Every New Years Eve my Mom and Dad would put out a tray of caviar and champagne. In good years it was a little bowl of Beluga– and in bad times ( my Dad was a blacklisted writer) it was a bigger bowl of red caviar from the supermarket. I have always somehow believed that this was a healthy way to start the New Year.
This year, I decided to check it out. On the plus side all types of caviar from the most expensive ( beluga, seruga and oserta) to the little jars of red or black fish roe on supermarket shelves, have about the same nutritional profile. On the plus side, one tablespoon of caviar has a full days supply of vitamin B12. But every animal protein– eggs, chesse, fish, meat and poultry is loaded with B12, so unless you’re a vegan, this is not a key selling point. A tablespoon of caviar has 40 calories, and about 3 grams of omega 3– excellent since this has been linked to so many health benefits. But here’s where things take a darker turn. That little tablespoon has 94 grams of cholesterol ( it is an egg after all). Since caviar is often served with a topping of chopped eggs or in an omlette, you can be delievering quite a cholesterol payload to your body.
And then there is the issue of sodium. The priciest caviar at $150/oz has 200-300 mg of sodium in a scant tablespoon. The more affordable red salmon caviar ( $8/4oz jar) has a whopping 700-800mg of sodium per tablespoon.
Washing down salty caviar with champagne is actually not a bad idea- in moderation. A study published in 2007 found that moderate consumption of champagne may help preserve brain cells. One last piece of advice. Because the alcohol is mixed with bubbles in champagne, its absorbed more easily you can get get drunker quicker. Keep in mind that alcohol in any form attacks collagen and accelerates wrinkling, so limit your champagne to one delicious glass.