Ikura or salmon roe: what are its benefits?

Ikura is one of the typical delicacies of Japanese cuisine, although it is also known in other parts of the world. A delicate delicacy that adds flavor, aroma and benefits to your diet.

Written and verified by the nutritionist Anna Vilarrasa on October 11, 2021.

Last update: October 11, 2021

Fish egg products have been present in many culinary cultures for centuries. One of these is the Japanese, in which the ikura It has been used since ancient times, with Japan being the world’s largest consumer of this product.

What ikura the ones are known developed salmon eggs that are obtained from their interior. They are orange-red in color, shiny and have a smooth texture. Its size varies according to the species, but in general they do not usually exceed 1 centimeter in diameter.

Good quality products have a marine flavor, with a mixture of sweet and salty that may be slightly reminiscent of the taste of salmon. In Japan they are used in making sushi, but there are other ways to serve and eat the ikura.

If you are interested in knowing them and knowing what are the properties and all the benefits that salmon roe can bring you, we invite you to continue reading this article.

Nutritional composition of ikura

Intake of fish roe provides many nutrients that are also found in fresh fish. In this case, they are an important source of protein, B vitamins and some minerals.

This is the detail of the contributions of 100 grams of edible portion:

  • Energy: 113 kilocalories.
  • Protein: 24.3 grams.
  • Total fat: 1.8 grams.
  • Polyunsaturated fatty acids: 0.73 grams.
  • Carbohydrates: 0 grams.
  • Fiber: 0 grams.

In addition, it provides micronutrients such as selenium, iron, magnesium and phosphorus. It is also a source of vitamins D and A and some of the B group, such as niacin, thiamine, riboflavin, folates and B12. Finally, it is important to highlight the polyunsaturated fatty acids with a high content of omega 3.

Properties and benefits of its consumption

Thanks to these nutrients, the intake of ikura it can bring some benefits to the body. This yes, as long as its consumption is carried out within the framework of a healthy diet and following healthy lifestyle habits.

Cardiovascular protection

Omega 3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) are present in oily fish and fish oil. They are also one of the important components in salmon roe. In the body they are a basic element and, not being able to produce them, it is necessary to ingest them through food.

For years, the American Heart Association has recommended its consumption to reduce the risk of heart attacks or strokes.

But beyond omega 3 fatty acids, a diet suitable for the heart is also advised, engage in daily physical activity and implement other positive changes that provide benefits for cardiovascular health.

A cardioprotective diet is not only based on omega 3 fatty acids. There are other guidelines to follow to prevent cardiovascular events.

Good for the skin

Some of those responsible for the orange color of the ikura are astaxanthins. It is a type of carotene with several properties, among which highlights antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity. Among its applications, the use to protect the skin has been one of the most studied.

Astaxanthin can increase the skin’s resistance to the action of ultraviolet rays (UVB) and protect against cell damage caused by the sun. For this reason, its inclusion in the diet allows to keep the skin in better condition.

Provides omega 3 for fetal development

As authors Coletta, Bell and Roman point out, omega 3 fatty acids are vital in pregnancy, as they are fundamental components of the retina and the brain of fetuses. For this reason, the consumption of fish and other suitable sources is suggested in pregnant women.

To minimize the risk of exposure to mercury, the recommendations indicate an intake of between 3 and 4 servings per week. Among these, the sources of white and blue fish should be combined and those species with a high content of the toxin should be avoided.

Decrease in inflammation

Inflammation is a normal reaction of the body to any infection or damage to the body. However, when it persists for a time (sometimes without injury to justify it) it can be the source of some chronic diseases.

Animal experiments and human studies show that omega 3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties; therefore, they could be useful in handling these types of problems. Some of the most common are arthritis, Crohn’s disease, lupus, and coronary heart disease.

The ikura as a source of vitamin D

Salmon eggs can be counted within the group of foods that contain vitamin D. This plays a very important role in metabolism and bone development. Its deficiency can cause rickets and osteomalacia.

To this day, it is the object of attention of experts, since it is estimated that the subclinical deficit is important in many countries. This deficiency is linked to a higher incidence of bone fracture and risk of falls.

Likewise, a relationship has been observed between vitamin deficiency and the appearance of some health problems, such as depression, autoimmune diseases and diabetes. Nevertheless, results are conflicting and more research is needed.

How to introduce ikura into the diet

Salmon eggs can be prepared in a wide variety of ways depending on the different regions where they are consumed. The simplest (but no less delicious) is spread on top of thin toast toasts or crackers, either accompanied by butter or alone.

To introduce them in cooking recipes they can be used as a garnish for omelets, scrambled eggs, blinis Russians or canapes. They are also among the ingredients that are part of sushi or are served together with rice and some pickles.

Salmon roe can be part of sushi.

Rice bowl with salmon roe

In Japan, a donburi It is a bowl of rice covered with different ingredients. There are many varieties and one is served with ikura. It is typical of Hokkaido. A simple and ideal recipe to start tasting this delicacy of the sea.

This is the list of ingredients needed to make 1 large bowl:

  • 1 1/2 cups cooked short grain rice (at room temperature).
  • 115 grams of salmon roe.
  • 1 tablespoon of soy sauce.
  • Wasabi for the garnish.
  • Leaves of shiso (optional).
  • 60 milliliters of dashi.
  • Nori seaweed strips.

In a medium bowl, combine the ikura with the soy sauce and dashi. Let it rest for a maximum of 15 to 30 minutes. The dashi it can be bought prepared or cooked at home as well.

Pour the rice into a bowl. Then drain the salmon roe and carefully place it on top of the rice. Decorate with the wasabi, some strips of nori seaweed and leaves shiso if desired. In addition, you can optionally add other ingredients, such as crab meat, sea urchin or slices of sashimi salmon.

Behind this, the dish is now ready to taste. If you want to make a complete Japanese menu, it can be accompanied with soup miso, veal and vegetable soup, vegetables in tempura or stir fry shiitake and bamboo.

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