Health benefits of anchovies include healthy heart, lower levels of bad cholesterol and toxin levels. It helps in improving skin health, reducing weight, and strengthening the teeth. Intake of anchovies also reduces the risk of osteoporosis and macular degeneration. The nutrients and vitamins found in anchovies are the main factors behind the wide range of benefits people enjoy by adding them to their weekly diet!
Anchovies are small, salt water, foraging fish with more than 100 different species spread across the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian Oceans. They are generally found in large schools, which makes them very easy to catch in large quantities, and one of the most popular places to catch anchovies is the Mediterranean, which is why it is such a large part of European, Middle Eastern, and North African cuisines.
Their taste is not pleasant to many people, but for those with certain health conditions, you might want to learn to love these salty little fish, which are normally sold in tins or cans and can be put on pizzas, sandwiches, in Caesar salad dressing, and tomato sauce.
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Nutritional Value of Anchovies
Anchovies are rich in protein, vitamins, and minerals that help in maintaining good health. They contain calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, and zinc. Anchovies are a good source of vitamins such as thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, vitamin C, vitamin B12, vitamin B6, vitamin A, vitamin E, and vitamin K. It also contains fatty acids and cholesterol.
Health Benefits of Anchovies
Anchovies have many amazing health benefits, let us discuss them in detail below.
Improve Heart Health
Anchovies have been found to contain large amounts of polyunsaturated fats, which can reduce the presence of “bad” cholesterol (LDL cholesterol) that build up in the arteries and increase your chances of atherosclerosis, heart attacks, and strokes. Omega-3 fatty acid, found in large quantities in anchovies, actually strips away unhealthy cholesterol and inhibits it from binding to the walls of arteries, thereby helping it be eliminated from the body. This study was done regarding the elements found in species near Turkey, one of the major distributors and cultures that consume anchovies.
Tissue and Cell Repair
Proteins can be found in great numbers in anchovies, and they have long been known to benefit the functioning and efficiency of cell metabolism and connective tissue repair and regrowth. Adding anchovies to your diet can be a major boost to your body’s ability to heal itself.
As mentioned, they are great sources of essential fatty acids, like omega-3 fatty acid, which is also known as “good cholesterol”, as well as for vitamin-E and minerals like selenium. All of these nutrients have been shown to promote healthy skin, which means that adding anchovies as a regular part of your diet can help you maintain a smooth complexion, prevent breakouts, and even reduce the chances of developing the wrinkles associated with premature aging. Vitamin E can also help protect against sunburn, thereby helping to reduce chances of skin cancer.
Improve Bone Health
The vitamins and minerals found in anchovies provide many health benefits, including helping to build strong bones and prevent the risk of osteoporosis and other bone conditions. The calcium and vitamin A, found in anchovies positively affect bone growth, which makes these tiny fish quite beneficial in fighting bone degradation. Calcium is also integral in the protection of teeth from weakening, keeping them strong and healthy well into old age.
Anchovies have significant amounts of protein and a low-calorie count, which makes them ideal for people trying to lose weight. Increased levels of protein can often produce satiety, which prevents overeating, and it provides you with ample nutrition and health benefits, without pouring in extra calories!
One of the major dangers of eating too much fish is the high level of mercury and other environmental toxins that can often be found in their bodies. Smaller fish have far fewer toxins, particularly due to their short lifespan, and therefore add far fewer toxins to your body than larger fish, while still providing many of the same nutritional benefits!
As stated above, anchovies are rich in vitamin-A, which has been studied intensively as it relates to eye health. High levels of vitamin-A have been linked to the reduced appearance of eye degradation and macular degeneration, as well as cataracts, so eat some anchovies and protect your eyes!
How to Select and Store?
Salt-preserved or canned anchovies are easily available in the market. Make sure the anchovies are refrigerated after opening the sealed container. Fresh anchovies or anchovies paste may also be available and can be used. Due to its strong flavor, it is used as an ingredient in various salads and sauces.
Word of Caution: Some recent studies have shown anchovies to be quite susceptible to parasites, so be sure to always purchase your anchovies from a trusted source, and preferably if you know where they are caught. The best way to prevent the parasites from negatively affecting your health is to freeze or cook your anchovies before eating them, rather than eating them straight out of the tin as many people choose to do.
The final consideration about anchovies is their high level of sodium, which is definitely a factor for people with high blood pressure because a massive increase in sodium will put you at a higher risk for even higher blood pressure and an increased chance of heart attack or stroke. There are alternative foods that contain just as much omega-3 fatty acid (good cholesterol) with far less sodium!