The lowly dilis is a rich source of calcium, protein, and Omega-3 fatty acids

There is a local fish that is available in the Philippines the whole year round which is surprisingingly healthy and nutritious, in fact more nutritious than milk. This fish is the dilis or anchovy.

In coastal villages in the country, fresh dilis soaked in vinegar and prepared very much similar to the kilawen is a favorite pulutan of fisherfolks. Deep fried dilis is also a favorite dish. Dilis cooked with little water and  vinegar spiced with sliced ginger and sibuyas is a common menu among farmers, workers and other low-income families.

A report by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) showed that the dilis, though lowly in the eyes of many Filpinos especially the affluent, is much more nutritious than dairy products such as milk, and meat and other expensive varieties of fish.

According to the report of FNRI, dilis is a good source of calcium  as 100 grams of the fresh dilis contains 752 mg of calcium, more than double the amount of 340.55 mg found in a cup of milk.

Calcium is a vital element in any healthy human diet. Calcium is an essential mineral for healthy bones, gums and teeth. It prevents obesity, protects the heart muscles, helps the nervous system to maintain the proper pressure in the arteries, prevents cancer in the colon. Adequate amounts of calcium lessens the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome such as dizziness, irritability, depression and hypertension. It also controls blood pressure.

Dilis is also very high on protein and is considered as an essential nutrient for growing children as well as older people. Five dilis have nine grams of protein and only fifty-five calories. Adding a few to a salad can make it more filling, so you’re less likely to overindulge on other foods. It is a popular choice of the low cab dieter because they are also free of carbohydrates.

Dilis like sardines is highly heart-friendly as the most beneficial types of polyunsaturated fats is found in this fish. Several studies have shown that people who get high amounts of Omega-3 fatty acids from fish such as dilis tend to have increased HDL cholesterol and decreased triglycerides. HDL cholesterol is good cholesterol. Polyunsaturated fatty acids helps lower cholesterol level and reduce the risk of heart disease.