Global Food Myths #8: Is sushi dangerous for pregnant women?

Hyung Il An, Global Food Myths #8, Sushi

LSG Group experts clarify food myths from around the world – Episode 8 is about eating sushi while pregnant.

Japanese sushi has many health benefits, thanks in large to the high animal protein and omega-3 fatty acids present in fish, and the high fiber content in the nori algae leaves. However, it’s often recommended that women should avoid consuming it while pregnant. Hyung Il An, Menu Development Chef at LSG Sky Chefs in Incheon, South Korea, explains more about it.

“Pregnant women should never eat sushi,” says Hyung Il An. “Especially if it’s not a vegetarian alternative or a variation that uses cooked fish.” After all, raw fish and seafood are susceptible to the transmission of foodborne infections if not stored properly or hygienically. Some infections are mild or can even go unnoticed in healthy adults, but may have serious consequences during a pregnancy.

For this reason, soft-boiled eggs, raw milk cheese, unpasteurized milk, smoked fish, raw meat (such as carpaccio or tartar) and many other products should be avoided at all costs.

A better alternative to sushi would be gimbap, the dish known as “Korean sushi”. It looks similar to its Japanese counterpart but is wrapped in the similar-tasting dried purple seaweed instead of nori leaves. The filling consists of rice – flavored with salt, sesame oil and sesame – and very rarely, raw fish. Instead, you’re much more likely to find fried meat – the famous Bulgogi -, pickled vegetables, cheese or omelets being used in gimbap.

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