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7 Benefits Of Anchovies: Healthy Fish Full Of Protein And Rich In Omega-3

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Discover the 7 Benefits Of Anchovies.

You may have seen them stacked on the shelf at your local grocery store or the menu at your favorite pizza place, but have you ever really tried the benefits of anchovies?

Coming from the Engraulidae family of fish, anchovies are equally rich in flavor and nutrients. These fish may be small, but they pack a punch, providing tons of protein, heart-healthy fats, and important vitamins and minerals in every serving.

Best of all, you can add these tasty fish and potent omega-3 foods to a variety of dishes or even enjoy them straight out of the can for a mega concentrate of nutrition in your diet.


Benefits of Anchovies

1.- High in Omega-3 fatty acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are an important type of fatty acid that plays a role in everything from heart health to brain function.

Research shows that these healthy fats can also influence weight management, eye health, fetal development, and immunity.

Anchovies are a good source of these crucial fatty acids, providing 951 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acids in each two-ounce jar.


Although there is no set guideline for the amount of omega-3 fatty acids you need each day, most organizations recommend 250 to 500 milligrams of DHA and EPA combined, the two main forms of omega-3 fatty acids found in shellfish.

Others recommend eating two servings of fatty fish each week or taking a fish oil supplement to meet your omega-3 fatty acid needs.

2.- Supports bone health

Each serving of anchovy benefits provides a generous dose of nutrients, including several that are critical when it comes to supporting bone health.

Calcium is essential to keep your skeletal structure strong. 99 percent of the calcium in your body is found in your bones and teeth.


Vitamin K is also important for bone health, and some studies show that it can prevent fractures and help maintain bone mineral density.

A two-ounce serving of anchovies provides 10 percent of the calcium you need for the entire day, plus 7 percent of your daily requirement for vitamin K to help improve bone health.

3.- Good source of protein

Getting enough protein is key to many aspects of health. It builds and repairs tissue, produces important enzymes and hormones in the body, and is an essential component of bone, muscle, cartilage, and tissue.

Eating more protein-rich foods can also help maintain normal blood sugar levels, prevent age-related mass loss, and promote weight loss.


Just one serving of anchovies contains 13 grams of protein.

Combining these fish with a few other protein-rich foods throughout the day can help you easily meet and exceed your daily protein needs.

Other healthy sources of protein include grass-fed beef, free-range poultry, shellfish, eggs, nuts, seeds, and legumes.

4.- Boost heart health

The heart is one of your most important organs. It pumps blood throughout your body, supplying your tissues with the oxygen and important nutrients they need.


Anchovies have an impressive nutrient profile and contain many vitamins and minerals that can help protect your heart health.

Niacin, for example, has been shown to lower triglycerides and cholesterol, two risk factors for heart disease; One study found that niacin supplementation significantly reduced the risk of heart attack and stroke.

Omega-3 fatty acids can also keep your heart healthy by easing inflammation and lowering cholesterol and blood pressure.

Another study found that selenium, another nutrient found in anchovies, can reduce the risk of heart disease.


The researchers found that a 50 percent increase in blood selenium concentration was associated with a 24 percent lower risk of coronary heart disease.

Combine the benefits of anchovies with other heart-healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables, limit your consumption of ultra-processed foods, and exercise regularly to further increase your heart health.

5.- Promotes weight loss

The benefits of anchovies are low in calories but high in protein, vitamins, and minerals, making them the perfect option if you are looking to lose some weight.

Protein helps control your appetite by keeping you full and reducing ghrelin levels; the hormone responsible for stimulating hunger; Eating a high-protein breakfast is thought to decrease ghrelin and also slow stomach emptying to promote satiety.


In addition, following a high-protein diet for 12 weeks has been certified to result in nearly twice the weight loss of a low-protein diet in healthy women.

Because they are also low in calories, anchovies are a great option for your diet to make you feel full while promoting weight loss.

6.- Low in Mercury

While fish can be a very healthy part of your diet, eating too much can put you at risk for mercury poisoning; Mercury is a type of heavy metal that is absorbed by fish. When you eat fish, you are also absorbing the mercury it contains.

High levels of mercury can be dangerous and even cause neurological damage in children or babies.


For this reason, pregnant women are often advised to stay away from certain types of unsafe fish that are high in mercury, such as king mackerel, shark, and swordfish.

