Finding good sources of lean protein is difficult enough, as there aren’t too many options to begin with. If you are someone who is shopping on a budget, things can be even more difficult as salmon and chicken breast tend to be on the more expensive side as far as meats are concerned.
An option that many people over look is anchovies, as they aren’t a common ingredient in many popular dishes today. Anchovies however are an awesome choice if you’re looking to lose weight or gain more muscle on a budget.
On top of that anchovies can be used in a variety of different dishes, as there are many options out there outside of being a pizza topping. Here are some reasons why you should consider adding more of these fish in to your diet.
1. High in Protein
Anchovies provide a whopping 17 grams of protein per 3 ounce serving, at a cost of about 100 calories. This is a little less protein than your average piece of chicken breast for the same size, however it comes at a cost of less calories.
As mentioned prior anchovies are a cheaper option so you can always eat an extra fish or two per meal for some more protein if need be without breaking the bank. Another good option here is to add lentils or another cheap source of protein to the anchovies in a pasta dish for example.
2. Heart Healthy
Another huge benefit of eating anchovies is that they are high in omega 3 fatty acids, and contain other nutrients such as niacin which keeps the heart healthy. This is because these fats reduce LDL or “bad” cholesterol along with triglycerides, both known contributors of cardiovascular disease.
These omega 3 fats are also great anti-inflammatory agents, which reduces the damage done to the heart and blood vessels.
Sticking to a healthy diet eating foods like anchovies, along with exercise and the proper supplements will assist you in living a healthier life.
3. Discourages Weight Gain
As we mentioned earlier, anchovies are high in protein, healthy fats, and other nutrients that the body needs. Protein is especially important here as it is a macronutrient that is well known for its ability to stave off hunger.
Study after study has shown that people who stick to a diet that consists of foods high in protein tend to lose the most fat, and tend to be the most successful in keeping the weight off.
Anchovies are low in calories as well, making them something you can regularly include in your diet to keep you full without causing fat gain.
4. Low in Mercury and Other Heavy Metals
Heavy metal contamination is unfortunately something else we need to be aware of when it comes to what we are eating, and some fish species in particular tend to be high in these heavy metals.
This is not the case for anchovies however, as they are on the lower end of the spectrum when it comes to this kind of contamination. The reasoning why has a lot to do with its diet, as it is a filter feeder.
The higher up on the food pyramid you go, the more toxins your food is going to contain. This is why you find more heavy metal contamination in shark, swordfish, tuna and other predatory fish as opposed to anchovies, sardines and other smaller varieties.
5. Sustainable Food
Not only are sustainable foods better for the environment, by and large these types of foods are going to be more nutritious than other varieties out there. This is because these sustainably sourced foods come from nature, where many of the other varieties are farm raised in massive tanks.
Farmed raised fish are typically only fed one type of feed because it is more cost effective to do so, while fish in the wild have many other types of food sources available to them. This means you will see higher levels of things like omega 3 fatty acids in your wild varieties than the ones that are farm raised.