Sushi is one of the most popular lunch choices in New York and for good reason! Sushi is the perfect way to break up a long work day with friends. However, sushi’s seductive taste can cause many consumers to overlook certain health risks.
According to a recent study from Rutgers University, those who claimed to eat sushi more than 30 times a month exceeded the minimal risk level of methylmercury as outlined by the Center for Disease Control. Methylmercury poisoning is a serious condition that is almost exclusively due to the ingestion of fish. Symptoms of methylmercury poisoning are similar to cerebral palsy such as lack of coordination of movements; impairment of speech, hearing, walking; and muscle weakness. These symptoms are usually irreversible. Developing fetuses and young children are particularly susceptible which is why pregnant women are advised not to eat raw sushi.
Not all sushi is created equal. Certain fish have much higher mercury content than others. Atlantic bluefin and bigeye tuna are particularly high in methylmercury, while crab, eel, salmon and kelp sushi have lower levels. Although it is impossible to completely avoid mercury as it is globally dispersed, it is important to remain aware of mercury levels in our diet and choose sushi wisely. For a comprehensive list of fish and their mercury categories visit http://www.nrdc.org/health/effects/mercury/sushi.asp.