How to Prepare a Poke Bowl

Today, we'll tell you how to prepare a poke bowl, a trendy preparation that's characterized by its content of essential nutrients.
How to Prepare a Poke Bowl
Saúl Sánchez

Written and verified by el nutricionista Saúl Sánchez.

Last update: 30 May, 2023

Poke bowls are a very trendy preparation. They have a Hawaiian origin but have quickly spread throughout the world, as they’re easy to make and have several positive nutritional properties for health. In fact, they can be included in the context of a varied and balanced diet on a relatively regular basis. Preparing a poke bowl at home is simple. Keep reading to learn how!

The first thing to keep in mind is that poke bowls are characterized by including a variety of vegetables inside. Nutrition experts recommend the regular consumption of these foods, as they provide micronutrients and phytochemicals capable of helping to prevent the development of chronic and complex diseases and are associated with a better state of health.

What is a poke bowl?

A poke bowl is a recipe of Hawaiian origin that’s based on the combination of pieces of raw fish marinated with rice, vegetables, and sauces. It manages to mix all the essential nutrients in quite adequate proportions, especially when we enter the context of the diet for athletes. In this case, the consumption of carbohydrates is decisive.

Prepare your own poke bowl: Ingredients

We’re going to teach you how to prepare a poke bowl in a simple and homemade way. There are many different variants, but this one is quick and delicious. For this, you’ll need the following ingredients:

  • 14 ounces of fresh and clean bluefin tuna
  • 10 ounces of rice
  • 1 avocado
  • 2 chives
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 handle
  • 4 radishes
  • Hydrated wakame seaweed
  • 2 limes
  • 3 tablespoons of sesame oil
  • 4 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • Salt
  • Chia or sesame seeds

Step-by-step instructions

Fresh tuna on a cutting board.
You can choose several fish when preparing a poke bowl, but the most practical is tuna.

The first thing to do is cut the tuna into cubes and then place it in a bowl. Next, add sesame oil, soy sauce, lime juice, and sliced chives. Mix everything well and let it marinate while you continue with the rest of the preparations.

The next step is to cook the rice. For this, you don’t have to do anything out of the ordinary–simply cook it with water and salt. Once it’s ready, you just need to drain it and reserve it for later. At this time, cut the radishes and cucumber into slices, the avocado into strips, and the mango into cubes.

At this point, all the ingredients will be ready to prepare your poke bowl. You’ll need to distribute the rice between 4 bowls, placing the fish, radishes, mango, cucumber, avocado, and well-chopped seaweed on top. Sprinkle sesame seeds on top and enjoy!

Poke bowl variations

Keep in mind that fish can be substituted for other varieties, such as salmon. The marinating process will always be the same, although ginger is sometimes included in the mixture to enhance the flavors. Keep in mind that this ingredient has proven to be very positive for health, as it concentrates a large amount of phytochemicals inside.

There are even varieties of poke bowls with prawns. In this case, the marinating process is replaced by cooking with water. Seafood should never be eaten raw, as it may contain substances or microorganisms that are harmful to human health.

It should be noted that it’s possible to find some types of poke bowls with meat instead of fish, although it isn’t very common. In this case, you should opt for cooked chicken meat, as consuming this type of raw food carries a serious health risk. Another option for those who don’t like raw fish is canned tuna. Said food is also very beneficial for health.

Sauces to accompany your poke bowl

You can add a sauce when you prepare your poke bowl. The most common is soy, although it’s not uncommon to accompany it with wasabi or ponzu sauce. A series of fruit-based dressings are also prepared in certain places, which adds a citrus touch and increases the flavonoid content of the dish.

However, it must be borne in mind that sauces tend to increase the energy value of the preparation. For this reason, moderation is recommended in terms of its consumption. If they’re used too frequently, an energy imbalance can occur, generating a progressive weight gain that affects your state of health.

The benefits of poke bowls

Next, we’re going to show you the main benefits of including poke bowls in the diet on a regular basis. They’re preparations that are positive for the state of health, as long as you make sure that there are no deficiencies of essential micronutrients that can condition the functioning of the human body.

Improves cardiovascular health

Most of the fish used to prepare a poke bowl are characterized by containing a significant dose of omega-3 series fatty acids. These compounds exert anti-inflammatory activity, according to a study published in the journal International Immunology . This way, various diseases can be prevented, such as those of a cardiovascular nature.

