Anchovies are an integral part of different cuisines of the world. Dishes from these small fish are in the Mediterranean, Chinese, Indian culinary tradition, among the inhabitants of the Caribbean. But anchovy, like other fish, is not just tasty, but also a healthy product. It has a beneficial effect on the functioning of the heart, lowers cholesterol and detoxifies, improves the condition of the skin, fights against excess weight, strengthens teeth, prevents osteoporosis and eye diseases. And this is far from all the benefits that this fish brings to man.
This small fish is widespread in the salty waters of the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian oceans. Biologists say there are about 100 different types of anchovies. As a rule, they are moved in huge shoals, so it is not difficult for a person to catch them in large quantities.
Many do not like anchovies because of their very salty specific taste. But foodies joke: all people love anchovies, just some people don’t know about it yet, because they don’t know how to cook them.
The nutritional value
Anchovy fillet is rich in protein, vitamins and minerals necessary for the full functioning of the human body. For chemists, anchovies are a combination of calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and zinc. And also a source of vitamins such as thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, folic and ascorbic acids, B12, B6, A, E, K. And these fish also contain fatty acids and cholesterol.
As already noted, anchovies are an amazing source of nutrients. But let's take a closer look at the chemical composition of these marvelous inhabitants of the seas.
- Iron. 20 g of fresh fish contains about 12 percent of the recommended daily intake for men and 5 percent for women. It is known that iron carries oxygen throughout the body, and is also a necessary element for the production of energy and the maintenance of white blood cells.
- Vitamin A. 100 g of anchovies contain approximately 50,000 IU of vitamin A, which is necessary for maintaining healthy eyes, the immune and respiratory systems, urinary tract, intestinal tract, and is also important for bone growth and proper cell development.
- Calcium. 147 mg of this substance can be obtained from a 100-gram serving of anchovies. Regular consumption is healthy bones and teeth.
- Potassium. This element is crucial for maintaining heart function, muscle contraction, proper digestion. 100 grams of anchovies will saturate the body with 383 mg of useful nutrient.
- Selenium. One serving of small fish will provide the body with 36 micrograms of selenium, which effectively treats cardiac diseases and prevents cancer of the prostate gland, stomach, lungs, and skin.
Effect on the body: benefits and harms
- Healthy heart.
Scientists have found that anchovies contain a large amount of polyunsaturated fats, which can lower bad cholesterol. Therefore, to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, atherosclerosis, heart attacks, strokes. Omega-3 fatty acids, contained in large quantities in anchovies, prevent the adhesion of cholesterol plaques to the walls of arteries. Researchers say regular consumption of omega-3-rich fish lowers the risk of dying from heart disease by 36 percent. By the way, in 20 g of fresh anchovies there are about 3 g of omega-3 fatty acids, which corresponds to 19 percent of the recommended daily intake for men and 27 percent - from the norm for women.
Calcium and magnesium contained in fish meat are also beneficial for the heart muscle. These elements maintain the correct heart rate and regulate blood pressure. Vitamins B12 and B6 also prevent cardiological diseases, and nicotinic acid lowers cholesterol and triglycerides. By the way, a serving of anchovies provides 19 percent of the daily norm of niacin, 4 percent of vitamin B12 and 2 percent of vitamin B6.
- Cell and tissue regeneration.
It has long been no longer a secret for scientists that the proteins contained in these small fish activate cell metabolism, promote tissue regeneration and restore its growth. For this reason, anchovies, as part of the diet, are an excellent incentive for the body to self-repair.
- Healthy skin.
It has already been mentioned that anchovies are a good source of essential fatty acids, in particular Omega-3, cholesterol (“right”), as well as vitamin E, selenium and other minerals. All these nutritional components, as well as possible, affect the condition of the skin. And this means only one thing: anchovies as an ingredient in the diet will help keep the skin smooth and with a healthy color, prevent the appearance of premature wrinkles. And vitamin E protects against sunburn, thereby helping to reduce the risk of cancer.
- Strong bones.
The vitamins and minerals found in anchovies provide many benefits to the body. One of them is healthy and strong bones. Calcium, phosphorus and vitamins A and D, which are part of the fish, prevent the development of osteoporosis and other diseases of the bone tissue, strengthen the teeth, keeping them healthy until they are old. By the way, 20 g of anchovies is about 3 percent of the daily calcium intake and about 5 percent of the daily portion of magnesium, which is also important for the formation of the bone matrix.
- Weight loss.
