Drew Barrymore, Justin Bieber, Gigi Hadid, Julia Roberts. These are just some of the (many) celebrities who are openly in love with sushi, so much to dedicate posts and stories on Instagram to Japanese meals.
A mania, the one for the menus sushi & sashimi, which has infected us too. According to data from a recent report by Nielsen, 28% of villagers eat sushi every day. It is true that the Japanese boast the record of people among the longest-lived in the world, also and above all by virtue of their type of diet rich in seafood, but are we sure that consuming sushi with such frequency is good for health and shape?
Order it with an eye on calories
That the love for the most famous dish of Japanese cuisine has become a mass phenomenon on a global level is a fact: by now there is no city without a Japanese restaurant and millennials and centennials are closely linked to the ritual "serata sushi"With friends or sweetheart.
«Let's start by saying that the term "Sushi" does not refer - as many believe - with raw fish, but rice, which, once cooked, is flavored with a mixture of vinegar and sugar ", explains Dr. Andrea Calvo, food technologist and Asian cuisine expert.
“As for the question if it is a dietary and healthy food, there is no single answer: very depends on the type of preparation and, of course, from amount (often, convinced that these preparations are light, gargantuan orders are made).
Uramaki and simple nigiri, that is, prepared with only rice, seaweed, fish or vegetables, represent one low calorie choice. A single piece fluctuates between 35 and 55 calories, therefore it can be taken daily without contraindications.
On the other hand, ebi maki rice rolls, when stuffed with fried shrimp and loaded with mayonnaise or cream cheese, double the calorie intake., making a sushi dinner an unbalanced choice from a nutritional point of view: too much fat! ».
That said, the basic ingredients of sushi - when not "messed" - they remain absolutely healthy. "Starting with rice", explains Calvo, "which in addition to being gluten-free, therefore also suitable for people with celiac disease, is rich in magnesium and vitamins B1, PP and E.
Also points in favor of salmon and tuna (the two most used types of fish), both with a very low glycemic index and excellent sources of protein, potassium, selenium, phosphorus, niacin and Omega 3 fats, which lower cholesterol. The nori seaweed: low-calorie, they contain all the vitamins of group B, including B12, usually present in foods of animal origin ".
It's ok once a week
In any case, no to daily sushi binges. "Just eat it once a week," advises the doctor Graziana D'Oror, nutritionist biologist in Milan. «As for the quantities, about 220 g of fish and 100 g of rice for him and, respectively, 200 g and 80 g for her. Better then avoid restaurants that offer the "all you can eat" formula: since there are no limits to orders (and, indeed, the rule of "what you order, finish" applies), there is always a tendency to exaggerate and eat more than you should.
If you love Japanese food, be careful not to get carried away with it soy sauce: very rich in salt, it increases blood pressure, but also the stagnation of liquids. In addition, it often contains dyes and flavor enhancers that are harmful to health. To limit to once in a while also the tempura dishes and, in general, the fried courses, undoubtedly the most caloric on the Japanese menu. The sashimi, being prepared with raw fish only, it is undoubtedly the best choice and "light", too».
Pair it with green tea
"There is another good habit at the table that we can borrow from the Land of the Rising Sun", suggests Dr. D'Oro. «We learn from the Japanese a sip green or jasmine tea while savoring sushi and sashimi. They are naturally rich drinks polyphenols (in particular flavonoids): substances antioxidants which fight the inflammations of the organism and slow down cellular aging. The fact that it also contains mineral salts, over all magnesium and potassium, in addition to vitamins and substances that promote digestion, make them an ally of a truly healthy meal », concludes our expert.
It's a good restaurant if ...
Don't think that any Japanese restaurant is faithful to tradition.
To identify authentic and quality products (closely associated characteristics), here are the segments of Dr. Andrea Calvo.
- Remember that in real Japanese restaurants the customer is immediately provided with a warm cloth, to cleanse hands and face before a meal. Therefore, this ritual already proves in favor of the place and presumably of the dishes that will be served.
- Menus promise well with few preparations and few descriptions, with space for vegetable recipes (daikon as absolute protagonist) and condiments only of own production (ponzu sauce, soy, teriyaki and tsuyu).
- Did you order the sushi? The rice should not be sticky and the fish is ok if at room temperature and never cold from the refrigerator. Do you love sashimi? Remember that the traditional one combines tuna, salmon, but also scallops, sea urchins and blue fish.
Tips for "doc" purchases
"If you are looking for an authentic product, not buy it from the super», Affirms Andrea Calvo with conviction. «The fact that it is prepared and assembled by unskilled personnel and that it is left at 4-6 ° C for several hours makes it an unfortunate choice: the fish keeps well, but the consistency of the rice spoils. Furthermore, low cost raw material is often used and local beans instead of Japanese ones, with a very different result in terms of taste ».
However, if you are less demanding and do not disdain the idea of tasting what is on sale in large retailers, here are the advice from Dr. Graziana D'Oro: «First check the packaging and expiry date of the product, as well as the list of ingredients. Attention then to “pale” fish or, on the contrary, too brightly colored, but also with sauces with an irregular consistency. In these cases, it is better to avoid the purchase ».