Known as a luxurious seafood delicacy, caviar is the roe, or eggs, of different varieties of sturgeon fish. The most common varieties are osetra, beluga, kaluga, sevruga, sterlet, and hackleback.

And while salmon roe is often referred to as red caviar, it’s not true caviar.

Caviar has a slimy texture and a salty, fishy taste, and it pops in your mouth. It’s typically served in small amounts on its own, as a garnish, or on top of plain crackers, cucumber slices, or toast that won’t overpower its mild ocean flavor.

Besides being a culinary experience, enjoying this delicacy may provide numerous health benefits.

Here are six health benefits of caviar that are backed by science.

1. A nutritional powerhouse

Even when served in small amounts, caviar boasts an impressive nutritional profile.

A 1-ounce (28-gram) serving of caviar provides

  • Calories: 75
  • Protein: 7 grams
  • Fat: 5 grams
  • Carbs: 1 gram
  • Vitamin B12: 236% of the Daily Value (DV)
  • Selenium: 34% of the DV
  • Iron: 19% of the DV
  • Sodium: 18% of the DV

As you can see, just one serving packs more than double your daily vitamin B12 needs. Vitamin B12 is essential for the development and function of your nervous system, as well as the production of DNA and red blood cells

A single serving of caviar also provides small amounts of calcium and vitamins A, D, and E

Lastly, this delicacy is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids called eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Perhaps surprisingly, these fatty acids are behind most of its potential health benefits.

The 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that you get 250 mg of EPA and DHA each per day. Conveniently, a 1-ounce (28-gram) serving of caviar provides 800 mg of EPA and 1,080 mg of DHA, which more than covers the recommended amounts .

2. May reduce signs of skin aging

Being rich in omega-3 fatty acids, caviar has been studied for its skin health benefits.

A recent test-tube study suggested that DHA from caviar extract may stimulate adipocytes — or fat cells — to produce adiponectin .

Adiponectin is a molecule that improves your skin’s wound-healing and anti-inflammatory processes, promotes collagen synthesis, and prevents the breakdown of collagen fibers.

Because collagen is important for your skin structure, researchers believe its extract may reduce signs of skin aging .

Further, a 12-week study in 35 women with mild to moderate signs of skin aging observed that a serum containing caviar extract and other ingredients improved skin smoothness, firmness, and dryness along with fine lines and crow’s feet.

However, it’s unknown whether administering caviar extract on its own would have the same effects .

Ultimately, because research in this field is limited to the use of caviar extracts in test-tube studies or in humans in combination with other ingredients, further research is needed to better understand the skin benefits of eating fresh caviar.

3. May improve brain and mental health

Maintaining a healthy mind is important throughout life. Promisingly, research suggests that EPA improves mood disorders and DHA maintains brain structure. Thus, the omega-3 fatty acids in caviar may promote brain and mental health .

Omega-3 fatty acids are key elements of brain cell membranes that help fight inflammation. Researchers have speculated that reducing inflammation in the brain can reduce mental health decline seen in Alzheimer’s disease .

Additionally, studies have found that people with depression often have lower levels of omega-3 fatty acids, suggesting that a lack of this nutrient may be a risk factor for depression .

Some research even suggests that supplementing with 1–2 grams of omega-3s per day may provide antidepressant effects with no serious side effects or interactions with common antidepressant medications .