Study ranks salmon eggs as one of the three roes richest in omega-3s; ounce for ounce, fish eggs outrank even the fattiest fish as sources of omega-3s
by Craig Weatherby
Caviar, roe, ikura… fish eggs and their various prepared forms go by many names worldwide.
Call them what you will, a Spanish study reinforces the high regard in which salmon eggs and other fish roe are held by traditional peoples and top nutrition researchers alike.
Last month, we exhibited at the Weston A. Price Foundation’s annual “Wise Traditions” conference, whose theme was “Honoring the Sacred Foods.”
During her talk, WAPF founder and President Sally Fallon praised our wild salmon roe as “the ultimate sacred food”
Her view accords with the findings of pioneering diet-and-health researcher Weston A. Price, M.S., D.D.S.… the WAPF's core inspiration.
During the 1930s, Dr. Price documented the superior health of societies that still ate the whole, nutrient-dense foods typical of their traditional diets
And the research he reported in his masterwork, “Nutrition and Physical Degeneration,” indicated that fish—especially fish eggs—rank very high among the whole foods associated with human health and fertility:
And as WAPF columnist Linda Joyce Forristal wrote a few years back, “Salmon roe has been treasured by many traditional cultures, especially the Eskimos, and is much more affordable and accessible than caviar. When Weston A. Price visited Eskimo tribes in the 1930s he recorded that they valued this high-nutrient food for its contribution to the health of their babies” (Forristal LJ 2002).
- “The eggs of the salmon are dried and stored as an important item of nutrition for both children and adults. They are also used to increase the fertility of the women. From a chemical standpoint they are one of the most nutritious foods I have found anywhere (Price WA, p 70).
- “In many of the primitive tribes living by the sea we found emphasis on the value of fish eggs… for insuring a high physical development of growing children, particularly of girls, and a high perfection of offspring through a reinforcement of the mother’s nutrition” (Price WA, p 264).
During our own travels to Alaska this past summer, while visiting the village of Kake, we learned from a Tlingit elder that salmon eggs are among the first foods they feed their infants, beginning at eight or nine months of age.
As well as providing their kids with a uniquely nutritious and developmentally beneficial food, the Tlingit say this practice also sets the child’s palate for a life-long love of seafood... a very good thing!
Spanish study puts salmon roe on a pedestal
Researchers at the University of Almería (UAL) in Spain analyzed the roe of 15 marine animals.
Their results showed that omega-3s were present in the roe of all 15 species, but omega-3 levels were especially high in the eggs of lumpsucker, hake, and salmon. These three were highest in the two omega-3s essential to human health: DHA and EPA.
In fact, omega-3 EPA and DHA constituted more than 30 percent of the fatty acids found in the eggs of these three kinds of fish. As a result, the researchers noted that small amounts of lumpsucker, hake or salmon roe would provide the human body’s basic omega-3 requirements.
This novel study shows that roe is one of the best natural sources of both these omega-3s. DHA is essential for early brain and eye development, while EPA and DHA are both needed for optimal heart, eye, immune, mental, and metabolic health throughout life.
A lack of omega-3s is associated with cardiovascular disease, hypertension, depression, diabetes, poor development of the nervous and reproductive systems, and inflammatory diseases.
Dr. Weston A. Price: Under-appreciated nutrition pioneer
Weston A. Price was the Cleveland dentist whose worldwide, landmark diet-health research during the 1930’s made him the “Charles Darwin of Nutrition.”
Dr. Price documented his observations, including hundreds of photos, in “Nutrition and Physical Degeneration,” which remains a valued guidepost for savvy nutrition research scientists.
For nearly 10 years, Dr. Price and his wife traveled to hundreds of cities in 14 different countries to find healthy people and record their habits.
He documented the perfect dental health, high immunity to tuberculosis and overall excellent health of peoples who ate only their culture’s traditional foods, which were mostly whole, unrefined, and fresh or fermented.
Price found when these people were introduced to mass-manufactured foods like white flour, white sugar, refined high-omega-6 vegetable oils (corn, soy, cottonseed, safflower, sunflower), and cheap processed meats, signs of degeneration were prevalent.
Dental caries, deformed jaws, crooked teeth, arthritis and a weak immunity to tuberculosis became rampant.
- Forristal LJ. The Roe to Health. March 25, 2002. Accessed at http://www.westonaprice.org/The-Roe-to-Health.html
- Price WA. Nutrition and Physical Degeneration Keats Pub; 6th edition (June 2003). ISBN-10: 0879838167
- Rincón-Cervera MA, Suárez-Medina MD, Guil-Guerrero JL. Fatty acid composition of selected roes from some marine species. European Journal of Lipid Science and Technology 111 (9): 920-925, 2009.
- Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology (SFST). Roe of marine animals is best natural source of omega-3. December 11, 2009. Accessed at http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2009-12/f-sf-rom121109.ph