The Good Fats in Sushi

Sushi is Good For The Body And The Soul

Omega 3 fatty acids in sushi Seafood is widely recognized as a great part of one’s diet. High in protein and relatively low in fat, countless types of fish are actually staples in many parts of the world.

Even those fish that are higher in fat are still both nutritious and and heart friendly, unlike many terrestrial meats that can be high in saturated fats. Most fish is high in the particular types of fats referred to as Omega-3 fatty acids. These fats are essential to the human diet as we do not synthesize them biologically, and we must either consume the particular Omega-3s that our bodies require, or their precursor fatty acids which the body converts into the fats we use.

These “fish oil” variety of these fats are originally manufactured by algae, and eventually are incorporated into the fish as they move up the food chain. The two most widely spoken of are abbreviated as DHA and EPA. These two in particular are currently being studied as they are now considered among the best type of fats, alongside monounsaturated fats such as olive oil. Omega-3s however may be better for you than you realize, as our current lifestyle now minimizes consumption of them in favor of omega-6 fatty acids

Potential Cardio Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids

  • Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to raise the levels of high-density lipoproteins (HDL) in the blood (the “good” cholesterol)(*1). This, in turn, can lower the amount of low-density lipoproteins (LDL) in the blood. In some cases, a person’s LDL can be raised slightly, however with a greater rise in HDL, a person’s ‘ratio’ can improve tremendously, which is an overall positive change to cardiovascular health. Omega-3 fatty acids have also been shown to increase the particle size of the LDL in your blood, which is also considered a positive and healthful change.
  • The consumption of these fatty acids have also been shown to be beneficial to those with type II diabetes(*2), helping moderate blood sugar levels and epidemiologic studies have shown a lower prevalence of impaired glucose tolerance.
  • Studies have also linked their consumption with improved endothelial (blood vessel wall) function, reduced platelet aggregability (blood clotting), and lower blood pressure(*3). These are widely regarded cardio-protective benefits.
  • A report in the March 23, 2005 online issue of the Journal of Neuroscience indicates that a diet rich in Omega 3 fatty acids may ward off Alzheimer’s disease(*4). Studies of Omega-3 consumption have shown a up to a 70% decrease of amyloid protein in the brain, the plaque widely regarded as the cause of Alzheimer’s.
  • Also remember that your central nervous system (brain, spinal cord, and all nerve sheaths) is mostly DHA, an Omega 3 fatty acid. The body is constantly in need of repairing and replenishing itself, so the consumption of Omega-3 fatty acids is critical to maintaining proper central nervous system health.
  • Since Omega 3 fatty acids are required for proper development (which includes developing babies), pregnant and lactating women are encouraged to eat foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, particularly DHA and EPA(*5). This includes many nuts and seeds, however fish is the richest source of these fatty acids and a great way to incorporate them into your diet. Raw fish is often avoided in western society during pregnancy (though not cooked fish), so nutritional supplements are sold specifically to target pregnant and lactating women, which are either fish oil or Omega 3 fatty acids taken directly from the algal source, specifically one called Neuromins, and sold as Expecta Lipil, among many others. If you can’t have the fish (if sushi is your typical go-to), you can have the next best thing. But remember, there is still plenty of cooked fish available if you choose.

Why Seafood Consumption Is Beneficial

Today, Omega-3 fatty acids are considered quite helpful for cardiovascular health(*6) and seafood consumption is suggested by doctors the world around. Many people now take Omega-3 supplements, generally called ‘fish oil’ or “Omega-3 Oil,” to incorporate more of these fatty acids into their diet, which is perfectly fine, however we cold water fish are also excellent sources of Omega 3 fatty acids, and tasty too.

One caveat is that just as these fatty acid move up the food chain, so do heavy metals, which are found in higher concentrations in apex predators, such as tuna. But a little seafood, even tuna, goes a long way. So enjoy that sushi without feeling guilt, as they say, “fish is brain food!”


1. Cartolano FC, Dias GD, Miyamoto S, Damasceno NRT. Omega-3 Fatty Acids Improve Functionality of High-Density Lipoprotein in Individuals With High Cardiovascular Risk: A Randomized, Parallel, Controlled and Double-Blind Clinical Trial. Front Nutr. 2022 Feb 23;8:767535. doi: 10.3389/fnut.2021.767535. PMID: 35281761; PMCID: PMC8905646.

2. Delpino FM, Figueiredo LM, da Silva BGC, da Silva TG, Mintem GC, Bielemann RM, Gigante DP. Omega-3 supplementation and diabetes: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2022;62(16):4435-4448. doi: 10.1080/10408398.2021.1875977. Epub 2021 Jan 22. PMID: 33480268.

3. Adili R, Hawley M, Holinstat M. Regulation of platelet function and thrombosis by omega-3 and omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids. Prostaglandins Other Lipid Mediat. 2018 Nov;139:10-18. doi: 10.1016/j.prostaglandins.2018.09.005. Epub 2018 Sep 25. PMID: 30266534; PMCID: PMC6242736.

4. Giselle P. Lim, Frédéric Calon, Takashi Morihara, Fusheng Yang, Bruce Teter, Oliver Ubeda, Norman Salem Jr, Sally A. Frautschy and Greg M. Cole
Journal of Neuroscience 23 March 2005, 25 (12) 3032-3040; DOI:

5. Coletta JM, Bell SJ, Roman AS. Omega-3 Fatty acids and pregnancy. Rev Obstet Gynecol. 2010 Fall;3(4):163-71. PMID: 21364848; PMCID: PMC3046737.

6. Bowen KJ, Harris WS, Kris-Etherton PM. Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Cardiovascular Disease: Are There Benefits? Curr Treat Options Cardiovasc Med. 2016 Nov;18(11):69. doi: 10.1007/s11936-016-0487-1. PMID: 27747477; PMCID: PMC5067287.

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