Sushi has so many things going for it already. It is delicious, one of the most easily accessible and fastest ways to connect with Japanese culture, and due to raw fish being extensively used in its preparation, it is a great boon for those who are unable to cook without burning things.
What is even better, nearly every ingredient that is used in it, or has been traditionally eaten along with sushi is full of health benefits, all the way down to the green tea that usually finishes off a meal. So let’s take a closer look at seven important reasons why you should eat sushi on a regular basis.
Let’s begin with the most obvious thing, which is fish’s nutritional value. Although technically “sushi” doesn’t refer to raw fish (that is what sashimi means), no one in Japan who goes out and eats sushi spends the entire time eating only cucumber and egg rolls. When it comes to sushi meals, fish is almost always present, which results in lots of omega-3 fatty acids, which nutritionists praise for their cardiovascular and neurological health benefits, including the prevent of the hardening of the arteries and high blood pressure along with lowering cholesterol levels. Salmon, mackerel and sardines are all especially high in omega-3’s and also are staples of sushi restaurants all over the world.
As we said previously, the word sushi doesn’t refer to raw fish – this term actually refers to a mixture of vinegar and rice. In a kind of perpetual grain loop, that vinegar is derived from rice also. There are strong antibacterial effects associated with rice vinegar and it is also thought to lower blood pressure. It is used in many other kinds of Japanese dishes also.
Although Westerners frequently ignore it, having a helping of pickled ginger or gari, is an integral part of eating an authentic sushi meal. Usually conveyor-belt style sushi restaurants will have canisters of it sitting out on the counter that customers can help themselves to.
The culinary purpose of gari is acting as a palate cleanser for use between eating different kinds of sushi (rather than for dipping into the soy sauce!). However, the nutrients contained in gari are effective as well in fighting cold viruses off.
It is customary practice to dip every piece of sushi in a saucer of soy sauce prior to placing it into your mouth. Once again there are very good reasons for both your body and mouth to be very happy. From a nutritional standpoint, soy sauce is quite high in terms of both protein and iron. It helps with digestion also, and is very effective in killing bacillus, which causes infections in the colon.
Although it isn’t found in every single piece of sushi, dried seaweed or nori, is used for holding the ingredients together in a sushi roll. It also give shape to those squat pieces that are called gunkan sushi.
Nori helps to boost the metabolism. In addition it is rich in iodine, minerals and vitamins. Although the element of iodine might give off images of issues that can come from consuming too much of it, there is a certain minimum amount that is necessary, since deficiencies may lead to a number of physical as well as mental disorders.
We previously mentioned soy sauce, and although the condiment has enough flavor all by itself, it is traditional to add in a dollop of wasabi paste that is made out of the root of the wasabi vegetable. Quite often sushi chefs will also insert a pinch of wasabi into the rice of every individual piece of sushi they are kneading.
Wasabi is a very fiery ingredient. In recent years there have been an increasing number of diners, including Japanese one, that have been starting to order their sushi sabi nuki (which means without wasabi). However, it would be smarter to leave it there, since wasabi has antibacterial properties that are helpful when eating raw fish and it contains vitamin C as well.
Finally the most quintessential Japanese beverage of all, green tea, contains tannins that are very beneficial for your digestive tract. Green tea is also full of catechin antioxidants, and it is thought to be effective at getting rid of the bacteria vibrio, which is one of the main things that causes food poisoning.
So keep in mind, no matter how great Japanese saki or a mug of frosty-cold Ebisu beer may taste along with your sushi (and trust us, we think they are both excellent), be sure to finish off your meal by consuming a cup of hot green tea as well, before you go home.
As you can see, the ingredients contained in sushi all have important health benefits, along with being so delicious to eat. Not only is the fish that is contained in many kinds of sushi very healthy for you due to the rich sources of omega-3’s, but all of the other ingredients contained in sushi or consumed along with it, offer important nutritional and health benefits as well. These include all of the benefits that come from eating rice vinegar, ginger, soy sauce, seaweed, wasabi and green tea. Any one of those ingredients is very healthy, but when combined can offer very powerful effects that not only taste great but are very good for your health as well.
So the next time you are deciding what to eat for your next meal, definitely don’t forget about sushi. Not only is it delicious, but it can offer you an incredible number of health benefits as well. This type of cuisine is definitely one you will want to eat on a regular basis, no matter what your background or family history might be. You owe to yourself and your family to eat delicious, nutritious food like sushi to keep your taste buds happy and your bodies healthy. So enjoy sushi the next time you are going out to eat.