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Surprising Health Benefits of Anchovies You Didn’t Know

by Matt Weik, BS, CSCS, CPT, CSN

If you’re not a fan of anchovies, simply reading the title of this article may have turned you off or sent you in search of the nearest trash can. But for those who have an open mind or who already enjoy these tiny little fish, you will like what you see in this article.

Are you a fan of these little saltwater fish? Anchovies pack a powerful punch when it comes to health benefits. These little swimmers are loaded with essential vitamins and minerals, making them a great addition to any diet.

Anchovies became a seafood staple more than a thousand years ago. In Ancient Rome, they played an essential role in a condiment that was worth as much as the top perfumes of the time.

Anchovies became quite popular during the 1990s as they were used as pizza toppings. They fell out of popularity soon after, but anchovies are making a grand comeback among top chefs. With their salty and savory flavor, anchovies are the perfect addition to any dish.

In this article, we’ll dive deeper into the health benefits of anchovies and why you should start incorporating them into your diet.

The Nutritional Value of Anchovies

While anchovies are mostly known for their omega-3 benefits, they are a calorie-efficient source of many other nutrients as well, including protein, which offers energy and supports strong bones and muscles. It also has vitamin B-12, which can keep blood cells healthy.

100g of anchovies contain the following nutritional values:

  • Protein- 20.4g
  • Calories: 131
  • Iron- 3.25g
  • Carbs: 0mg
  • Potassium: 383mg
  • Calcium: 147mg
  • Niacin: 14mg
  • B-12: 0.62μg
  • Zinc: 1.72mg
  • Selenium: 36.5mg

The Health Benefits of Anchovies

Most of the anchovies’ health benefits are linked to their individual nutritional compounds and not the actual anchovies themselves.

However, the nutrients found in these fish offer many health benefits, such as the following:

  1. Good for heart health

Anchovies are an excellent food for promoting heart health. One of the main reasons for this is that they are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for maintaining a healthy heart. Omega-3 fatty acids help reduce inflammation in the body and improve blood flow, which can help reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. These fatty acids also help to lower bad cholesterol levels and increase good cholesterol levels, which is vital for maintaining a healthy heart.

According to a study, a daily intake of 566mg of DHA and EPA combined could reduce the risk of death from heart disease by 37%. You can easily get that amount of omega-3 from 45g of canned anchovies.

  1. Rich in protein

Anchovies are an excellent food choice for people who want to increase their protein intake. With a 3oz serving of anchovies providing approximately 17g of protein, they are a great way to add more protein to your diet.

According to a study, foods rich in protein can regularize blood sugar levels. Proteins also help in weight loss and support the growth and preservation of muscle tissue.

  1. May help improve skin health

Anchovies are not just delicious (for those with such a palate) but also great for your skin. The omega-3 fatty acids found in anchovies have been shown to provide numerous benefits for skin health, including improved hydration, reduced inflammation, and a brighter complexion.

Adding anchovies to your diet helps maintain healthy skin and prevent breakouts and wrinkles linked with premature aging. They may also help prevent sunburn because of the omega-3 fatty acids that are present in anchovies.

According to a 2011 study, supplementing with a combination of EPA and DHA (two long-chain omega-3s) might reduce the skin’s sensitivity to harmful UV rays. Another piece of research showed how consuming omega-3 fatty acids in your diet could lower acne lesions. Omega-3 fatty acids can also be a great remedy for itchy, dry skin caused by severe skin issues like psoriasis.

  1. May help in weight loss

If you want to lose weight, anchovies might be the perfect food for you. These tiny fish are low in calories but high in protein, making them an ideal choice for anyone looking to manage their weight.

With just 111 calories in a 3oz serving, anchovies are a low-calorie food that can help you feel full and satisfied without adding a bunch of extra calories to your diet. This makes them a great option for people who are trying to reduce their calorie intake without sacrificing flavor or nutrition.

  1. Cancer-fighting properties

Omega-3 fatty acids, in particular, have been linked to a reduced risk of certain types of cancer, such as breast and prostate cancer. This is due to the anti-inflammatory properties of omega-3 fatty acids, which help reduce oxidative stress and prevent cell damage, both of which are believed to contribute to cancer development.

Additionally, selenium, a mineral found in anchovies, has been shown to have anti-cancer properties by increasing the production of antioxidant enzymes, which help to neutralize harmful free radicals in the body.

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