Sardines are tiny fish usually canned in oil and eaten whole. A 1-cup serving of sardines contains 310 calories and a wealth of key vitamins and minerals. The fish have a strong flavor that can enhance the taste of many of your favorite recipes, while also increasing their nutritional value.
The sardine fish has a distinct appearance that sets it apart from other types of fish. Its body is flat and covered with large, reflective silver scales (although these scales are not found on their head). In the center of their belly is a set of specialized scales that are jagged and point backwards.
Today, sardines in a can – packed in brine, oil and different sauces – are a well-loved kitchen staple. There was even a time that sardines became the single largest component of fish harvesting worldwide. Currently, countries such as France, Spain, Norway and Portugal are the primary producers of this fish.
If you’re currently not consuming sardines very often, but you’ll likely want to change that after reading how impressive the health benefits of sardines nutrition can be.
Finding the best sources of important omega-3 fats from fish may seem confusing- with topics like contamination of fresh waters, depletion of fish populations from the oceans, and toxins and heavy metals frequently making headlines in the press.
But luckily with sardines, you get all of the nutritional benefits without needing to worry about things like sustainability or high levels of mercury contamination.
It’s also easier to use sardines in the recipes you’re already making than you may think; canned sardines can easily be found in most grocery stores and make a great addition to sauces, salads, soups, and more.
Aside from their low mercury levels, sardines are full of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients including omega-3 fats, Selenium, Niacin, Vitamins B2, B12 and D, Calcium, Choline, and Protein.
All these nutrients are vital in helping ward off many diseases and maintaining overall health. In fact, adding sardines to your meals can help you reap these benefits and more:
- May reduce your risk of heart disease – According to studies, the omega-3s in sardines can help break down bad LDL cholesterol, which can then maintain optimal heart health.
- Helps prevent blood clots – Omega-3s break down arterial plaque and help control blood pressure levels.
- Maintain eye health – Consuming oily fish like sardines has been found to reduce the risk of age- related macular degeneration (AMD), a condition that commonly occurs in people ages 50 and older.
- Can give the immune system a boost and fight free radicals – Studies found that fish oil made from sardines helped improve immune system health by increasing the number of immune cells. The selenium in sardines can help neutralize free radicals and protect organs from damage.