Anchovies are an integral part of different cuisines of the world. Dishes from these small fish are in the Mediterranean, Chinese, Indian culinary traditions, among the inhabitants of the Caribbean. But anchovy, like other fish, is not only tasty, but also a healthy product. It has a beneficial effect on the functioning of the heart, lowers cholesterol and removes toxins, improves skin condition, fights excess weight, strengthens teeth, prevents osteoporosis and eye diseases. And this is not all the benefits that this fish brings to a person.

General characteristics

This small fish is widely distributed in the salty waters of the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian oceans. Biologists say that there are about 100 different types of anchovies. As a rule, they move in huge schools, so it is not difficult for a person to catch them in large numbers.

Many people dislike anchovies because of their very salty specific taste. But gourmets joke: all people love anchovies, it's just that some people don't know about it yet, because they don't know how to cook them.

Nutritional value

Anchovy fillet is rich in protein, vitamins and minerals necessary for the proper functioning of the human body. For chemists, anchovies are a combination of calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and zinc. As well as a source of vitamins such as thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, folic and ascorbic acid, B12, B6, A, E, K. And these fish contain fatty acids and cholesterol.


As 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.

  1. Iron. 20 grams 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 energy production and maintenance of leukocytes.
  2. Vitamin A.100 g of anchovies contain approximately 50,000 IU of a vitamin that is essential for maintaining healthy eyes, immune and respiratory systems, urinary tract, intestinal tract, and is also important for bone growth and proper cell development.
  3. Calcium. 147 mg of this substance can be obtained from a 100-gram serving of anchovies. Regular consumption means healthy bones and teeth.
  4. Potassium. This element is critical for maintaining heart function, muscle contraction, and proper digestion. 100 grams of anchovies will saturate the body with 383 mg of a useful nutrient.
  5. Selenium. One serving of small fish will provide the body with 36 micrograms of selenium, which effectively treats cardiac diseases, prevents cancer of the prostate, stomach, lungs, and skin.

Influence on the body: benefits and harms

  1. Healthy heart.

Scientists have found that anchovies are high in polyunsaturated fats that can lower bad cholesterol levels. Therefore, reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, atherosclerosis, heart attacks, strokes. Omega-3 fatty acids, found in large quantities in anchovies, prevent cholesterol plaques from sticking to the walls of arteries. Researchers claim that regular consumption of fish rich in omega-3 fats reduces the risk of death from cardiovascular disease by 36 percent. By the way, 20 g of fresh anchovies contains approximately 3 g of omega-3 fatty acids, which corresponds to 19 percent of the recommended daily allowance for men and 27 percent of the norm for women.

Calcium and magnesium contained in fish meat also have a beneficial effect on the heart muscle. These elements maintain the correct heart rate and regulate blood pressure. Vitamins B12 and B6 also prevent the occurrence of cardiac diseases, and nicotinic acid lowers cholesterol and triglycerides. By the way, a serving of anchovies provides 19 percent of the daily value of niacin, 4 percent of vitamin B12 and 2 percent of vitamin B6.

  1. Regeneration of cells and tissues.

Scientists have long ceased to be a mystery that the proteins contained in these small fish activate cellular metabolism, promote tissue regeneration and restore its growth. For this reason, anchovies, as part of the diet, serve as an excellent stimulus for the body to heal itself.

  1. Healthy skin.

It has already been mentioned that anchovies are a good source of essential fatty acids, in particular Omega-3, cholesterol (the “right”), as well as vitamin E, selenium and other minerals. All these nutrients, 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 will protect against sunburn, thereby helping to reduce the risk of cancer.

  1. 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 bone diseases, strengthen teeth, keeping them healthy until old age. By the way, 20 g of anchovies is about 3 percent of the daily intake of calcium and about 5 percent of the daily portion of magnesium, which is also important for the formation of the bone matrix.

  1. Weight loss.

Do you know how 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. Increased protein levels in foods cause you to become fuller more quickly and prevent overeating. This way, you don't have to worry about consuming extra calories from anchovies, but at the same time, you can be sure that the body receives the most essential nutrients.

But on the other hand, do not forget that anchovies are very salty fish. And salt, as you know, retains excess fluid in the body, which means it significantly increases weight (due to edema).

  1. “No” to toxins!

One of the main hazards associated with overconsumption of fish is mercury and the toxins often found in the product. But, as biologists convince, there are much fewer toxic substances in the bodies of small fish. The phenomenon is explained by the short life span of these small inhabitants of the seas (no more than 4 years). Thus, their bodies accumulate much less hazardous substances than sea old-timers. For this reason, many consider the anchovy to be one of the safest marine fish.

  1. Healthy eyes.

High doses of vitamin A are easily obtained from anchovies. This vitamin is known to be a 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 increase safety, it is better to freeze or heat-treat fish from cans before consumption.

In addition, it is important to remember that this salted fish contains high levels of sodium, which contributes to high blood pressure, which is fraught with serious consequences for people with heart diseases.

Anchovies are traditionally salted first before being marketed. And if 20 grams of fresh fish contains about 20 mg of sodium, then in a similar portion of salted anchovies (namely, in this form they are sold) 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).

Preparation forms: salting, canning, paste

The shelf life of fresh anchovies is very short, so the pickling technique was invented to preserve the product for a longer time (and it has not changed since late Roman and medieval times). But in order to preserve the taste and aroma, it is important to start processing the fish as soon as possible after the catch.

First, the anchovies are cleaned, washed in salt brine and allowed to dry. Then lay the fish in layers in tins, pouring abundantly each layer with sea salt. When the container is completely filled, the fish is pressed down with a weight (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 of preserving 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 the state of the fillet and packaged in jars with olive oil.

In Sicily, pickling is used. To do this, the fish is dipped in white vinegar or a mixture of lemon juice and olive oil.

Don't like any of these ways to store anchovies? You can resort to a radically different method and grind the fish to a paste (ground fish mixed with salt and oil). Such a product is often used by Italians, combining, for example, with pizza.

How to properly consume and store fish

Before eating, it is better to get rid of excess salt, of course. To do this, just rinse the fish under running water. If after washing you do not use all the product, the rest can be poured with olive oil and stored in the refrigerator for another 5 days. But don't keep the fish in tins - that will give the anchovies a metallic flavor. Therefore, it is best to buy exactly as much product as needed for one time.

Anchovies in world cuisine

Anchovies are known in world cuisine as a component of the famous Caesar salad. Although many argue that the original salad recipe should not have anchovies, but Worcestershire sauce. In Spain, this fish is marinated, fried with peppers, consumed in combination with olives, and they also make 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 of tomatoes, olives, and beans. In southwestern India, anchovies are steamed in banana leaves with ginger, turmeric, garlic, green peppers and onions. In Korea, dried fish are fried, mixed with soy sauce, rice wine and sugar. This is one of the traditional dishes. In the Philippines, anchovies are a popular seasoning that is added to almost all dishes, but most often to vegetables.

Other applications

But besides being a component of various dishes, anchovy can also be a component of cosmetics. So at least, the Japanese recently decided. 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 to fertilize the soil and feed livestock. Peruvians grind anchovies to a state of flour and add it to their fields or animal feed.

Many perceive anchovies as just a salty beer snack and cannot even imagine how useful this small fish is for the body. But in fact, under its silvery shiny scales there is a whole complex of vitamins and minerals, without which a person cannot feel healthy.