Don't judge a fish by it's size! While anchovies may come in small packages, their nutrient content packs a mean punch. They are rich in iron, calcium, magnesium, zinc, vitamin C, potassium and loads of other vitamins and minerals. These guys are also loaded with protein! As you may recall from high school biology, protein serves as the building block for muscles, bones, skin, enzymes, hormones, vitamins, cartilage and even your blood.
Fun Fact! Did you know that there are over 100 different species of anchovies? They are found in large school in the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian oceans, yet are most popular in the Mediterranean. This is why anchovies play a large part in European cuisines.
The magnesium, calcium and vitamin K found in anchovies helps keep your bones strong and healthy and your risk of fractures low. They also contain quality fat, which aids in the absorption and utilization of minerals.
Proper functioning of your nervous system comes in part from adequate amounts of B vitamins, and anchovies have plenty of those to go around. In addition to calming nerves and decreasing anxiety, B vitamins assist with the building of tissues, the formation of red blood cells, and the release of energy.
Anchovies also contains a whole bunch of omega-3, which has helped with the prevention and treatment of mental health disorders. These essential fatty acids that have been linked to all types of benefits, and a 6-oz. serving of anchovies doses you with a hefty 3.4 grams. In addition to mental health disorders, omega-3 fatty acids can help prevent or treat high blood pressure, autoimmune disease, digestive disorders, diabetes, inflammation and even cancer [II].
Anchovies are big on keeping your heart healthy. A study published in the medical journal Circulation said the results of not one but two studies and four dietary intervention trials pointed to omega-3 reducing the risk of "sudden cardiac death" [I]. Non-sudden heart issues that can also be reduced via anchovy consumption include coronary heart disease, cardiovascular disease, and heart arrhythmias. Omega-3 may also lower your levels of "bad" cholesterol and your risk of stroke.
Anchovies aren't just made for pizza! These salty little fish are also great to add to ceasar salad dressing, sandwiches, spreads and sauces. So bring on the anchovies, fresh, frozen, canned or smoked! It make take some of you a little while to become accustomed to their taste, but this is surely one All-Star food that should be in everyone's cabinet.
[I] Kris-Etherton P, Harris W, Appel L." Fish Consumption, Fish Oil, Omega-3 Fatty Acids, and Cardiovascular Disease". Circulation. 2002; 106: 2747-2757.Web. June. 2016. <http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/106/21/2747>.
[II] "Omega 3 Fatty Acids". University of Maryland Medical Center. 2005. Web. June. 2016. <http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/omega3-fatty-acids>.