Is Sushi 'Healthy'? It Depends

(Forwarded by Dr Duy Vu, NY)
Forbes :Recently the New York Times reported on a survey that asked a sample of nutritionists and the public, is sushi “healthy”? Not surprisingly there was a divergence of opinion, with 75% of nutritionists saying “yes” and 49% of the public saying “no.” Ask me the same question and I would answer, “It depends.” Because asking whether sushi is good for you is like asking whether people are good for you. It really depends on what is inside…and the circumstances.
I can take what you consider the healthiest food (by the way, there is no such thing) and make it exceedingly unhealthy. Think celery is healthy? Let’s deep fry it in animal lard and then add some salt and sugar. Also, what would happen if you ate nothing but pounds and pounds of celery every day for weeks? You’d be missing out on many
different nutrients such as vitamins B, C, D and E. Plus eating so much celery would give you much too much fiber, leading to abdominal cramping, bloating and, yes, lots of farting. Farting a lot may make it difficult to keep friends. Not having friends would lead to loneliness. Loneliness may lead to depression. Depression may result in you spending all your days doing nothing but watching TV. Don’t do nothing but watch TV: Eat something besides celery.
In many aspects of life, including nutrition, people tend to think in black and white. No, this is not a racial reference. Rather, in this case, “black and white” means thinking in a simplistic all-or-nothing manner. (Although, people can think about race in such an oversimplified manner as well.) Many people want to know whether a food item is either good or bad for you, rather than hear about subtleties, qualifiers or middle ground. Thus, different food items become like some celebrity couples with drastic changes in status from one year to another. One year chocolate is good for you, another year it is bad.
Let’s take sushi as an example. There are so many different types of sushi, and as chefs continue to experiment, the breadth of the sushi class keeps growing. What exactly is the definition of sushi? A search of the Internet fails to provide a very specific definition. Essentially, sushi is something with rice mixed with vinegar. Although fish is commonly involved, it doesn’t even seem to require fish. Thus, would lard with rice and vinegar be sushi? How about a stick of butter with rice and vinegar?
The bottom line is that sushi can be quite healthy or unhealthy depending on what ingredients are used, how it is prepared and how much you eat. Fresh fish, particularly salmon, trout and tuna, can have plenty of protein and omega-3 fatty acids. Depending on the type of fish, fish can also have varying amounts of Vitamin A and D, calcium, and magnesium. Fresh vegetables frequently appearing in sushi can have important vitamins and minerals. Asparagus can provide vitamins A, B2, B6, C, E and K, fiber, numerous minerals such as copper, phosphorus, potassium, zinc and iron, and make your urine smell funky. Cucumbers offer a host of nutrients such as pantothenic acid, potassium, manganese, vitamin C, phosphorus, magnesium and vitamin B1. Carrots have beta-carotene, fiber, vitamin K, potassium and antioxidants. Shiitake mushrooms are good sources of selenium, iron, dietary fiber, protein and vitamin C and have anti-oxidants.

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