Dont eat too much sushi

By Zahira Babwani, COLUMNIST
On April 13, 2011

Sushi, whether it is raw or cooked, has long been considered a delicacy to many. However, even nutritious sushi products can be dangerous in large volumes.

Students shouldn't shy away from eating sushi, as it can be a beneficial part of a balanced diet, but they should know the dangers associated with eating it too often.

According to CNN, eating sushi more than six times a week can lead to mercury poisoning. Mercury is a heavy metal that can cause severe neurological problems.

Mercury exists in high levels in tuna (especially bluefin), mackerel, yellowtail, swordfish and sea bass. Other fish can contain mercury if they swim in polluted waters, according to CNN.

In addition, predatory fish, such as tuna and swordfish, can contain high levels of other heavy metals. The higher a fish is on the food chain, the greater the content of metals.

Nonetheless, consuming sushi every once in a while can benefit your health.

Sushi is high in proteins, low in fat, low in calories and contains omega-3 fatty acids, which can reduce bad cholesterol and lower the risk of heart disease, according to the Los Angeles Times.

An average 260 gram pack of sushi contains only 364 calories and 3.6 grams of fat, including 2 grams of saturated fat, compared to a tuna mayonnaise sandwich, which contains 530 calories, 33 grams of fat and 13 grams of saturated fat, according to the Times of London.

According to Reuters, omega-3 fatty acids also lower blood pressure, making them ideal for people with Type 2 diabetes. Wasabi and ginger are antibacterial, and ginger helps with digestion and circulation.

However, sushi lovers should watch out for soy sauce, which can be high in sodium.

The key to enjoying sushi is moderation. Don't eat fish every day, or at least cut back on the mercury-filled varieties.

Avoid these types of fish entirely while pregnant or nursing since mercury poisoning can lead to serious harm for a developing fetus or child, according to CNN.

Symptoms such as tremors, vision problems and a high blood-mercury check would be an indication to cut back on fish consumption, according to CNN.

There is no denying that sushi can be a beneficial part of your diet. However, students should keep in mind the potential side effects.

Zahira Babwani is a senior majoring in biomedical sciences.

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