We make a lot of sacrifices in the name of health, from face masks and vitamin capsules to exfoliating scrubs and unusual green shakes.
But sometimes researchers discover a glitch in the matrix, revealing that a decadent food actually has some amazing health benefits. Dark chocolate and red wine are some great examples, as long as they’re taken in strict moderation.
Well, it’s time to add caviar to that too-short list of things that are both nutritious and delicious, meaning these cured fish eggs are good for your mind, body, and soul.
Let’s examine the health advantages of fish roe, and determine how much is too much when it comes to enjoying this salty delicacy from the sea.
Fish Roe Nutrition Basics
Since nutrition is not the main selling point for fancy European imports, most osetra and sevruga caviars do not arrive in the United States with clear nutrition information printed on the label.
However, based on what we know about American sturgeon eggs and other fish roes harvested here, we have a clear idea of the nutrition levels in each serving of caviar and roe.
For our purposes today, we’ll use the terms interchangeably, since there aren’t major differences in the health benefits, but keep in mind that caviar typically refers exclusively to the cured eggs of the sturgeon, while fish roe is a more general term for eggs from various species.
Let’s take a look at the nutrition facts in one serving of sturgeon roe (16 grams or 1 tablespoon):
- 42 calories
- 4 grams of protein
- 3 grams of fat
- 0.6 grams of carbs
- 240 milligrams of sodium
- No fiber
- No sugar
As you can see, a serving of caviar isn’t going to make or break your diet, and that tiny carb count is great news for anyone on a Paleo or Keto diet.
No matter your diet or lifestyle, the no-sugar factor is a huge plus, as research clearly shows that sugar can be damaging to the body, especially the processed white sugar found in soda, cakes, and candy bars.
And while that fat content may raise some alarms, you can rest assured knowing that the type of fat in roe is far healthier than any of the trans fats found in pastries and greasy fast food.
Instead, you are getting some of the best fats available when you enjoy a scoop of fish roe, including the highly regarded polyunsaturated fats associated with Omega-3 fatty acids.
These fats are known for preserving cognitive health by strengthening neural pathways in the brain and fighting against degenerative diseases such as dementia and Parkinson’s. People who consume lots of Omega-3 oils, capsules, or from natural sources report better memory and brain function as they age.
Quality fats from fish roe also help keep joints and tendons lubricated to resist injury and arthritis, strengthen immunity, and even promote skin, hair, and nail health. It’s an all-around wonderful substance that you should consider taking regardless of your taste for fish roe.
Finally, fish eggs have a glycemic index score of zero, meaning they won’t spike your blood sugar and end up giving you an energy crash three hours later. Just try to avoid the processed carb accouterments when enjoying your caviar and roe.
Vitamin and Mineral Powerhouse
You probably won’t be eating caviar for its macronutrient properties, since each serving is only about a spoonful, and not enough to make any meaningful change in your caloric intake.
However, the micronutrient profile is where fish eggs really rise above all other ingredients from the natural world, packing more vitamins and minerals into a single bite than most synthetically produced supplement capsules you can find in the health store.
Vitamin D is the star of the show next to the Omega-3 fatty acids mentioned earlier. Although you should be spending a good chunk of time in the sun every day to produce Vitamin D on your own, that just isn’t an option for a lot of us working 9 to 5.
You can supplement with Vitamin D capsules to hit your daily recommended intake, but fish roe can give you a much-needed burst of health in those dreary winter months.
Vitamin B12 is another heavy hitter found in fish roe, and one scoop gives you 133% of your daily value. This mega-vitamin will keep your mood bright and energy levels high throughout the day, all while increasing your metabolism and heart health.
Honorable mentions include selenium, magnesium, and zinc, all of which play key roles in regulating our bodies’ key functions like sleep, weight distribution, and bone health.
That’s not to say that you should swap out your daily multi-vitamin for a heaping scoop of roe, but just know that you can enjoy some extra pep in your step by having this food on occasion. Be sure to find a reliable purveyor of quality roe so you’re never without a fresh jar.
Healthiest Caviar Preparations
On its own, caviar is pretty lean and mean as far as natural foods go, but you will probably want to enjoy the flavors of the sea with some added garnishes and delivery devices.
If your goal is to enjoy caviar while maximizing your health benefits, try to stick with lightweight vegetables and proteins since these will digest more easily and keep the carbs to a minimum.
Cucumber and cauliflower slices make for tasty, sturdy, and healthy bases, and waxy potato circles can be sliced thin to achieve the same effect with a bit more starch.
For those Paleo and Keto warriors out there, protein and fat are kings, meaning you should break out the hard-boiled eggs, avocado, and beef tartare to make some extra-indulgent yet healthy bites. However, you’ll want to leave the blinis and toast triangles behind.
If you are feeling like a star in the morning and need some extra salt and fat before a heavy training session, a cheesy omelet with fresh peppers and onions is a great canvas for a scoop of cool caviar. How can you not have a stellar workout after that meal?
Smoked salmon on a bagel with some caviar sprinkled on top is another excellent morning boost if you need those extra carbs for a marathon or Crossfit session.
Not everyone deals well with dairy, so use your best judgment when adding ingredients like creme fraiche, sour cream, and butter. No matter what your health and fitness goals may be, there is a caviar preparation out there to meet your needs, guaranteed.
In many ways, fish eggs are a miracle food for their incredible qualities and luxurious taste. However, some people may want to steer clear of the roe if they have certain health conditions or restrictions set by their doctor.
Anyone trying to combat high cholesterol would be wise to avoid caviar and its alternatives, even though the fat compounds are considered healthier than others. The same thing goes for folks trying to reduce their sodium intake since salt and caviar tend to go hand in hand.
Lastly, there’s the health of your wallet that may be a concern, since even a small scoop of caviar can be pricey. It’s worth looking into less expensive roe products that give you the flavors and nutritional benefits without the big bill.
Were you surprised to find that caviar and fish roe contained so many amazing nutritional components? That’s something worth celebrating with your favorite caviar tonight!