Like many Asian foods, when it is prepared traditionally, sushi is in fact very good for you. Its basic elements are vinegared rice, dried seaweed nori, vegetables, and fish. Traditional sushi is low in calories while also high in fiber, vitamins, and omega-3 acids. When eaten in moderation, it can be a healthy and delicious meal, especially when supplemented with interesting sides to tempt the palate.
The important thing to remember when eating sushi is that, like all foods, it is not very healthy when eaten in excess. The fresh, nutritious ingredients are not calorie free, although they are low in calories. Especially in the West, sushi is often made with fatty fish and vegetables like fried fish, eel, and avocado. In small amounts, these fats are actually good for you: in large servings, they are not. The dish encourages dainty eating and small portions, because of the way in which it is prepared and served. Stick with traditional Japanese varieties, rather than Westernized versions with things like cream cheese in them, and enjoy your healthy meal.
Working from the outside of the roll in, sushi starts with nori, dried toasted seaweed. Nori is fat free and contains several vitamins, including A and B. While a lot of nori would have to be consumed for these to be noticeable in your diet, nori certainly isn't very harmful. The rice is also relatively healthy, especially if brown rice is used. It's high in fiber and is often enriched with vitamins and minerals.
The filling for the sushi is where the nutritional information gets more complicated. Fish tends to be healthier than other meats, with a lower fat content and an assortment of nutritionally valuable vitamins and minerals, along with omega-3 fatty acids. Fatty fish like tuna has more of these valuable acids. The vegetables provide dietary fiber and vitamins to the consumer.
Given available information about sushi nutrition, it is generally good for you. It combines healthy fats with fiber and vitamins to provide a complete meal. The ingredients have also been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease and arterial clogging, so the dish can actually benefit the diner. Especially if you refrain from excessive sake consumption along with your meal, the dish will fall in line with most diets without needing to be altered beyond recognition, like many “diet foods” are. Rolls made with raw fish should not be eaten by pregnant women or those with immune system problems, and people concerned about mercury in fish may want to order more vegetable rolls.