Do you know why anchovy is good for obese people? This fish contains a lot of proteins and very few calories, which makes it an ideal product for people who want to lose weight. Elevated levels of protein in foods cause faster food saturation and prevents overeating. Thus, you can not worry about consuming excess calories from anchovies, but at the same time be sure that the body receives most of the necessary nutrients.
But on the other hand, do not forget that anchovies are very salted fish. And salt, as you know, retains excess fluid in the body, which means it significantly increases weight (due to edema).
- No toxins!
One of the main dangers posed by excessive consumption of fish is mercury and toxins, often found in the product. But, as biologists convince, in the bodies of small fish there are much less toxic substances. The phenomenon is explained by the short life expectancy of these small inhabitants of the seas (no more than 4 years). Thus, their bodies accumulate much less hazardous substances than marine old-timers. For this reason, many consider anchovy one of the safest marine fish.
- Healthy eyes.
High doses of vitamin A are easy to obtain by consuming anchovies. This vitamin is known to be the key nutrient responsible for eye health. It prevents macular degeneration, cataracts and some other pathologies.
Recent studies have shown that anchovies are highly susceptible to parasites. Therefore, to improve safety before consuming fish from tins, it is better to freeze or heat-treat.
In addition, it is important to remember that this salted fish contains elevated levels of sodium, and this contributes to an increase in blood pressure, which is fraught with serious consequences for people with cardiac diseases.
Before implementation, anchovies are traditionally salted first. And if 20 grams of fresh fish contains about 20 mg of sodium, then in a similar portion of salted anchovies (namely, they are sold in this form) there are already about 700 mg of the substance. And this despite the fact that the recommended daily intake of sodium should be about 1500 mg. Therefore, in order to eliminate excess salt, it is advisable to soak the fish in water (about 30 minutes).
Forms of preparation: salting, canning, pasta
The shelf life of fresh anchovies is very short, therefore, to preserve the product for a longer time, the technique of pickles was invented (and it has not changed since the late Roman and medieval times). But to preserve the taste and aroma, it is important to process the fish as soon as possible after the catch.
To begin with, the anchovies are cleaned, washed in salt brine and allowed to dry. Then lay the fish in layers in cans, abundantly pouring each layer with sea salt. When the container is completely filled, the fish is pressed with heaviness (to eliminate excess fluid and fat). In this form, the workpiece is stored for at least 2 months and only after that the salted anchovies are ready for use.
Another popular method for storing anchovies is with olive oil. As with pickles, processing should begin immediately after the catch. Then the fish is cleaned, immersed in brines. After 2 months, the anchovy is cleaned to a fillet and packaged in jars of olive oil.
In Sicily, they resort to the method of pickling. To do this, fish is immersed in white vinegar or in a mixture of lemon juice and olive oil.
Don't like any of the listed ways to store anchovies? You can resort to a radically different method and grind the fish to a paste state (grated fish mixed with salt and oil). Such a product is often used by Italians, combining, for example, with pizza.
How to eat and store fish
Before use, it is better, of course, to get rid of excess salt. To do this, just rinse the fish under running water. If after washing you do not use the whole product, the residue can be poured with olive oil and stored in the refrigerator for another 5 days. But do not keep the fish in tins - this will give the anchovies a metallic flavor. Therefore, it is best to buy exactly as much product as you need for one time.
Anchovies in world culinary
In world cooking, anchovies are known as a component of the famous Caesar salad. Although many argue that the original salad recipe should not contain anchovies, but Worcestershire sauce. In Spain, this fish is pickled, fried with pepper, consumed in combination with olives, and also made sandwiches from anchovies, boiled eggs and crispy freshly baked bread. In Italy, these small fish are combined with tomato sauce, chili, onions, olives and capers. The French love to add anchovies to dishes from tomatoes, olives, beans. In southwest India, anchovies are usually steamed in banana leaves with ginger, turmeric, garlic, green pepper and onions. In Korea, dried fried fish is fried, mixed with soy sauce, rice wine and sugar. This is one of the traditional dishes. In the Philippines, a popular seasoning is prepared from anchovies, which is added to almost all dishes, but most often to vegetables.
But besides the component of various dishes, anchovy can also be a component of cosmetics. So at least recently decided by the Japanese. And they began the production of cosmetics based on fish components. It is said that masks and creams with anchovy extract have a rejuvenating effect.
In Chile and Peru, anchovies are rarely eaten. There, the main useful purpose of these fish is soil fertilizer and livestock feed. Peruvians grind anchovies to flour and add it to their fields or in animal feed.
Many people perceive anchovies as just a salty snack for beer and cannot even imagine how useful this small fish is for the body. But in fact, under its silvery shiny scales lies a whole complex of vitamins and minerals, without which a person will not be able to feel healthy.