Friday, May 18, 2012

Sushi and Clean Eating


     A food "group" growing in popularity among Clean Eaters is sushi, the Japanese tradition of rolling raw seafood in sticky rice and sliced into rolls. Most sushi is only prepared with the highest quality of seafood for the freshest taste - but you need to know that in some cases, you're getting a little bit more than you might expect - especially calorie wise. If you've got a well reviewed sushi restaurant in your area and you've never tried sushi - I would highly recommend corralling a sushi loving friend and have them accompany you to the restaurant.  

     Sushi is a combination of cooked, flavored rice and raw vegetables, fish, seafood and sea vegetables. In contrast, sashimi refers to sliced, raw fish that is often dipped in soy sauce. Sushi is sometimes wrapped in nori, a kelp and seaweed-based wrapper that enfolds the rice and filling and is rolled tightly. These rolls are sliced and served sliced-side up. Most often, the larger rolls are cut into eight slices. The popular California roll, made with cucumber, avocado and surimi, or imitation crabmeat, provides 255 calories per roll. The unagi, or eel, and avocado roll contains 372 calories.

 California roll and the unagi and avocado roll provides 5.8 g fiber. In contrast, the kappa maki, or cucumber, roll provides only 3.5 g fiber. Some sushi versions use brown rice or other types of rice, and the fiber value is higher for those types. Vegetable-based sushi rolls are also higher in fiber because they often contain carrots, cucumbers, avocados and sea vegetables.The fat content of the sushi rolls varies by the type of fish and the type of spread that could be mixed into the filling. The spicy tuna roll sometimes contains mayonnaise, and the fat can increase. Salmon and tuna are naturally fatty fish, so sushi that contains these fish will be higher in fat. Rice, the base of sushi, is high in carbohydrates. However, not much rice is used to make most sushi rolls. If possible, choose brown rice when ordering sushi, because you will gain the added nutritional benefits of fiber and some vitamins. Sushi can be a fun meal, but the calories can add up if you aren't careful. If you are concerned about controlling your calorie and fat intake, choose vegetable-based sushi and select fish that are naturally lean, such as white fish. Avoid fish mixtures, like the spicy tuna roll, which could contain mayonnaise, because they add fat and calories.

 Some fish and seafood, such as salmon, mackerel, herring, tuna and crab, are low in unhealthy saturated fats, but high in omega-3 fatty acids. These fats are associated with improving your blood cholesterol levels and lowering your blood pressure. Mackerel and sardines also contain a lot of vitamin E. Nori, a seaweed rich in magnesium, calcium, folic acid, iron, iodine and various antioxidant compounds, is commonly used to wrap maki sushi.

If you live in a large suburban or urban area and have access to high end, "authentic" Japanese sushi bars, I'd highly recommend this web page on sushi restaurants and what to expect - excellent information: Hoiw to Eat Sushi - Eugene Ciurana

Sushi FAQ: Calories ( Per Entire Roll, Not Per Slice! ) for Most Sushi