It may elicit disgust or disappointment at the dinner table, but fish liver — especially that of anchovies — has recently been shown by researchers at the University of Almeria in Spain to be a great source of polyunsaturated fatty acids.
While many in the fishing industry regularly discard the organ, the team of scientists said this is a mistake since they're not only tossing out a highly nutritious food, but that the practice contributes to water pollution.
"Unfortunately, discarding these livers means that all their nutritional properties are missed," said lead author Jose Luis Guil-Guerrero. "If they were used, this would also reduce the environmental pollution caused by throwing innards into the water, which is an inherent problem in the fish product processing industry in coastal areas."
The researchers noted that the fatty acids contained in fish liver are mostly of the omega-3 variety and include eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). The organ also contains omega-6 fatty acids, making for an ideal ratio of healthy fats.
Livers of the greater weever and the blue whiting were shown to have superior health benefits, in addition to anchovies.