healthy for my body?’ - you can incorporate sufficient sushi meals in your diet. The most common types of sushi are extremely nutritious to lower risk of proinflammatory diseases and infections. So getting an appetite for sushi shouldn’t be a problem.
With that out of the way, overeating sushi can have serious health complications. That’s because fish are exposed to the toxic compounds and pollution found in the sea. Also, a single sushi meal contains high amounts of salt as it’s always served with soy sauce. A great alternative to soy sauce can be incorporating miso soup with sushi.