Why am I craving sushi? Specifically, salmon and salmon roe?
March 30, 2008 4:04 PM   Subscribe

Is there a reason I am craving sushi like crazy? Could it be that my body is lacking in some nutrient that is making me crave it?

I love sushi. Often times I can eat a simple roll (spicy tuna/salmon, california roll and the like) for lunch from the local deli. If i go out to dinner I'll get some actual sushi (yellowtail, tuna, salmon...) but I usually won't crave it again that week. This week I will have had sushi for 4 dinners, specifically: salmon sushi, salmon roe, sea urchin, spicy salmon roll. I don't know if it matters, but I will also mention that when I was young I hated salmon roe, but just recently discovered (like a month ago) that I really like it and above all the other cravings, I specifically want the roe. I could chalk it up to just wanting more of a newly liked discovery except I can feel it in my body that I just have to eat it. I've looked up health benefits of salmon roe and the most I can find is that it has some omega 3 fatty acids...does anyone know of any other health benefits it might have that my body could possibly be lacking and is now hoarding? And also, what do omega 3 fatty acids do exactly?
posted by tealeaf522 to Food & Drink (20 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
IANAN(utritionist) but I am guessing that you are craving the combination of simple carbohydrates (rice, sugar in the sushi vinegar), salt (in the sushi vinegar, soy sauce, the marinade used to cure the salmon roe), and maybe also the new exciting flavors of raw fish.

I love sushi too. I want it for my last meal on earth. If I have a choice.
posted by derMax at 4:30 PM on March 30, 2008

Just a thought, but maybe you're just craving vinegar?
posted by misozaki at 4:31 PM on March 30, 2008

I came across this page that lists food cravings and what it means you need, but I don't see salmon or salmon roe specifically on it, but maybe it will be helpful.
posted by hooray at 4:56 PM on March 30, 2008

I always put sushi cravings down to needing a protein surge.

Well, it's either that or you've got a serious wasabi deficiency...
posted by zadcat at 5:02 PM on March 30, 2008

If you just started eating it, and discovered that you like it, you're probably 'craving' it because you really enjoy it. Eat as much as you want and you'll probably start liking less and less over time.
posted by delmoi at 5:03 PM on March 30, 2008

I used to crave seaweed. (Most sushi has seaweed.) I had a deficiency of yin. I'm actually kind of serious. I tried to figure out why I was craving seaweed, found it on a list of things you'd crave for a yin deficiency, and actually had been craving others on the list.
posted by salvia at 5:23 PM on March 30, 2008

tealeaf522: There is some decent evidence that omega 3 fatty acids help reduce the risk of heart attack and coronary artery disease. There is also preliminary but not, as far as I am aware, very substantial evidence that it may help with other things like memory or neurological health. The evidence for the cardiovascular benefits is stronger, again, as far as I am aware.

The downside is that they put some oxidative stress on your system.

I doubt craving sushi means anything except that you really like sushi. I wouldn't put any stock in "cravings" having any biological significance outside of very narrow parameters like craving water (thirst) meaning you are dehydrated. The link hooray provides is laughable; it suggests eating some oatmeal or broccoli if you are craving recreational drugs, for instance.

So I wouldn't worry about it; I am craving sushi right now as a matter of fact. I assure you it isn't because I'm deficient in sushi related vitamins and minerals.

One last note; I'd be careful about eating sushi 4-5 times a week all the time. That's a pretty dang heavy load of mercury you're sucking down depending on the type of fish you eat.
posted by Justinian at 5:27 PM on March 30, 2008 [1 favorite]

Try the saba! more nutrient value in one once of mackerel than four of tuna.
posted by hortense at 5:51 PM on March 30, 2008

Have you had a precedent to this kind of craving? Have you had a serious craving for salmon & salmon roe before? And did you satisfy it, and feel better pretty quickly?

Or was it like a... got. to. have. MOAR!

If it's the latter, it could very well be a food-i-like craving rather than a food-i-need craving.

Strangely, today (and only today, but I can't get my mind off it) I'm craving beats. I like beats, but don't understand why I'm suddenly craving them like crazy (no, not pregnant). I really really really just want some goddamn beats.
posted by raztaj at 7:02 PM on March 30, 2008

pssst... beets. Unless you are just really into S&M.
posted by Justinian at 7:04 PM on March 30, 2008

The simple fact is that sushi tastes really good. No need to over think this.

(see also "too much of a good thing" when you get sick of it a few weeks or months down the line)
posted by randomstriker at 7:09 PM on March 30, 2008

The simple fact is that sushi tastes really good. No need to over think this.

Yup, I mean, hell I crave sushi all the time too! And i'm a super organic health man getting most of the nutrients I need.
posted by saxamo at 7:17 PM on March 30, 2008

pssst... beets. Unless you are just really into S&M.

oops. thanks for pointing that out. i really need to stay off the internets when i'm rockin' it out to c+c music factory.
posted by raztaj at 7:30 PM on March 30, 2008 [1 favorite]

You crave sushi because it's wonderful. That's what happens to me, anyway.
posted by whiskey point at 7:48 PM on March 30, 2008

I've been surprised to find out that there apparently is little or no proven connection between food cravings and specific nutritional deficits. The most identifiable thing about the foods people crave is that they are dense in calories.
posted by StickyCarpet at 8:04 PM on March 30, 2008 [1 favorite]

The reason you are craving sushi is because you like sushi! People crave all types of substances, for example, someone might crave a martini, does that mean there body is lacking something found in alcohol. Absolutely not, cravings are learned behaviors on our own behalf you can just as easily unlearn to crave sushi as you have taught yourself to crave sushi.
posted by Pense at 8:48 PM on March 30, 2008

Thanks for all the input everyone!
Just to note: I'm no stranger to sushi...I've been eating it (the raw stuff I mean, not just rolls) since I was about 11. I mean, I love it, but 4 big fat salmon/roe heavy meals this week is pretty nuts for me. Maybe it was all in my head, but I swear it felt like my body needed to have it...the way Justinian was saying like water for thirst. I have to say, after tonight's feast, I think I've satisfied my sushi tooth for the time being. But tomorrow is another day...thank you again!
posted by tealeaf522 at 9:18 PM on March 30, 2008

I also have a very strong desire to eat roe (though sea urchin is my favourite). My father, who was formerly a fisheries biologist on the North American west coast, tells me that he used to be surprised by the speed with which the natives would flock to a boat bearing sea urchins and tear them open to get at the roe. Clearly, they have the same cravings. My theory is that roe tends to hit all the things we crave in food: salt, fat, and umami.
posted by ssg at 9:20 PM on March 30, 2008

Iodine? If that's what it is, something else iodiney, like just about any sea vegetable, will cut the craving. Of course, it'd work for a sodium craving too, or any of several trace elements, so don't put too much stock in this.

I wouldn't worry too much about it. Once I had horrible cravings for rock salt and spent the better part of a day snacking on it. So it goes.
posted by eritain at 9:28 PM on March 30, 2008

According to that "Human Body" series on Discovery it is possible to crave things you need, but the circumstances were extreme. They talked to a fisher who survived out at sea in a raft for 80+ days. He caught and ate fish, but was still deficient in minerals and/or vitamins. Somehow his brain convinced him to eat "weird" things he needed to, like the eyes and liver. But he said that he found them delicious and desirable, not disgusting yet necessary.
posted by O9scar at 11:13 PM on March 30, 2008

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