Have you ever heard of masago? If you enjoy Japanese food, you may have already eaten it. It is one of the most common ingredients used by Japanese connoisseurs and sushi savants. Its vibrant colour, distinct texture, unique taste and powerful health benefits, it is enjoyed all around the world these days. Not only is it easy to incorporate into various dishes, it is a powerhouse of essential nutrients. If you want to learn more about what this delightful food can offer, keep reading!
What is Masago?
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Eating fish eggs can be traced back to the 4th century BC, where it was considered a delicacy in ancient Russia, Rome and Greece. Masago, or smelt roe, is a type of fish egg derived from the capelin species of the Arctic, North Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. Part of the smelt fish family, capelins are foraging fish often eaten by harp seals, Atlantic cod and other ocean species.
While capelin meat is not usually eaten, it can be salted, dried or roasted. It is usually condensed into an oil or meat used for fish fertilizer or fish feed. The roe of the masago, however, is a very common ingredient in Japanese recipes.
The small eggs have a distinctly sweet, but savoury flavour and add an extra crunch to dishes. It’s frequently found in seafood recipes such as masago sushi, but it can also be used to boost the flavour of dips and sauces.
Aside from being astoundingly versatile, masago is also popular for its impressive nutrient profile. While relatively low in calories, each serving offers a good dose of protein, magnesium, selenium and vitamin B12, among other nutrients.
Nutritional Content of Masago
Masago is low in calories, but it contains a great number of healthy fats and protein. It is also rich in various essential nutrients, like magnesium and selenium, and may deliver about 50% of your recommended daily vitamin B12 intake.
A one tablespoon serving of the masago, or about 16 grams of it, may contain:
|Principle||Amount||% Daily Value|
|Vitamin B12||3.2 micrograms||53%|
|Vitamin D||37.1 international unit||9%|
|Pantothenic acid||0.6 milligrams||6%|
Health Benefits of Masago
Although masago is usually consumed in small quantities, it possesses a broad nutrient profile, bumping up your intake of various key nutrients, including magnesium, vitamin B12 and selenium. It has a strenuous amount of essential vitamins and minerals, even for something so low in calories. Here are some of the most remarkable health benefits of masago:
- Low in mercury content. Even though it comes from the deep ocean, it does not contain a lot of mercury. Because of this, you can consume it safely, even if you’re pregnant! Nevertheless, always bear in mind that anything in excess is bad for your health, so consume it in moderation.
- Natural source of vitamin D. Masago is one of the few natural vitamin D food sources. This particular vitamin is an essential micronutrient, which many are deficient of.
- Rich in omega 3 fatty acid. Masago is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, a heart-healthy fat which offers a lot of health benefits, one of which is its ability to protect cognitive health, manage weight and reduce inflammation.
Disadvantages of Masago
We know that food recommendations shouldn’t just revolve around benefits; you also need to know about the disadvantages and possible side effects. This also applies to masago. When thinking of adding it to your diet, consider the following:
- Overfishing of masago could drop the species’ population, which causes ecological concerns.
- It is often cooked alongside less healthy ingredient.
- It has a high sodium content.