Is Poke Really Healthy? pros and cons


A complete dish, suitable for every season, but which may not be suitable in the presence of various ailments. Pokè – pronounced “poh-kay” – the bowls of Hawaiian origin, is traditionally a combination of rice, vegetables, diced raw fishsuch as tuna, salmon, shrimp or snapper, with the addition of oil, avocado, seeds, and seasonings such as soy sauce. Poke bowls are becoming popular all over the world, and although they are usually prepared with a mix of healthy products, it is important balance the ingredients and be aware of the potential risks of consuming raw fish and foods that, such as white rice, may not be particularly suitable for diabetics. Condiments, however, also play a fundamental role, because they often contribute to an excessive intake of calories, salt and fat. To create a healthier poke bowl, you could opt for a wholemeal (rice, spelled) or vegetable base (boiled cauliflower crumble, for example), limit the excess oil and seasonings and choose a light variety of fish or protein ​vegetables.

Did you know that…

While the pokè is seasoned at the moment, the traditional Hawaiian one is left to flavor before consumption with all the ingredients, as if it were a kind of marinade.

There are two traditional versions of Hawaiian poke and they differ in the main ingredient: I'm dirtybased on skipjack tuna, and It's dirtybased on octopus.

Beneficial properties of the ingredients

Pokè can be a complete, balanced and truly healthy dish. This depends on the ingredients with which it is prepared, which obviously must respect health needs, and not just the preferences of the palate. Poke bowls are primarily made up of nutrient-dense and highly customizable foods. The main ingredients are vegetables and fish, two generally nutritious foods. Some of the most common vegetables used in poke are avocado, garlic, onion and carrotswhich I am rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidantswhich support overall health.

I pesci I'm a good one source of proteins and unsaturated omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for brain function, heart health and to reduce inflammatory states. That said, poke bowls are usually created using a base of White rice, a highly processed cereal with low fiber content. If consumed in excess, having a high glycemic index, may increase the risk of type 2 diabetes. In this sense, it may be a better alternative to replace white rice with basmati rice, brown rice or other fiber-rich bases such as quinoa, barley or “cauliflower rice”.

Sodium and calories: the cons of Pokè

Poke can also be very unbalanced in terms of nutrients, if prepared with ingredients that are excessively rich in sodium and calories. Poke bowls are traditionally topped with sesame oilwhich is very caloric, and with generous doses of soy saucewhich is generally rich in sodium. Although sodium is an essential nutrient, it can increase blood pressure and the risk of heart disease in some people if consumed in excess.

Raw fish: caution when consuming

As a general rule, the consumption of raw fish should always be moderated and with caution due to the risk of foodborne pathogensas the Salmonella, which may be present in raw animal products. Furthermore, some fish tend to be rich in mercury, a heavy metal that can have toxic effects on the nervous system. Fish high in mercury include: bluefin tuna, swordfish and king mackerel. Children, pregnant and breastfeeding women, and immunocompromised people should avoid eating raw fish or species that tend to be high in mercury.

Few bowls: how to prepare them in a healthy way

It's very easy to make a poke bowl that accommodates dietary and health preferences. For example, it is preferable to make it more low-calorie by including a larger portion of vegetables e using less oil and soy sauce. It's possible too replace the white rice base with whole grains such as barley or quinoa or a grain-free alternative such as zucchini spirals, noodles, edamame or seaweed salad.

While poke bowls are generally made with fish, it's also possible to create vegan bowls that don't use any animal products. Instead, you can add protein-rich tofu, tempeh or seitan ​​made from cooked wheat gluten. Alternatively, you can choose to include a fish that is generally low in mercury, such as salmon, cod or trout, but also prawns or prawns. Bowls are also a great excuse to include fermented foods like pickled vegetables or sauerkraut. Fermented foods are rich in natural probiotics that may offer gut health benefits, help fight inflammation and strengthen the immune system.


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