In addition, it’s essential that the omega-3-to-omega-6 ratio of the diet is balanced, something that often doesn’t happen. It’s common for the intake of the latter fatty acid to multiply the consumption of the former by several times, which can cause a loss of homeostasis in the internal environment. Increasing the contribution of oily fish is a good strategy to correct this imbalance.

Also, it should be noted that omega-3 acids are especially positive for muscle health. They can help prevent the catabolism of lean tissue, in addition to protecting against the development of diseases that affect these organs. According to research published in the journal Nutrients, adequate nutrient intake can delay sarcopenia in older adults.

Provides quality energy

The base of poke bowls is usually a food high in long-chain carbohydrates, either rice, quinoa, or some legume. All of these products are considered positive for health. They’re a source of energy for carrying out medium and high-intensity activities, which is why their consumption is especially recommended in the case of athletes.

However, sedentary people will also benefit from their intake, as long as it’s controlled. What’s clear is that these types of complex carbohydrates should be prioritized over simple sugars. Short-chain carbohydrates are capable of significantly impacting blood glucose, causing pancreatic stress. There is evidence that this effect increases the risk of metabolic diseases.

They can help delay aging

Vegetables are an important part of poke bowls. These foods contain within them essential micronutrients such as vitamins and also phytochemicals. Among the latter, we can highlight flavonoids, compounds that have a high antioxidant activity. They neutralize the formation of free radicals and their subsequent accumulation in the body’s tissues.

This effect in neutralizing oxidation has proven to be essential to prevent the development of complex diseases and delay the signs of aging. When reactive oxygen species accumulate in tissues, the risk of mutations that affect cell function and normal organ performance is increased.

In fact, nutrition experts recommend the consumption of at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables every day, in order to ensure the balance at an oxidative and inflammatory level in the internal environment. The important thing is to vary the food eaten, as the different types of phytochemicals manage to exert different effects on certain organs.

Stimulates muscle mass gain

It’s important to note that poke bowls are preparations that contain proteins of high biological value. These nutrients are important in stimulating post-exercise muscle adaptations, including hypertrophy. If the protein intake isn’t good, the tissue won’t be able to develop and grow, so physical performance may be limited.

This condition of inefficient contribution is also worrisome in sedentary people, as sarcopenia will be promoted more quickly. Through this disease, a loss of muscle mass and strength is experienced that negatively affects the state of health and functionality of the person.

Improves intestinal transit

A person standing near a toilet holding a roll of toilet paper.
Something important for people with constipation is that regular consumption of poke bowls could provide a fairly significant amount of fiber.

We mustn’t forget that poke bowls are also a source of fiber. This substance is essential to improve intestinal function. It’s an element that’s not digestible by the human body, but it manages to increase the volume of the fecal bolus. As a result, there’s a greater activation of the mechanoreceptors in the intestine, resulting in more intense peristaltic movements.

According to a study published in the journal Nature Reviews, a low-fiber diet is one of the main risks for the development of constipation. Of course, it’ll also be important to ensure a correct consumption of water, so that said substance can perform its functions correctly. Regular physical activity can also make a difference.

On the other hand, it’s important to note that a good part of the fiber ferments in the digestive tract, serving as an energy substrate for the bacteria that make up the microbiota. Maintaining a good density at the level of microorganisms is essential in order to achieve efficient digestion and metabolism of nutrients. You’ll also be able to prevent the development of inflammatory diseases related to the intestine.

Helps avoid contracting infectious diseases

Poke bowls have many ingredients that concentrate large amounts of vitamin C inside. This element is key to getting the immune system to function correctly, thus reducing the incidence of many infectious diseases, such as those of a respiratory nature. In this way, colds and flu will be less frequent.

As if this weren’t enough, maintaining adequate levels of vitamin C in the body allows more efficient control of symptoms in the event that the disease develops. These will be less intense and will last a shorter time, which will increase the patient’s well-being.

However, it’ll be essential to ensure a correct supply of other micronutrients, such as zinc. This element is important in the differentiation process of the cells of the white series, which are in charge of starting all the mechanisms related to the defense function of the body.

Prepare a poke bowl at home in a simple way

It’s easy to prepare a poke bowl at home so that you can enjoy a plate full of essential nutrients on a regular basis in your diet. This exotic preparation has spread rapidly over several continents, so nowadays, you can find restaurants specializing in these recipes.

In any case, don’t forget that to achieve good health, you’ll need to combine a good diet with other lifestyle habits, such as regular physical exercise. It’s essential to prioritize strength work, as, in this way, the catabolism of lean tissue is prevented, which is essential to ensure homeostasis in the internal environment.

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