Why You Should Start Putting Anchovies In More Recipes

Anchovies are an ingredient many times ignored or forgotten because it is easily disguised in many recipes, says HuffPost. Whether you enjoy the flavor of these tiny fish or not, they add loads of deep, rich flavor to many dishes, so you may not even realize you're eating them. Before you forgo these nutrient-rich fish, the reason why you should start putting anchovies in more recipes may surprise you.

According to Brittanica, anchovies are part of the Engraulidae family, a group of saltwater fish related to the herring. These tiny, silver-colored fish feed on plankton and grow very quickly. Anchovies are often mistaken for sardines, but while they are both small, oily fish, they have their differences. Anchovies are slightly smaller and richer in taste than sardines, and their flesh is dark and silvery, while sardines have white flesh and a lighter flavor. Unlike sardines, which don't require curing, anchovies are cured for three to 12 months, according to MuscoFood. During this time, the fish is salted and pressed to release the salty inner moisture which preserves these tiny fish.

Health Benefits Of Anchovies

According to Well+Good, anchovies are a popular food for many dieters, especially those who follow the Mediterranean diet. Their no-carb and high-protein content make them a satisfying snack or addition to many foods. Organic Facts states that anchovies may aid in weight management, including weight loss and improving immune system functioning. High protein foods help keep you satiated longer, reducing the chance of unhealthy overeating. The low-calorie content of anchovies makes them a guilt-free snack for the health-conscious.

According to Healthline, anchovies are high in vitamin B3, selenium, iron, omega-3 fatty acids including DHA and EPA, and calcium. These vitamins and minerals pack some profound health benefits, according to WebMD. These health benefits include thyroid protection, eye health, Alzheimer's prevention, and improvement in heart health and brain functioning. Healthline also says that omega-3 fatty acids help support healthy blood pressure levels, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels and reduce inflammation.

How To Incorporate Anchovies Into Your Diet

Anchovies make a great addition to many recipes, and they can also be consumed raw and directly from the can. If you choose to eat fresh, raw anchovies, the FDA recommends you ensure they are washed and cleaned properly to avoid foodborne illness and contamination. When cooked, anchovies may be grilled, fried, and steamed, and they also work well for sauce recipes and pizzas, according to HuffPost. According to the Chicago Tribune, anchovies make fantastic salad toppings and incorporate well in dressing and sauce recipes such as the fish sauce used in Asian cuisine. The most popular way to consume anchovies is straight out of the can or jar, perhaps because of their convenience.

While anchovies have many health benefits, there are also downsides to the tiny fish. According to Healthline, anchovies are high in sodium which may increase the risk of high blood pressure, especially for those with preexisting conditions such as diabetes and obesity. Anchovies may also be contaminated with domoic acid, a marine biotoxin, and according to the OEHHA, can cause vomiting and diarrhea and, in severe cases, death. These are symptoms of ASP (amnesic shellfish poisoning), which is rare and, in most cases, according to the FDA, is caused by imported fish that has not been regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.