However, one of the main health benefits of anchovy is the low amount of mercury that each serving contains.

Anchovies have one of the lowest mercury concentrations of all types of fish, making them a safe and nutritious option for everyone when eaten in moderation.

7.- Highly sustainable

Did you know that a large part of the fish you see in the supermarket is raised on the farm? That’s right, fish like tilapia, salmon, and catfish are commonly born and raised in closed tanks for the sole purpose of food production.


These farm-raised fish not only have lower amounts of certain nutrients, but they are also exposed to higher amounts of pesticides, antibiotics, and other harmful compounds.

Fish farms can also cause damage to the environment by contributing to overfishing to produce food, decreasing biodiversity, and creating a large amount of waste.

Fortunately, the benefits of anchovies are wild-caught and are even considered one of the most sustainable fish species, allowing you to take advantage of their many health benefits without worrying about the dangers of farmed fish.


Nutrition of anchovies

Anchovies are low in calories but packed with protein, fat, and heart-healthy nutrients. However, like many canned foods, they also tend to be high in sodium; A two-ounce can of European anchovies contains approximately:


94.5 g calories

13g protein

4.4 grams of fat


104 milligrams of calcium

9 milligrams of niacin

0.2-milligram copper

30.6 micrograms of selenium


31.1 milligrams of magnesium

2.1 milligrams of iron

1.5 milligrams of vitamin E

113 milligrams of phosphorus


5.4 micrograms of vitamin K

0.2-milligram riboflavin

0.4 micrograms of vitamin B12

245 milligrams of potassium


1.1 milligrams of zinc

0.1 milligrams of vitamin B6

Risks of consuming anchovies

While anchovies come with a wide range of nutrients and health benefits, there are a few drawbacks to be aware of.

• First of all, canned foods tend to be higher in sodium because salt is usually added to help with preservation.


A two-ounce can of anchovies contains 69 percent of the recommended daily value for sodium, making them among the best foods for sodium.

• Reducing your salt intake is especially beneficial for high blood pressure.

A recent study showed that a modest decrease in salt intake caused an average decrease of 4.18 mmHg for systolic blood pressure and 2.06 mmHg for diastolic blood pressure.

• To reduce the amount of sodium in your anchovies, simply drain and rinse the canned anchovies to remove excess salt, or opt for fresh anchovies.


• Also, eating raw anchovies can have a risk of parasitic infection. Although not as common as cooked or canned anchovies, raw anchovies are a staple in dishes around the world.

Boquerones, for example, is a traditional Spanish dish that comprises raw anchovies marinated in vinegar.

• Anisakiasis, or herring worm disease, is a parasitic infection that can be caused by raw anchovies and can lead to symptoms such as abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

The best way to eliminate parasites is to avoid eating them raw, so cook to an internal temperature of at least 145 degrees or freeze your fish.


• Anchovies can also contain domoic acid, a dangerous type of neurotoxin that builds up in sardines, shellfish, and anchovies.

Domoic acid can concentrate in the intestine of the anchovy and cause amnesic shellfish poisoning if the anchovies are eaten whole.

• If you experience symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, or abdominal cramps within 24 hours of eating whole anchovies, you should seek medical attention immediately.


Where to find anchovies and how to eat anchovies

Canned anchovy and anchovy pasta can be found in whole and filleted forms at most grocery stores. Be sure to look for cans that do not contain BPA to avoid the negative side effects of this potentially harmful chemical.

You can also find salted anchovies in some specialty Italian markets, as well as fresh anchovies in your local fish market. Fresh anchovies should be silver in color with shiny eyes and no foul odor to ensure you get the best possible quality.

How to eat anchovies …

Anchovies taste salty, salty, and flavorful, making them a great addition to everything from sauces to pasta dishes to pizza.

These little fish are a staple ingredient in Caesar salad dressings and tapenades.


Anchovy paste, made from ground anchovies, is also available to enhance the flavor of stews and soups.

Oil-packed canned anchovies are often the easiest and most convenient option, as they have been cooked and deboned so they can be eaten straight out of the can.

However, if you are using canned varieties, be sure to rinse well to remove excess sodium.

You can also make your own packaged versions with salted anchovies, to do this, simply remove them from the can, rinse off the excess salt, pat dry, and then soak in milk, water, or white wine for 15-30 minutes to help soften.


Next, fillet and debone your anchovies, let them dry and then store in oil until ready to enjoy.


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