Are Anchovies Good for Anti-Aging?

anchovies in a brown bowl

What Are Anchovies?

Anchovy fish, often called `The Forage Fish,’ is a gracefully thin fish that belongs to the `Engraulidae’ Family. They are very small-sized fish and are called forage fish for this reason, and they are foraged by large sea animals, sea birds, and marine mammals. The Black Sea, Mediterranean Sea, and Indian, Atlantic, and Pacific oceans, are home to these tiny fishes. Therefore, the world’s supply of anchovy fish comes from these oceans and seas.

Anchovy fish is globally available, and it comes easy on the pocket. They can always be added to pizza, pasta, salad, and much more, making the taste more delicious. Anchovy fishes have various health benefits and also helps in anti-aging. Although their size is small and so are their bones, the canned anchovies can be cooked and eaten with their bones, but when cooked, the bones and all of the tinned anchovies will crumble or “dissolve,” leaving only the essence.

Anchovies are generally sized from 5 to 8 inches long. There are more than 100 species available across the Mediterranean sea, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. The Mediterranean Sea has an abundance of Anchovy fish, which is an essential part of the European, Middle Eastern, and North African cuisines. Unlike salmon, tilapia, sardines, and catfish, Anchovies are not farmed. Instead, anchovies are captured on open seas, which protects them from the harmful substances used in the cultivation of other farm fish. As a result, anchovies are extremely long-lasting for storing purposes.

Anchovies are tiny, nutrient-dense fish with a long list of health advantages. They can be used in a variety of dishes and meals. They are packed with a variety of clinical nutrients too, such as Omega 3 fatty acids, Vitamin E, Selenium, and Vit-B3 are the ones that are found in anchovies in abundance.

Nutritional Features

Anchovies are packed with a lot of clinical nutrition in their small sizes. According to USDA, FoodData Central a 2-ounce of anchovy fish which may equal 45-grams provides:

  • 95 Calories
  • 13 grams of protein
  • 4 grams of Fat
  • 56% of the daily value of Vitamin B3
  • 55% of the daily value of Selenium
  • 16% of the daily value of Vitamin B12
  • 12% of the daily value of iron
  • 8% of the daily value of Calcium

Anchovies provide a high amount of Vitamin B3 or niacin, which is essential for the development of energy in our bodies. They also provide amounts of Selenium, an essential mineral to keep your heart healthy and important for bone health.

This mineral-infused small fish is also a good source of iron and Calcium. Iron is an essential part of the blood and the transportation of oxygen from the lungs. Calcium is responsible for making your bones strong. 

This fish is also rich in Omega-3 Fatty acids and has many health benefits. Anchovies are classified as oily or fatty fish and tuna, salmon, sardines, and mackerel due to their high concentration of Omega 3 fatty acids. 

On the other hand, these shiny silverfish have a long list of health virtues, including the ability to lower the chances of cardiovascular disease, maintain cardiovascular health, bones, and teeth, and reduce body fat, among other things.

fresh anchovies in a grouping

Health Benefits Of Anchovies

Anchovies have several health benefits. Let’s take a look below.

Rich In Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Anchovies may well be high in omega-3 fatty acids, an essential fatty acid that can help reduce the risk of heart diseases and cognitive problems. Research reveals that Omega 3 fatty acids help in weight loss, make the immune system strong, and maintain eye health. 

The American Heart Association advises people to include fatty fish like anchovies or sardines in their diet once a week. If you can’t eat fish, you should replace it by having fish oil or omega 3 fatty acid supplements as a substitute. Anchovies are believed to be a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, a two-ounce serving containing about 951 milligrams. This indicates that one can of anchovies will suffice to complete your regular omega-3 fatty acid intake.

Omega-3 fatty acids are required for the creation and function of brain cells. Their lack has been related to increased brain aging, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and depression.

The anti-inflammatory effects of omega-3 fatty acids and the antioxidative features of Selenium may help combat cancer by reducing tumor growth and spread.

Improve Heart Health

Omega-3 fatty acids and Selenium are found in anchovies, which may help improve cardiovascular health. In addition, daily consumption of 566 mg of DHA and EPA together could reduce the risk of dying from heart ailment by 37%, according to an elderly study. A 2-ounce (45-gram) can of anchovies can comfortably provide that proportion of omega-3 fatty acids.

As Omega 3 fatty acids are rich in anchovies, they can help in the reduction of cholesterol, triglycerides levels, and inflammation. They improve the function of blood vessels and blood flow to the heart resulting in a reduced risk of stroke and heart attack.

