Beyond the nutrients, many athletes gravitate toward sushi because they perceive it to be a “clean” meal, meaning the ingredients are largely unchanged by cooking or laden with heavy sauces. The simplicity of sushi seems to be appealing because some athletes like to take a minimalist approach to nutrition; they want fresh, unadulterated, pure sources of carbohydrate, protein, and fat without the extra calories that are often added to foods in the process of making them into a finished dish.
How does it stack up as a recovery food?
The latest research on glycogen (energy) replenishment, has led the American College of Sports Medicine to recommend an intake of 1.5g of carbohydrate per kilogram body weight within 2 hours following endurance activity. For a 150-pound person, this means 102 g of carbohydrate in the snack and meal following a workout or competition. Although the exact nutrition information on sushi varies from chef to chef, a roll (maki) usually contains ½ a cup of rice (roughly 24 grams of carbohydrate), and each piece of nigiri (fish on top of a bit of rice) contains about 1-2 tablespoons (5-6 grams of carbohydrate) of rice. Depending on the fish and vegetables included in the items you choose, 2 full rolls of maki sushi will provide all the carbohydrate and protein you need for great post-workout recovery.
Top 3 Sushi Choices for Athletes:
1. Sashimi/Nigiri –
It’s really hard to go wrong with a piece of fish, either by itself (sashimi) or on top of a bit of rice (nigiri). Fish is a great protein source, with varying amounts of heart healthy fats. Among the best are salmon and tuna due to their high Omega-3 content.
2. Rainbow Roll:
This roll is made from rice, tuna, yellowtail, shrimp, salmon, and avocado, meaning it provides a rich variety of seafood on top of carbohydrate from the rice and heart healthy fats from the avocado.
3. Seaweed Salad – Wakame is the seaweed used in most traditional salads. Wakame is loaded with calcium, magnesium, thiamin, and niacin. The first two aid in muscle contraction and nerve stimulation, and the latter two aid in energy metabolism.
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