Caviar will always be synonymous with the rich and famous, viewed by most as a prestigious luxury item and food delicacy. In reality, caviar, also known as roe, would be better suited to being considered as a superfood given its impressive nutrient density and list of health benefits. While health may not be the first reason people reach for a tiny spoon jam-packed with flavorful fish eggs, perhaps it should be.
The History of Caviar
Recognizing caviar as a health-forward food dates back to the ancient Persians, who were the first culture known to prepare and consume cured sturgeon roe. Already acknowledged for its health benefits at that time, caviar as we call it today, was given the name khavyar, or "cake of strength." Greek philosopher, Aristotle provided us with the first known record of caviar, as described while dining at banquets during the 4th century B.C. Long championed by the Russian aristocracy, caviar came to be viewed as a lavish luxury item enjoyed by elite nobility around the world.
Caviar not only packs a punch of flavor in a small spoonful but is also very nutrient-dense. Caviar offers a good source of protein while being considered low calorie, low fat, and low in carbs. Caviar, or roe, also provides a healthy amount of vitamins, exceeding the recommended daily intake of Vitamin B12, and providing a healthy dose of Vitamins B6, A, D, and E. Mineral content includes Zinc, Calcium, Iron, Choline, Magnesium, and Selenium. Caviar's most beneficial health boost, however, may very well come from its fat content which includes DPA and omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA. The combination of Vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids found in caviar is especially notable in that there are few food sources of fat-soluble Vitamin D which is aided in absorption by the fatty acids.
Brain Health Benefits
Diets rich in fish intake are often celebrated for their many health benefits and caviar is no exception. High in omega-3 fatty acids as well as DPA (another fatty acid), roe provides essential nutrients that our bodies do not produce on their own. Adding fatty acids EPA, DHA and DPA are especially integral to overall brain health. These fatty acids build brain cells, and aid in learning and development, sharpening memory, boosting mood and mental health, and potentially preventing or slowing age-related mental decline. Boosting your brain health in this way may reduce or help prevent depression, age-related mental decline, Alzheimer's disease, and stroke.
How to Serve Caviar To Maximize Nutritional Value
Like most fish, caviar is extremely perishable and should be eaten at the peak of freshness. Keep caviar cold by storing it on the bottom shelf, toward the back of the refrigerator where the temperature tends to stay the lowest. Once opened, caviar should be placed in an airtight container and kept in the fridge for no longer than three days. Like any meat, proper storage is key to maintain freshness and prevent any possible bacteria growth and foodborne illness.
It's also important to maintain caviar's freshness while serving. Remove caviar from the fridge and let it stand at room temperature for 10 minutes, removing the lid right before serving. Placing the caviar container over ice will further help to maintain freshness while being consumed. A serving of caviar is generally considered as one to two ounces.
A medicinal food since ancient times, caviar can add a fantastic nutritional punch to your diet. High in vitamins and minerals, a single serving of roe provides the daily recommended intake of Vitamin B12. Caviar's fatty acid content will be especially appealing to those looking to add more fish to their diet, as our bodies do not produce these healthy EPA, DHA, and DPAs. These fatty acid-rich fish eggs also have impressive brain health benefits, as omega-3 fatty acids are vital building blocks for the brain. Maintaining freshness and observing the proper storage methods are key to maximizing the nutrition profile and flavor of caviar.
Widely available from many markets and sellers at a broad array of price points, caviar is not an exclusive luxury delicacy, but rather a nutrient-packed superfood ready to be included in your diet.