I was born and raised in Kansas, so it’s not a surprise that I didn’t get into sushi until slightly later in life. And although it may have taken me a few tries to acquire a taste for it — and a couple more to be able to enjoy sashimi — it’s now one of those meals I truly love. Plus, sushi seems healthy. Fish! Seaweed! Veggies! Rice!
Cue the music that something bad is coming — dun dun DUN.
As with everything fishy, you have to watch out for mercury. The negative effects of mercury go beyond the known neurodevelopmental deficits and poorer cognitive performance. High mercury exposure is also linked to increased rates of cardiovascular disease, and higher levels of methylmercury can be detrimental to the positive effects of omega-3 fatty acids, which are known to reduce cholesterol levels and the risk of some cancers and heart disease. It’s disheartening that any benefit you may get from eating a “healthy protein” like fish might be negated by the negative effects of mercury.
So do you need to break up with sushi? Not necessarily. There are a few tweaks you can make to ensure that your sushi is better for you. After all, aside from mercury, sushi can go bad in a hurry and when you start adding cream cheese or fried goodies, its “healthy” designation goes out the window.
Keep reading for how to have a healthy sushi experience here, and then tell us: how often do you eat sushi? —Erin