Research has shown that low selenium levels in the human body can increase the risk of multiple heart problems. Due to its antioxidant ability, which reduces oxidative stress and inflammatory responses associated with heart illnesses, having Selenium in your diet may lessen your risk of heart disease.

Rich in Protein

Having a protein-rich diet can aid in lowering blood glucose levels as well as regulating sugar present in blood in diabetic patients. Proteins also prove to be of great help in managing weight and shedding some pounds. 

An adult woman needs 46 grams of protein in a day, while an adult man requires 56 grams. According to the USDA, anchovies may offer up to 13 grams of protein per serving. You may be able to attain your daily protein requirements if you combine it with lentils, beans, and perhaps other protein-rich meals.

anchovies in oil in a white dish

Great for Skincare

Having a Protein-rich diet on a daily or even weekly basis can aid in maintaining healthy skin. Anchovies can be your best friend in this regard. They will also aid in preventing acne due to their anti-inflammatory properties, stop the skin from premature aging, and reduce the appearance of wrinkles on your face. The anti-aging benefit of anchovies is because of the abundance of omega 3 fatty acids. In addition, omega 3 fatty acids can also help in the healing of many skin problems like psoriasis and others.

Great For Weight Loss

Anchovy fish is a saltwater fish, and they have a high protein content and low caloric count. It makes them suitable and perfect for people who want to lose weight. 

Incorporating fish into your diet will help you in weight loss because the increased levels of protein present in fish can reduce the production of ghrelin (the hunger hormone) and thus prevent you from overeating.

Improves Bone Health

Anchovies hold a plethora of health benefits. Having vitamins, minerals, proteins, Vitamin D, calcium, and vitamin A present in anchovies can help build strong bones and prevent osteoporosis and other osteopathic conditions. Calcium and vitamin A also have properties to fight bone degradation. Calcium is also essential for having strong and healthy teeth.

Boost Brain Health

As you age, your brains’ age declines, meaning reduced brain health and function. Having a protein-rich diet and omega 3 fatty acids in your diet can help prevent brain conditions common in old age such as dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and other neurodegenerative conditions.

According to studies, people who eat fish at least once a week have more grey matter, the brain’s principal functional part, in the areas of the brain that control emotion and memory.

curled anchovies on a plate

Aids In Tissue and Cell Repair

Anchovies, which are high in protein, have historically been recognized to help with cell metabolism, connective tissue repair, and regrowth. Increased protein diets may also aid in weight loss, blood sugar control, and the development of bones, muscles, cartilage, and tissues. Ultimately, they can significantly improve your body’s capacity to repair.

Improves Eye Health

Vitamin A boosts and maintains healthy eyes, and anchovy fishes are a great source of vitamin A. International Journal of Ophthalmology and Eye Health conducted research reporting Pan-Asian cuisines have a variety of anchovy sauces on their menus that have protective qualities against glaucoma and macular degeneration cataracts. Having anchovies in your diet can bless you with many benefits. Thus, they help in anti-aging to a great extent. 

Anti-Inflammatory Effects

Anchovies’ omega-3 fatty acids may have significant anti-inflammatory capabilities, preventing various chronic inflammatory illnesses. Incorporating anchovies into your daily intake may thus aid in the reduction of inflammation and, in turn, other medical conditions.

Rich In Iron

US Department of Health and Human Services states that 20 grams of fresh anchovy fish contain 12 percent of the daily value of iron for men and women. Iron is recognized for improving blood circulation and promoting oxygen delivery all across the body. It may also assist cells in producing higher energy and assisting white blood cells in killing bacteria to defend the body from infectious diseases.

How Do Anchovies Taste?

Anchovies have a pungent smell that can still be present in a meal if they are not well cooked. However, most food enthusiasts and scientists refer to these little fishes of the herring family as umami, a nearly indescribable taste that exists in addition to the salty, sweet, sour, and bitter senses. It has a savory flavor, but it is so intense that it stays in your mouth for longer periods. Anchovies are believed to have a fifth taste, which is known as umami. It is found in foods rich in amino acids glutamate. 

Anchovies have a specific fishy taste, therefore, comparing them with other food would be inappropriate. They are used in various popular dishes, particularly in the US. Chefs normally use it as a secret ingredient to enhance flavor. 

anchovies in oil arranged on a plate

Ways To Love Anchovies

Raw Anchovies

Many people love to eat raw anchovies. However, they should be cleaned properly for this purpose to minimize the risk of getting sick.

