As far as animal foods are concerned, eggs are definitely one of the best choices for your brain. They have to produce and sustain life by providing all of the necessary nutrition to the offspring. That being the case, they contain all kinds of nutrients that are crucial not only for bone and muscle growth, but also for brain development. Omega-3 fatty acids, choline, protein, antioxidants, a wide range of vitamins and minerals… You name it! Since these are all vital for the developing organism, the egg contains them all.
When we speak about eggs, you probably immediately think about chicken eggs. However, since variety is important in healthy eating, you shouldn’t forget about the other options either, especially not about fish eggs, aka caviar. This gourmet food can be one of the best treats for your brain, and it can even rival with salmon. Let’s see why you should consume more frequently caviar.
The most powerful phospholipid source
Although phospholipids and sphingolipids account for about 70% of all the fats in the brain, they are not that well-known. You should definitely be aware of these kind of fats , since they are very important for neurological health. Delicate fatty membranes enclose your neurons in order to protect them from external insults. In addition, they also allow nutrients and signals to flow in and out of the cell. These membranes are made of the notorious Omega-3 fatty acids, and also the not so familiar phospholipids. (1)
Beside being present inside your brain, phospholipids can be found in your entire body. They are essential to providing all brain cell membranes with strength and elasticity. As a result, they play a key role in every single mental operation. According to a 1995 study, the supplementation of Phosphatidylcholine (a phospholipid) can also improve memory. (2)
Foods that can provide you with these invaluable fats are crustaceans like krill or crab, all fish, and eggs. Among these choices the most potent source is caviar.
The real omega-3 star
In my previous post, I wrote about the importance of Omega-3 fatty acids for optimal brain health and performance. Just to briefly summarize it: For most people, increasing the consumption of Omega-3 rich foods meanwhile reducing the intake of Trans fats, Saturated fats, and Omega-6 fatty acids can be the key to a better mental performance. In case of Omega-3, we can separate three different groups:
- alpha-linoleic acid (ALA)
- eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)
- docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)
You can obtain ALA form plant sources, like flaxseeds, chia seeds or walnuts. As far as the other two groups are concerned, they come from animal products. Most people probably think that salmon is the best source of Omega-3, and they are not far from the truth. However salmon is only at the second place next to black caviar. 100 g wild salmon contains 2.2 g Omega-3 fatty acids, while 100 g black caviar can provide you with 6.8 g. (3)
The memory-boosting choline powerhouse
Choline is a recently discovered nutrient, that can provide you with tremendous amount of health benefits. It can promote your nervous system, fat transport and metabolism, DNA synthesis and most importantly it can improve your mental performance. (4)
Your body can produce some choline by itself, however in order to maintain healthy levels of this essential nutrient, you need to rely on external food sources. Studies suggest that lack of choline intake can result in liver or muscle damage. (5) (6)
Your brain uses this substance to memorize information and learn from experience. In other words, choline is necessary for the production of one of the main brain neurotransmitters called acetylcholine. As far as memory and learning are concerned, this neurotransmitter is crucial. Shortage of acetylcholine can cause memory related issues, even memory loss. In most cases we can blame a poor diet on this, since the brain can’t produce sufficient amount of choline by itself. (7) (8)
Although it is difficult to give you a perfectly accurate formula, but generally speaking 425 mg per day for women and 550 mg per day for men should be sufficient. One ounce serving of caviar contains 139 mg choline, which makes it one of the best available sources. (9)
Extremely high level of vitamins and minerals
If all of these were not enough, caviar also contains a wide variety of vitamins and minerals that can help your mind stay sharp and healthy. The most important ones are (10):
- Vitamin C: Plays an important role in the formation of the myelin sheath that protects the neurons.
- Zinc: It has general neuroprotective effects, and it is an essential trace element for normal brain function.
- Vitamin A: Protects brain cells and tissues from free radicals.
- Calcium: Involved in long term brain processes, like memory.
- Vitamin E: Improves the delivery and absorption of oxygen into brain tissue.
- Magnesium: Helps regulate the functioning of neurotransmitters.
- Iron: Involved in oxygen transportation in the brain.
So far it all sounds good, but not necessarily every caviar product can provide you with all of the above benefits. In order to enjoy the full nutritional value and the best taste, you should pay attention to certain features.
As I have already mentioned, black caviar has the highest Omega-3 content, so it will be the more favorable choice from a brain and general health perspective. However, there are several other things that you should take into account.
Avoid caviars that are pasteurized or milked, and contain artificial flavoring, added color, hormonal additives or antibiotics. The roe eggs should be produced from older sturgeons that live in virgin nature in crystal clear water and eat organic fodder. Despite the advances in farming, fishing and production technology, the traditional harvesting method by cutting the fish is still preferable. More modern solutions usually use hormon therapy combined with milking techniques.
A good indicator of the quality is the size of the pearls that is ideally larger. In addition, when you open the tin, the fish eggs should be shiny and not murky. As far as the taste is concerned, you should feel a creamy and nutty flavor.
One product that I can safely recommend that meets all of these criteria and highly ranked in the “Caviar & Roes” category in Amazon, is the BESTER Premium Osetra Sturgeon Caviar.
Caviar is definitely more than just a gourmet food. With regards to the density of the brain building DHA Omega-3 fatty acids, there are no rivals, since even the highest quality salmon has three times lower DHA content. In addition to that, it is also the best source of the brain cell protector phospholipids. Combining these invaluable healthy fats with the rich memory-improving choline content, qualifies caviar as one of the best brain foods.