Masago – Review the Latest Research

Full Disclosure

Masago can be described as the roe or ripened egg of capelin, a tiny fish that belongs to the smelt family. It is a very popular ingredient in Asian cuisine and is frequently used in dishes such as sushi rolls.

It's more affordable than other kinds of fish roe and has a pleasant taste, which makes it a sought-after food ingredient worldwide, including in Japan.

Masago is a protein-rich food that also contains other nutrients, like selenium and omega-3 fats, which are vital to our health.

It would be best if you learned everything about masago, including its nutritional value, health benefits, and negatives.

Rich in Nutrients

As with most seafood, masago is also nutrient-dense, offering protein, healthy fats, and essential vitamins and minerals.

Masago is especially high in selenium and B12, each of which plays a crucial role in the health of our society. One ounce of fish row provides 118 percent of your daily requirements for B12, essential for the development and functioning of the nervous system, red blood cell development, energy metabolism, and DNA synthesis. B12 deficiencies are common in certain groups, including elderly people and those suffering from particular health issues, including inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD).

A tiny amount of masago in your diet will significantly increase B12 intake. This could aid in the growth of this essential vitamin.

Masago is also rich in selenium, a mineral vital for the proper functioning of the immune and thyroid systems. It also serves as a potent antioxidant within the body, shielding cells from damage caused by oxidation. Maintaining optimum selenium levels in the blood is vital for good health and may help boost immunity and guard against cognitive decline.

It's also a great supply of vitamin E and riboflavin phosphorus and protein.1 Your body requires protein to perform vital functions like creating and repairing muscle tissue and producing neurotransmitters and hormones. Incorporating protein-rich foods, such as masago, into your meals and snacks may assist in promoting healthy weight control since protein makes people feel fuller and more satisfied following meals. This can allow you to eat less calories.5

A Source of Omega-3 Fats

Masago is rich in omega-3 fats called docosahexaenoic acids (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), both of which are fatty acids that possess potent anti-inflammatory effects on the body. EPA, along with DHA, is crucial for the health of your brain and heart. Research has shown that eating a diet rich in omega-3 fats could help prevent the most common health issues, like cognitive decline and heart disease.

For instance, in their anti-inflammatory qualities, EPA and DHA assist in keeping the heart healthy by regulating blood triglyceride levels, improving blood flow through their vasodilating effects and lowering blood pressure. This could be the reason that those who eat a diet high in seafood are more likely to be less prone to heart disease, which includes a lowered risk of coronary heart disease, which is the most prevalent cardiovascular disease that occurs within the US.

Consumption of diets rich in EPA and DHA-rich foods has also been proven to help prevent mental decline and cognitive illnesses such as depression.

A study conducted in 2016 with 915 elderly adults discovered that fish consumption, as well as EPA or DHA, was linked to lower rates of cognitive decline and decreased risk of decline due to age across multiple cognitive areas.

Fish and fish-based products such as masago are among the top Omega-3-rich fats you can consume. Research has shown that massage is a much denser source of EPA than the salmon roe.

Lower in Mercury Than Other Seafood Products

Mercury is a metal found in certain seafood, particularly bigger fish and those with longer lifespans, such as sharks, tuna, swordfish, tilefish, and king mackerel.

Humans quickly take in Mercury, which may cause health problems when too much is accumulated within the body. For instance, eating excessive amounts of seafood that are high in mercury could make it more likely to suffer from developing cardiovascular problems like heart attack as well as negatively impact the immune system and cause cognitive problems in the offspring.

While seafood can be an excellent addition to your daily diet, you need to stay away from seafood that tends to contain mercury. Instead, you should choose seafood that is low in mercury, including oysters, trout, shellfish such as sardines and oysters, and fish in roe.

The role of fish has been proven to be extremely low in mercury compared to other fish parts, including the organs and muscle tissue.

To this end, masago, a type of fish roe, is safe to consume by those looking to limit their exposure to mercury to an absolute minimal.

Nutritional Facts of Masago

The fish roe, similar to masago, is an excellent source of nutrients. It provides proteins, vitamins, and minerals, along with healthy fats.

