Ah, seafood! You either love it or hate it. If you’re a fan, you probably know all about tasty caviar! These salt-cured fish eggs are used as a garnish on foods like crackers, veggies, and sushi.
The eggs or roe is considered to be a delicacy. You might find it at high-end restaurants or events. But is it worth the price tag?
Surprisingly, fish eggs are good for you, thanks to these five health benefits.
1. Contains Healthy Fatty Acids
Fish is known for its healthy fats – and it doesn’t stop at the eggs.
In caviar, the most abundant fat is oleic acid (OA), an omega-9 fat. There’s also two omega-3 fatty acids – docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicopentaenoic acid (EPA).1
In the brain, OA encourages proper development. It also protects the cells by positively regulating gene expression. Therefore, you’ll lose less brain cells, decreasing the chances of neurodegenerative disease.2
OA might even ward off breast cancer. It can block the activity of HER-2/neu, a cancer-causing gene that’s found in 30 percent of breast cancer patients. To top it off, OA boosts the effectiveness of Herceptin, a drug that’s designed to fight HER-2/neu.3
Like OA, omega-3 fats are crucial for a healthy brain. EPA and DHA are also known for their amazing effect on the heart. They can lower high cholesterol and high blood pressure, resulting in a reduced risk of heart disease, heart attack, and stroke. Even blood clots and clogged arteries can be prevented with these powerful nutrients.4
2. Rich In Vitamin A
Fish oil is the best source of vitamin A, so it’s no surprise that caviar has a decent amount. Each day, men should get 900 micrograms of vitamin A while women should get 700. One tablespoon of caviar has 43 micrograms, making it a tasty way to boost your intake.5
Vitamin A is good for you because it keeps your immune system in check. It also promotes proper vision by keeping your peepers healthy. The normal function of major organs, like the kidneys and heart, depends on this fat-soluble nutrient.6
3. Includes Vitamin B12
The vitamin B12 content of caviar is another health benefit. One tablespoon of fish eggs has 3.2 micrograms7, more than the daily recommended intake of 2.4!
B12 is essential for red blood cell production. Deficiency puts you at risk for pernicious anemia, so it’s important to get enough! This water-soluble vitamin is also needed for proper brain function and DNA synthesis, along with healthy nerve cells.
Your body can’t make vitamin B12, so it’s a crucial part of your diet.8
4. Comprises Vitamin D
Fish eggs also have some vitamin D. The recommended daily intake is 600 IU and a tablespoon of caviar has 19 IU.9 While it seems like a small amount, deficiency is easy to develop, so every bit counts.
When the sun hits your skin, your body makes vitamin D. It’s exactly why this nutrient is called the “sunshine vitamin.”
As for dietary sources? Very few foods have vitamin D. The best options are fatty fish and fortified milk, while egg yolks and beef liver have small amounts. Caviar will add to this intake.
In the body, vitamin D is needed for optimal calcium absorption. This will strengthen your bones and prevent diseases like osteoporosis. It’ll also help communication between nerve cells and enhance the immune system.10
5. Good Source Of Selenium
For a good source of selenium, eat caviar.11 One tablespoon has 10.4 micrograms,12 which can add to your daily recommended intake of 55 micrograms. Even small amounts of this essential mineral will benefit your health.13
Selenium makes antioxidant enzymes that can prevent cellular damage. Because of this, it may prevent heart disease and cancer. Additional advantages include healthy reproduction, DNA synthesis, and thyroid hormone metabolism.14
If you’re at risk for heart disease, skip the caviar. One tablespoon has 94 milligrams of cholesterol! That’s half the recommended daily intake of 200 milligrams for at-risk people.
And if you’re not at risk? Eat it in moderation. Intake should be no more than 300 milligrams daily.15 Compared to other seafood, caviar has a lower risk of mercury. However, if you’re pregnant, check with your doctor before eating it.
As you can see, fish eggs are good for you, but you should eat them with care. Look at them as an occasional gourmet treat. If you eat a low-cholesterol diet, you may be able to enjoy caviar more often.
|↑1||Caprino, Fabio, Vittorio Maria Moretti, Federica Bellagamba, Giovanni Mario Turchini, Maria Letizia Busetto, Ivan Giani, Maria Antonietta Paleari, and Mario Pazzaglia. “Fatty acid composition and volatile compounds of caviar from farmed white sturgeon (Acipenser transmontanus).” Analytica chimica acta 617, no. 1 (2008): 139-147.|
|↑2, ↑4||Omega-3 fatty acids. University of Maryland Medical Center.|
|↑3||Win, David Tin. “Oleic acid-The anti-breast cancer component in olive oil.” Au JT 9, no. 9 (2005): 75-78.|
|↑5, ↑7, ↑9, ↑12||Basic Report: 15012, Fish, caviar, black and red, granular. United States Department of Agriculture.|
|↑6||Vitamin A. National Institutes of Health.|
|↑8||Vitamin B12. National Institutes of Health.|
|↑10||Vitamin D. National Institutes of Health.|
|↑11||Lund, Elizabeth K. “Health benefits of seafood; is it just the fatty acids?.” Food chemistry 140, no. 3 (2013): 413-420.|
|↑13||Selenium in Diet. MedlinePlus.|
|↑14||Selenium. National Institutes of Health.|
|↑15||Cholesterol Content of Foods. University of California San Francisco Medical Center.|