What Are the Health Benefits of Caviar

Medically Reviewed by Christine Mikstas, RD, LD on May 19, 2022
4 min read

Nothing says luxury like caviar at a fancy event — and this delicious appetizer represents a healthy choice for partygoers as well. 

What is caviar, and why should you put this superfood on your radar? Caviar, a salty preparation of fish (traditionally sturgeon) eggs, is available in many sizes, colors, and grades. It also boasts several surprising nutritional benefits for both the mind and body.

Though you may not eat caviar on a daily basis, it's possible to safely do so if you wish to take advantage of its health benefits. You may wish to keep some on hand if you simply like the taste of this snack or if you frequently entertain guests in your home. Caviar can provide a significant amount of important nutrients that the human body needs to maintain physical and mental health.

Caviar is a high-protein, nutrient-dense food that comes from high-quality sources and often sells at high prices. This type of seafood, as it is nutrient-dense and low in sugar, is a healthy, filling choice — and it's better for you than the pastries, cookies, and other sweet options that are often present at social gatherings. 

Pros. Caviar can be a great treat as it is rich in protein and it contains a high level of a few essential vitamins and minerals. It’s also easy to keep it at home to use as a quick snack as caviar preparation is simple: Spread it on crackers, use it as a salad topping, or eat it plain if you enjoy the unique, salty flavor. If you enjoy caviar at home, it can help you stay full while avoiding temptations such as sugary snacks or those that are high in unhealthy fats.

Cons. While caviar does not contain sugar, it is preserved with high amounts of salt — up to 240 milligrams per tablespoon. Additionally, if you’re allergic to fish, you’ll want to avoid caviar because the proteins you react to in fish meat may exist in the eggs as well. While it’s possible to react to one type of caviar and not another, if you have a fish allergy, it's best to avoid caviar in general unless your allergist has given you the go-ahead.

Pregnant women are broadly advised to limit their seafood consumption to avoid extra mercury in their diets. While it’s unlikely that a spoonful of caviar will contain enough mercury to harm a developing baby, caviar can contain both mercury and other contaminants depending upon its source. Stay on the safe side and avoid caviar if you’re pregnant, or talk to your doctor if you’d like personalized dietary recommendations for your pregnancy.

Caviar can be a remarkably healthy snack but should be eaten in moderation. This appetizer, after all, was not designed to be eaten in large portions. One or two tablespoons is usually enough for one person at a time. 

Consider the following caviar nutrition profile that's based upon one tablespoon of the food:

Essential vitamins. Caviar contains several vitamins such as A and E that keep your skin healthy and aid your immune system in fighting off pathogens. One tablespoon also boasts 3.2 micrograms of vitamin B12.   

Iron. A tablespoon of caviar contains around 1.9 milligrams of iron, which is a significant amount of the 8 milligrams an adult man needs to maintain healthy blood. An adult woman, on the other hand, needs around 18 milligrams of this essential mineral, which is also found in animal products such as meat and seafood as well as green, leafy vegetables such as spinach.

Calcium. This mineral is a major player in preventing excess bone loss, maintaining a healthy blood pressure level, and protecting the kidneys from developing painful stones. If you are allergic to dairy products or you’re trying to find additional sources of calcium, it may interest you to know that caviar contains a surprising 44 milligrams of calcium per tablespoon. 

Adults typically need 1,000 milligrams of calcium per day, while women over 50 and men over 70 need around 1,200 milligrams per day. Though you shouldn’t rely on caviar to supply the majority of your calcium needs, it can provide a boost a few times a week if you enjoy eating it.

Omega 3 fatty acids. You probably know that not all fats are the same, and you may have heard that omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in fish (and their eggs), walnuts, flaxseed products, and supplements, are beneficial to the human mind and body. 

Eating omega-3 fatty acids from fish at least twice a week can indeed help protect you from heart disease, lower your cholesterol and blood pressure, and improve your mood. These “good fats” may also give you a boost in memory.

One tablespoon of caviar contains 42.2 calories. This is a significant amount of energy contained in a spoonful considering that the average adult only needs around 2,000 calories a day. 

In fact, if you’re trying to lose weight, you may decide to limit your caviar consumption or skip the indulgence entirely, but remember to take into account caviar health benefits and the fact that you’re probably not consuming tubs of it in one sitting. Additionally, the current American dietary guidelines encourage adopting a healthy pattern of eating rather than cutting out certain foods, or food groups, altogether.

Caviar, with its high protein content and wealth of nutrients, can be part of a well-rounded, healthy dietary pattern when consumed in moderation.