The Most Astounding Health Benefits of Anchovies

You often find anchovies at your local market or tucked into various dishes. Have you ever tried one? It is a type of fish from the Engraulidae fish family that is rich in both nutrients and flavor. It may be small, but I am telling you, they are packed with benefits, including rich levels of heart-healthy fats, proteins and many important vitamins and minerals. Give this article a read to learn more about this fish!

Anchovies: What Are They?

Comprised of over 100 species, anchovies are small, foraging saltwater fish widely found in the Indian, Atlantic and Pacific oceans. They swim in large schools, making them easy to catch. The Mediterranean Sea has abundant amounts, which is why they are particularly popular in North African, Middle Eastern and European cuisines.

Although their taste may not be the most delightful, many people eat them for their health benefits, adding them to sandwiches, pizzas, salad dressings and tomato sauce.

Anchovies are available canned or filleted in most grocery stores, but bear in mind that canned anchovies are free of BPA, which is a very harmful chemical that is best avoided. Salted anchovies are more prevalent in Italian markets, while fresh anchovies can be found in fish markets. When buying fresh anchovies, look for a silver colour and bright eyes. There should also be no foul odor, which could be an indication that the fish itself is not fresh.

Nutritional Value of Anchovies

Anchovies are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, minerals, vitamins and protein, all of which are beneficial for maintaining good health. Furthermore, they also contain zinc, sodium, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron and calcium and are a good source of vitamins E, A, B6, B12, C, folate, niacin, riboflavin and thiamin. Refer to the table below to learn more about the nutritional content of the anchovies.

2 oz. of canned European anchovies may contain about:

PrinciplesAmount                     % Daily Value
Protein13 grams
Fat4.4 grams
Niacin9 milligrams45%
Selenium30.6 micrograms44%
Iron2.1 milligrams12%
Phosphorus113 milligrams11%
Riboflavin0.2 milligrams10%
Calcium104 milligrams10%
Copper0.2 milligrams8%
Magnesium31.1 milligrams8%
Vitamin E1.5 milligrams7%
Vitamin K5.4 micrograms7%
Vitamin B120.4 micrograms7%
Potassium245 milligrams7%
Zinc1.1 milligrams7%
Vitamin B60.1 milligrams5%

Health Benefits of Anchovies

Here are some of the most astounding health benefits of anchovies:

  • Helps promote weight loss. There is a low level of calories in anchovies, but they are high in minerals, vitamins, and protein, thus making the fish a perfect choice if you want to lose weight.
  • Helps boost heart health. There is an impressive amount of essential vitamins and minerals in anchovies, all beneficial in protecting the heart health. For instance, niacin has been shown to reduce cholesterol and triglycerides, two factors which may increase the risk of heart disease.
  • Good source of protein. Anchovies are a protein-rich food, beneficial in various aspects of health, such as repairing and building tissues and producing essential hormones and enzymes in the body.
  • Helps support strong bones. Each serving of anchovies provides calcium, which is essential in keeping the skeletal structure strong. This is one of the best health benefits of anchovies.
  • Rich in omega 3 fatty acids. The omega-3 fatty acid helps almost every aspect of the health. Anchovies are a good source of these important fatty acids.

Precautions of Anchovies

Evens though there are lots of health benefits to anchovies, there are still some drawbacks which must be considered.

First, bear in mind that canned foods have a tendency to have higher levels of sodium, as salt is usually added in order to preserve the fish. A single 2-ounce can of anchovies contains about 69% of the daily value needed for sodium. This makes them one of the most sodium-heavy foods. Furthermore, eating raw anchovies may come with a risk of parasitic infection. Although this is not as common when eating canned or cooked anchovies, raw anchovies are a staple ingredient in dishes all over the world, so you must exercise caution.


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