Widely available, easy on the pocket, and always accessible as a pantry essential, anchovies can almost instantly uplift any food they are added to- be it pizzas, sandwiches, pasta sauce (for the umami flavor), and Caesar salad. But, unfortunate as it may be, not everyone belongs to the same school of thought, thanks to their strong intense, and pungent flavor, which makes them unpalatable for many.
However, these small silver fishes come with a plethora of health benefits which include their potential to reduce the risk of healthy heart, bones, and teeth, and aiding in weight loss among other things. They are rich in omega-3-fatty acids, proteins, and various nutrients, which makes them beneficial for health. That is why whether you like them or not, you must include them in your diet. However, ensure that they need to be taken in moderation, as they can have potential side-effects too. Now without further ado, let us look at the benefits and side effects in detailproblems and maintain a
What Are Anchovies?
Anchovies are small (generally 5-8 inches long), saltwater, foraging fish with more than 100 different species spread across the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian Oceans. Similar to most other small fishes like the herring, they are found in large schools.
One of the most popular places to catch anchovies is theSea, which is why they are such an integral part of European, Middle Eastern, and North African cuisines. The biggest and major sources of anchovies are the Peruvian anchovies fishery, where over 68% of the catch takes place. This is followed by the Japanese anchovy fisheries that account for 19 % of the catch, and finally, the European fishery is at over 8%.
Unlike salmon, tilapia, and catfish, anchovies are not farm-raised. Anchovies are directly caught in the wild, which keeps them away from the dangerous chemicals exposed to other farm fishes for food production. This, in turn, makes anchovies highly sustainable.
|Serving Size :|
|Total lipid (fat) [g]||4.84|
|Calcium, Ca [mg]||147|
|Iron, Fe [mg]||3.25|
|Magnesium, Mg [mg]||41|
|Phosphorus, P [mg]||174|
|Potassium, K [mg]||383|
|Sodium, Na [mg]||104|
|Zinc, Zn [mg]||1.72|
|Copper, Cu [mg]||0.21|
|Manganese, Mn [mg]||0.07|
|Selenium, Se [µg]||36.5|
|Pantothenic acid [mg]||0.65|
|Vitamin B-6 [mg]||0.14|
|Folate, total [µg]||9|
|Folate, food [µg]||9|
|Folate, DFE [µg]||9|
|Vitamin B-12 [µg]||0.62|
|Vitamin A, RAE [µg]||15|
|Vitamin A, IU [IU]||50|
|Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) [mg]||0.57|
|Vitamin K (phylloquinone) [µg]||0.1|
|Fatty acids, total saturated [g]||1.28|
|Fatty acids, total monounsaturated [g]||1.18|
|Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated [g]||1.64|
|20:5 n-3 (EPA) [g]||0.54|
|22:5 n-3 (DPA) [g]||0.03|
|22:6 n-3 (DHA) [g]||0.91|
|Aspartic acid [g]||2.08|
|Glutamic acid [g]||3.04|
|Sources include : USDA|
According to the USDA FoodData Central, anchovies are rich in omega-3-fatty acids, protein, vitamins, and minerals that help maintain good health. They contain calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, and zinc. Anchovies are a good source of vitamins such as thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, selenium, folate, vitamin C, B12, B6, A, E, and K. This fish also contains good fats and .
Health Benefits of Anchovies
Anchovies have many health benefits, let us discuss them in detail below.
High In Omega-3-Fatty Acids
Anchovies are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, a type of vital fatty acid, that helps reduce the risk of heart-related diseases and cognitive issues. Research published in the Advances in Nutrition Journal states that omega-3 fatty acids may aid in losing and managing weight, boosting immunity, and maintaining eye health among other things.
There is no specific limit given on the daily consumption of omega 3 fatty acids, however, as per the European Food Safety Authority, at least 250-500 milligram of combined EPA and DHA, the two main components of omega-3 fatty acids, which is present in seafood, can be consumed day today.
The American Heart Association also advises to include two servings of fatty fish, like anchovies, every week, or of taking fish oil supplements as a substitute to meet your omega-3 fatty acid requirements.
Anchovies are said to be a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids with every two-ounce can providing nearly 951 milligrams of the crucial fatty acids. This means that you can use one can of anchovies to meet your weekly omega-3 fatty acid dietary requirement.
Improve Heart Health
In a 2013 report published in the Nutrition Journal, by a team of Israeli researchers revealed that anchovies contain large amounts of atherosclerosis, heart attacks, and strokes. They also contain niacin and selenium, which help to reduce the risk of coronary heart ailments.fats, which can reduce the presence of LDL (bad) cholesterol. They help reduce the risk of
Rich in Protein
According to a study published in the Diabetes Educator Journal, foods rich in protein can help regularize blood sugar levels. Proteins also help to promote weight loss and help prevent the degeneration of muscles. According to USDA, one serving of anchovies contains 13 grams of protein. If you eat it along with legumes, beans, or other protein-rich foods, you will be able to meet your daily protein requirements.
Adding anchovies as a regular part of your diet can help maintain healthy skin as well as prevent breakouts and wrinkles associated with premature aging. They can also help protect against sunburn. The reason behind this benefit is due to omega-3 fatty acids that are present in anchovies. A 2011 study published in the Experimental Dermatology Journal that supplementing with a combination of DHA and EPA — two long-chain omega-3s, had the potential to lower the skin’s sensitivity to harmful UV rays. Another research published by a team of American and Canadian researchers showed how consuming omega-3 fatty acids in your diet resulted in a decrease in acne lesions.
