Sushi, Healthy or Risky – 3 Factors to Consider

sushi platterSushi always seemed so healthy, but there are less healthy issues to think about

It’s summer, it’s too hot to eat stew or pie, so sushi seems like the perfect idea. It’s filling without being heavy and being made mainly of rice and vegetables it is very healthy. Still you have to remember that there is also the raw fish or seafood in sushi which many of us love. This is where the problems begin, since there are some health issues with the raw fish content of sushi that you might not be aware of.

Parasites
These are organisms that attach themselves to various life forms and extract nutrients out of their hosts. Fish are one of these life forms that play host to various forms of parasite including a little worm known as the Anisakis worm larvae. The bad news is if you eat one of these worms you might find yourself with various digestive problems including nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. The good news is freezing the fish for a few days does effectively get rid of most types of parasites.

On the other hand, you shouldn’t assume that every bite of sushi is loaded with horrible little parasites waiting to strike. It is merely something which you should be aware of as a possibility when it comes to consuming raw seafoood. If you are really worried, then just make sure you have a healthy serving of wasabi along with your sushi, since this can kill the parasites in your sushi.

deheading fishThis is one of the times, when the benefits of frozen food outweigh the benfits of fresh produce

Bacteria
As if worms werent enough to worry about, there is always bacteria, one type of which is salmonella. This is a bacteria which can be found in several places, one being raw seafood. If you are unlucky enough to ingest some you might find yourself with a number of symptoms including diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal cramps and fever.

Just as with parasites, freezing fish and shellfish prior to use decreases the levels of bactiera in the food. While it doesn’t get rid of bacteria completely, for your peace of mind, it is worth checking whether your sushi is being made from frozen seafood or not.

Heavy Metal
Just as there are chemicals in food that are preferable to avoid, there are certain metals such as mercury that go from the sea to our tables in the form of fish. One such metal is mercury which has harmful effects on the body when there are high levels involved. There are certain fish with high levels, such as shark, tilefish and King Mackeral. Tuna, which is commonly used in sushi has lower levels of mercury, however it is still advisable not to make it part of your daily diet, since mercury stays in the body for long periods.

These are all serious issues to consider when eating sushi, but don’t let it stop you from enjoying the occasional meal. Of course there are many other ways to enjoy fish however, if you are careful about where you eat sushi there is no reason why you shouldn’t enjoy it on from time to time.

First image via Zitona
Second image via synchroswimr

Read more on other fishy issues:
Abu Dhabi Chef Removes Threatened Fish From Menu
Protection Legislation Endangers Red Sea Sharks

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2 thoughts on “Sushi, Healthy or Risky – 3 Factors to Consider”

  1. got mercury says:

    An excellent resource to help gauge how much potential mercury is in the fish & sushi you are eating is the mercury calculator at http://www.gotmercury.org

  2. Maurice says:

    So much for raw tuna

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