Asian Cuisine

Many Asian restaurants and cuisines have added anchovies to their menus as sides and separate dishes such as Japanese sambal, Vietnamese nuac mom, and Thai nam pla. 

Condiments and Sauces

Anchovies have been used to make anchovy sauce for many years. There are many other recipes with which you can prepare your side condiments and sauces, including anchovies, to double the flavor. These can also be added in soups, noodles, or  as pizza toppings.

Cooked Anchovy

Anchovies can be cooked with several other dishes; they can also be grilled or roasted. Fried anchovies taste more salty but flavorful. You can always prepare a dish you like with anchovies. 

Canned Anchovies

The easiest and simplest way of getting anchovies is by getting the oil-packed tins. They are half-cooked and mostly deboned, which makes them ready to eat. Using salted anchovies, you can make your oil-packed can version. You have to remove them from the tin and thoroughly wash them to eliminate any extra salt. After that, dry them and marinate them in milk, white wine, or water for almost 30 minutes to make them soft. Debone, dry, and preserve them in oil until they’re ready to eat.

anchovies on a cutting board

Recipe Ideas For Anchovies

Anchovies are a type of meaty fish that can be bought in cans or tins, packed in olives, or wrapped in crepes. Anchovy puree is a popular flavoring used for salad dressings, sauces, and soups. 

If you cannot tolerate anchovies’ smell, try adding them to your pasta or salads. It tastes heavenly in Caesar salads. But here are some ideas for you:

  • To add flavor to any of your meals, try mixing them with your pasta and sandwiches.
  • You can make anchovy dip by grinding them with almonds, garlic, mustard sauce, etc.
  • Make a quick appetizer by layering anchovy fish fillet on bread with some cheddar or parmesan cheese, and enjoy!
  • Have them as your pizza topping.
  • Have a nutrition-rich breakfast by adding them to your eggs.

Anchovies Side Effects

As well as health benefits, anchovies do have some side effects too, which are as follows:

High Blood Pressure

Consuming higher amounts of canned anchovies may lead to higher blood pressure levels due to the high amount of sodium found in canned anchovies. Sodium can elevate blood pressure and be a leading cause of heart ailments.


Domoic acid is a form of marine biotoxin found in the gut of anchovies. It is a lethal toxin. Excessive amounts of domoic acid can cause amnesic shellfish poisoning in human beings.


Anisakiasis is a parasitic infection. This infection is acquired by consuming raw forms of seafood or saltwater fish. It is often known as Herring worm disease. The larvae of the worms accumulate in the human gut and cause symptoms like nausea, abdominal pain, and vomiting.

Substitutes For Anchovies

Many food lovers don’t like this healthy fish mainly because of its pungent taste and smell. But there are always substitutes for everything? A great replacement for anchovies is Worcestershire sauce. Crazy right? If you didn’t know, Worcestershire sauce’s main ingredient that gives it the typical salty, sour taste is Anchovies. You can add this sauce to your favorite Caesar salad and savor the meal.  

anchovies in oil in a tin can

Anchovies: Habitat, Size, Weight, Appearance

Many people confuse European anchovy with Atlantic sardine, but they are not the same. They have arrived from two different families of sea animals and have unique features of their own.

Scientific Classification

Anchovies belong to the family ofEngraulidae, the Genus is Engraulis and the species name is E. encrasicolus. 


Anchovies can only be found in warm waters and are exceptionally rare in chilly or extremely warm oceans. The European anchovy can be spotted along the European and African shores, as well as in the Mediterranean Sea, Black Sea, and Azov Sea.


The body of the anchovy is elliptical, with a barbed tail and a single dorsal fin. Anchovies possess gray color on their back, green on the upper side, while their belly is silver in color.

Size And Weight

Anchovies are smaller in size. Their size ranges from 5 inches to 6 inches long. The maximum length could be 8 inches long. They weigh between 1.5 to 1.7 ounces.


Anchovies can healthily survive in oceans and seas for up to three years. 

Final Thoughts

Anchovies are considered to be fatty and oily fish because it has higher levels of omega 3 fatty acids such as EPA and DHA. According to the latest research, a high daily intake of omega-3 acids in form of a diet or supplements may help prevent the symptoms of aging by inhibiting inflammation and increasing cellular protection during and after the oxidative stress period of your skin. Hence, providing a healthy-looking and younger skin.

Was this article helpful?