Omega-3 fatty acids may also help as a great remedy for dry, itchy skin, caused by serious skin issues like psoriasis.
Anchovies are a type of saltwater fish that have significant amounts of protein and a low-calorie count, which makes them ideal for people trying to lose weight. A report published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition based on dietary fish being a major component of a weight-loss diet revealed that increased levels of protein in fishes help you feel satiated, which, in turn, prevents overeating. Additionally, it suppresses the production of ghrelin (the hunger hormone).
Improve Bone Health
The vitamins, proteins, and minerals found in anchovies provide many health benefits, including helping to build strong bones and prevent osteoporosis and other bone conditions. The calcium and vitamin A, found in anchovies help fight bone degradation. Calcium is also integral in the protection of teeth from weakening and keeping them strong.
Tissue and Cell Repair
Protein-rich anchovies have long been known to benefit the functioning and efficiency of cell metabolism and connective tissue repair and regrowth. High protein foods also help promote weight loss, maintain blood sugar levels, as well as build bones, muscles, cartilage, and tissues. Overall, they can be a major boost to your body’s ability to heal itself.
Anchovies are rich in vitamin-A, which boosts eye health. A research report published in the International Journal of Ophthalmology and Eye Science revealed that anchovy sauce, which is predominantly consumed in Pan-Asian cuisine, has a potential protective effect against progression and severity of glaucoma. It prevents macular degeneration, as well as cataracts, so including anchovies in your diet is good for your eyes.
Rich In Iron
Anchovies are rich in iron. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, every 20 gram fresh fish like anchovies contributes 12 percent of the daily recommended dose of iron for men, and 5 percent for women. Iron is known for enhancing oxygen supply throughout the body and increasing the blood circulation in the body. It also aids cells to make more energy and help white blood cells kill bacteria and thereby protect the body from infections.
Other benefits of anchovies include:
Omega-3 fatty acids in anchovies possess potent anti-properties, which prevent various chronic inflammatory diseases. Thus including anchovies to your diet in moderation can help reduce and eventually other chronic diseases.
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. Mercury poisoning can lead to severaland cardiovascular problems. Smaller fishes like anchovies have far fewer toxins add far fewer toxins to your body than large fishes, while still providing many of the same nutritional benefits.
Select and Store
Here are a few tips to remember while buying and storing anchovies:
- Anchovies are available in fresh, tinned or canned, salted, oiled, and paste forms.
- Always select fresh anchovies over preserved ones. Although, salt-preserved or canned anchovies are easily available.
- Use the entire can of anchovies after opening the seal.
- In case you don’t intend to use the entire container, wash off the salt, place it in an olive oil jar, seal and refrigerate again. The fish can now last for 5 days.
Note: Anchovy paste has less flavor and nutrients compared to the fresh and processed ones but can be used in sauces, jams, pickles, spreads, and more.
What Do Anchovies Taste Like?
Anchovies are known to have a strong pungent taste that can make the heartiest of food lovers give up if they aren’t cooked or served properly. That said, these small fishes of the herring family, have what most food connoisseurs and scientists call as umami, the almost indefinable fifth taste that goes above and beyond the usual salty, sweet, sour, and bitter tastes. It is well described as a ‘savory’ taste but one that’s so strong that it lingers in your taste buds long before it’s gone. You can either thoroughly enjoy them or completely dislike them based on their taste but the key lies in how well you cook them.
Let us look at the different ways in which they can be eaten.
How to eat anchovies?
Here are a few ways to use this fish:
- Raw: Anchovies can be eaten raw as an . They, however, need to be cleaned and washed properly to avoid .
- Asian cuisine: They are used in Asian sides and dishes like Javanese sambal, Vietnamese nuac mom, and Thai nam pla.
- Sauces, Condiments, and Preserves: They can be used to make sauces, jams, pickles, and spreads, as well as be added to noodles, soups, curries, etc.
- Cooked: Anchovies can also be grilled, steamed, fried, and fermented to prepare various dishes.
- Canned: The easiest and most convenient choices of eating these fishes are the oiled-packed canned anchovies as they have already been deboned and cooked in advance and can be eaten directly off the can. You can also prepare your own oil-packed version of the same using salted anchovies. All you’ll need to do is take them off the tin, rinse them well to remove any excess salt. Thereafter dry and soak them in milk, white wine, or water for about 30 minutes or so to allow them to soften well. You can then either debone or fillet them and let them dry and store in oil till they are ready to be enjoyed.
The side effects of anchovies are as follows:
- Anisakiasis: This herring worm disease is a parasitic infection caused by eating raw seafood. The symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or abdominal cramps. That is why it is advisable to wash and clean the fishes properly before cooking and consuming them.
- High blood pressure: A study published in the Journal of Food Safety found that salting or marinating anchovies inactivates or kills bacterias. Canned anchovies have a high level of sodium and excess intake may elevate causing heart-related ailments.
- Neurotoxin: Domoic acid which gets accumulated in the gut of anchovies is a dangerous neurotoxin. Thus, intake of whole anchovies may cause amnesic shellfish poisoning.