Sometimes, it seems that the weirder and more obscure a food or supplement is, the more likely it is to have plethora of purported health benefits.
Take squid ink for instance. It’s about the last thing that you might consider consuming were you to come across it in the wild. And yet there are countless proponents who claim it has all kinds of amazing health benefits. That said, squid ink won’t be quite so unusual for any of the connoisseurs reading this: infusing foods with squid ink is actually a common process for certain types of cuisine (especially in Japan, Italy and Spain) and can give any meal a more striking look.
So what is it that makes this ink such a health boon?
Squid ink is very high in a number of important nutrients. It’s particularly high in antioxidants for instance, which as well all know help to protect the cells and the heart against damage from free radicals. This means that squid ink might be useful in combating the visible signs of ageing, heart disease and various threats to the immune system.
The striking color of squid ink is the result of large amounts of melanin – the very same pigment that gives our skin its color. Additionally, it also contains large quantities of proteins, lipids, minerals, taurine and dopamine.
Iron here is particularly high in quantities and this can help to improve red blood cell count and to combat anemia. Squid ink extracts are sometimes used for this very purpose. Meanwhile, the presence of dopamine means that squid ink could have a number of positive mental effects too – increasing focus, concentration and memory among other things.
On top of the high antioxidant content, squid ink may help to combat cancer by promoting the action of killer cells. In one study this effect was observed in mice, helping to reduce tumor growth (1). It also appears to help protect and improve white blood cell production during chemotherapy (2).
Finally, squid ink is also shown to have effective antibacterial properties, making it a great choice of natural antibiotic!