Some studies suggest that a high intake of refined carbs and the associated rise in blood sugar levels may promote inflammation and increase your risk of diabetes and heart disease (29, 30, 31). Sushi contains various healthy and nutrient-rich ingredients, such as fish, wasabi, seaweed, and pickled ginger. Maples chooses brown rice; it’s higher in fiber and fills you up more than starchy white rice, which digests fairly quickly and could leave you hungry just a few hours after a sushi feast. Increase the protein and fiber content of your meal. However, the levels of these compounds are probably too low to have any relevant health effects (18). Favor cone-shaped hand rolls (temaki), which contain less rice than more traditional rolls. Studies further show that ginger may improve memory and help reduce nausea, muscle pain, arthritic pain, menstrual pain, and even LDL (bad) cholesterol levels (23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28). This gave rise to an early version of the ready-to-eat sushi to which you’re accustomed today (1). Fish is a good source of protein, iodine, and multiple vitamins and minerals. We asked our resident nutritionist, Ruth Tongue, what she would and would never eat when going Japanese. Asking for your sushi to be prepared with brown rice instead of white rice can increase its fiber content and nutritional value. Still, if you’re judicious about how you eat it, sushi can make a great addition to a balanced diet. It’s commonly served with soy sauce, wasabi, and pickled ginger. These fats help fight medical conditions like heart disease and stroke (3, 4, 5). What’s more, 44% of its dry weight is protein, which is comparable to high-protein plant foods like soybeans (16, 17). “Sushi has this halo of being healthy,” says Katherine Zeratsky, a registered dietitian nutritionist and associate professor of nutrition at Mayo Clinic. Is It Safe to Eat Sushi While Breastfeeding? If you want to reduce your salt intake, you should minimize or avoid soy sauce, as well as sushi prepared with smoked fish, such as mackerel or salmon. This product is unlikely to have the same nutritional properties. Fish is also linked to a lower risk of certain autoimmune diseases, depression, and loss of memory and vision in old age (6, 7, 8, 9, 10). Here’s Everything You Need to Know. A sushi meal generally contains a large amount of salt. It’s rich in several vitamins, minerals, and health-promoting compounds. Include steamed and fresh vegetables, which are rich in fiber, and avocados, a heart-healthy fat, says Farrell, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. To reduce your risk of food poisoning, aim to eat sushi at reputable restaurants that are more likely to follow proper food safety practices. And whenever you’re eating out, don’t be afraid to ask your server questions about how a roll is prepared or what’s in it, so you “know what you’re getting and make a better choice,” Zeratsky says. Predatory fish, such as tuna, swordfish, mackerel, marlin, and shark, tend to have the highest levels. Who Should Be TIME’s Person of the Year for 2020? Choose sushi rolls made with brown rice over those made with white rice. This sweetened sticky sushi rice also gets patted and packed down considerably during the cooking and assembly process, so you could be consuming half a cup to an entire cup of white rice in just one roll, says Nancy Farrell, a registered dietitian nutritionist based in Fredericksburg, Va. “It’s really easy to pop them in your mouth” without realizing just how much rice you’ve eaten. However, one roll of sushi provides very little seaweed, which makes it unlikely to contribute much to your daily nutrient needs. However, studies also suggest that the rice vinegar added to sushi may help lower blood sugar, blood pressure, and blood fats (34). If you can’t part with your soy sauce, Maples suggests simply sprinkling a bit over your sushi or dipping delicately to err on the healthy side. But is sushi healthy? Anything can be inside of it. A good way to do so is to pair your sushi with something that has more protein or fiber, such as edamame or a side of vegetables, or to start your meal with a miso soup or salad. If you're out, try one of these 6 substitutes. Some of the species most often found in sushi include Salmonella, various Vibrio bacteria, and Anisakis and Diphyllobothrium parasites (44, 45, 46, 47).