Here's the breakdown of nutrition for one ounce of Roe from fish:

  • Calories: 40.5
  • Fat: 1.82 grams (g)
  • Protein: 6.32 g
  • Carbohydrate: <1 g
  • Vitamin C 4.54 milligrams (mg) or 5% of daily value (DV)
  • Vitamin E: 1.98 mg or 13% of the DV
  • Riboflavin: .21 mg or 16% of the DV
  • Vitamin B12: 2.84 micrograms (mcg) or 118 percent of the DV
  • Folate: 22.7 mcg or 6% of the DV
  • Phosphorus: 114 mg or 16% of the DV
  • Selenium: 11.4 mcg or 21% of the DV

The fish roe, similar to masago, is generally consumed in small amounts; however, even tiny amounts of fish roe will provide most of your daily requirements for various nutrients, including vitamin E, B12 selenium, and riboflavin.

One ounce (oz) portion of fish roe will provide more than 100 percent of your daily requirement for B12 and more than 20 percent of your daily requirement for selenium. Additionally, it is high in vitamin E, which acts as a potent antioxidant, protecting cells from damaging oxidative damage by neutralizing the free radicals, also known as free radicals. Vitamin E is also essential to support immune function and cell signaling.13

Similar to masago, fish roe is low in carbohydrates and calories and high in healthy fats, including omega-3s and protein. With 6 grams of protein in an ounce, fish roe will help you satisfy your protein requirements and make your meals and snacks more satisfying.

Risks of Eating Masago

While fish roe can be nutritious and contain a variety of essential minerals and vitamins, it also has some drawbacks, such as masago.

For instance, masago is rich in sodium. This is because salt is commonly added to fish-roe items during the process to increase shelf life and taste. For example, a single 1 oz portion of masago may be laden with more than 320 mg sodium, which is more than 14 percent of the DV.

Although this might not be an issue for everyone, those who are sensitive to salt or who have to restrict salt because of medical conditions like high blood pressure might need to reduce their overall intake of sodium by cutting down on salt-rich meals like fish and roe.

There are also environmental concerns regarding the methods used to harvest masago. For instance, some fishing techniques used to catch masago capelin are linked to the bycatch of endangered marine species like dolphins.

Environmental protection groups are also concerned about excess fishing and control of methods employed to catch capelin, like trap nets.

Since masago is a seafood product, people who are sensitive to seafood or shellfish should not consume it. While fish flesh allergies are common, some may experience an allergic reaction to fish roe even if they're not allergic to other seafood items. This is because fish roe contains various allergens that are not present in fish flesh. This means that individuals who have allergies to fish might be in a position to tolerate masago, a type of fish roe.

Tips for Consuming Masago

Masago has a salty, slightly sweet flavor, and it has a crunchy texture that goes well with a variety of savory tastes. Masago is available at certain specialty stores, and you can also buy it on the internet. Make sure to note that masago is available in various flavors, and is often made up of other ingredients such as ginger and Squid Ink.

This is why it's essential to study the ingredient lists of masago products. Masago is typically used in Asian food items like sushi, but it also has many other kitchen applications.

Here are some ways to include masago in your diet:

  • Make use of masago when making homemade sushi.
  • Use masago as a salty condiment in Asian rice and noodles dishes
  • Mix the masago in poke bowls to get a salty kick.
  • Masago can be used to enhance the flavor of seafood dishes.
  • Mix masago with mayonnaise, lime juice, mayo, and sriracha for an enticing dip.

While massago is primarily utilized in Asian dishes, it can also give texture and flavor to various savory recipes.

A Quick Review

Masago is the roe, or ripened egg, of a tiny forage fish known as capelin. It has a salted taste and a crunchy texture. It is typically utilized in Asian dishes.

It's high in nutrients such as B12, selenium, Vitamin E, and omega-3 fats. It has a lower mercury content than other seafood products. However, it's still high in sodium, and there are environmental concerns associated with harvesting capelin to extract masago.

If you're looking to spice up your cooking, consider adding masago to your homemade sushi, noodles, and poke bowls to add nutrients and flavor.

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