If you are wondering how the heck a fish like sardines be the healthiest food in the world? You are not alone.
Once you have read about the nutritional profile and health benefits of eating sardines, you will change your mind.
Named after an Italian island called Sardinia, sardines are the safest fish to eat.
Since sardines feed solely on plankton, they do not concentrate toxins such as mercury and other metals like other fishes do.
Sardines have been part of a staple diet for centuries but the credit goes to emperor Napoleon Bonaparte who popularized this humble little fish. He also initiated canning of sardines since they are highly perishable.
This small fish is packed with a punch of nutrition and some of the prominent health benefits of eating sardines include heart disease prevention, prevent certain types of cancers and age-related macular degeneration.
It also helps in strengthening bones, building the immune system, insulin resistance. Women would love it for it helps rejuvenate the skin.
Sardines Offer Amazing Nutrition
A can of sardines is packed with energy and rich in proteins, fats, vitamins, and trace minerals. All these elements promote overall health and help in preventing many diseases.
Sardines are also one of the best sources of essential omega-3 fatty acids in the world which provide both EPA and DHA.
Below is the nutrition profile of what you get from just a can of Atlantic Sardines.
Weight: 3.20 oz (90.72 g)
GI: Very Low
|Nutrient Value||RDA %||Nutrient Value||RDA %|
|Carbohydrates||0.00 g||0||Copper||0.17 mg||19%|
|Protein||22.33 g||45%||Iodine||36.00 mcg||24%|
|Dietary Fiber||0.00 g||0||Iron||2.65 mg||15%|
|Fat – total||10.39 g||–||Magnesium||35.38 mg||9%|
|omega-3 fats||1.46 g||61%||Mangnese||0.10 mg||5%|
|Omega-6 Fats||3.21 g||–||Phosphorus||444.52 mg||64%|
|Monounsaturated Fat||3.51 g||–||Potassium||360.15 mg||10%|
|Polyunsaturated Fat||4.67 g||–||Selenium||47.81 mcg||87%|
|Cholesterol||128.82 mg||–||Sodium||458.13 mg||31%|
|Saturated Fat||1.39 g||–||Zinc||1.19 mg||11%|
|Nutrient||Value||RDA %||Nutrient||Value||RDA %|
|Vitamin A||97.98 IU||2%||Vitamin B1||0.07 mg||6%|
|Vitamin D||175.09 IU||44%||Vitamin B2||0.21 mg||16%|
|Vitamin E||1.85 mg||12%||Vitamin B3||4.76 mg||30%|
|Vitamin K||2.36 mcg||3%||Vitamin B6||0.15 mg||9%|
|Choline||68.04 mg||16%||Vitamin B12||8.11 mcg||338%|
|Folate||9.07 mcg||2%||Pantothenic Acid||0.58 mg||12%|
8 Health Benefits Of Eating Sardines
1. Sardines Provide Essential Vitamins & Trace Minerals
Rich in Coenzyme Q10:
Also referred to as CoQ10 is a powerful antioxidant found in every cell in the body.
Sardines provide high levels of CoQ10 which fight and neutralize free radicals responsible for cell membrane damage, DNA tampering, and cell death. They may also help prevent and reduce the damage caused by free radicals.
Though our bodies make CoQ10, there could be many reasons which can cause deficiency like low dietary intake, or high CoQ10 use by the body.
According to MayoClinic some of the major symptoms of CoQ10 deficiency include heart failure, raised blood pressure, certain arrhythmias, and chest pain. In many cases, CoQ10 supplementing may be required depending on the cause.
Early evidence suggests that CoQ10 may help with heart-related conditions like heart failure, improve cell energy production, reduce blood pressure, Age-related macular degeneration (AMD), Alzheimer’s disease to suggest a few.
However, more studies are needed to evaluate a higher dose of CoQ10 for a longer treatment period.
2. Excellent Source of Vitamin B12:
Sardines are one of the best sources of this vitamin. B12 is a water-soluble vitamin also known as cobalamin. It plays a vital role in the normal functioning of the brain, maintain overall brain health, nervous system, energy levels, blood formation, DNA synthesis and more.
According to an annual review, Dietary vitamin B12 deficiency is a severe problem in America, Mexico, the Indian subcontinent, and selected areas in Africa.
Vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms could include diarrhea, fatigue, shortness of breath, numbness, nervousness or tingling in their extremities.Severy deficiency could even lead to neurological damage.
3. Sardines Provide 80% RDA of Selenium:
An essential nutrient needed for healthy heart, joints and eyes and plays a critical role in DNA synthesis, immune and reproductive system. It may also help fight certain cancers.
Our bodies are dependent on external sources of selenium since it cannot produce on its own. Sardines offer an excellent source of this trace mineral and one can of sardines can provide you with up to 80% of your daily requirement.
Since selenium is an excellent antioxidant, it helps oxidative stress caused by free radicals.This important mineral helps regulate metabolism, normal thyroid function and good immune system. It can also help prevent cancers due to its antioxidant properties.
A deficiency in selenium can result in a poor immune system, hormone imbalances, mood swings, reproductive problems, thyroid impairment, and heart disease.
A note of caution: A little selenium goes a long way for good health and well-being, too much of it in the diet or supplements can be toxic.
4. Sardines Are Rich Dietary Source Of Vitamin-D & Calcium:
Vitamin D is a vital nutrient and helps absorption of calcium which is crucial for bone formation, it’s growth and strength.
Both these nutrients go hand in hand. Sardines provide a very good dietary source of vitamin-D and calcium. They also help protect the immune system and have anti-inflammatory properties linked to the prevention of cancer.
is an extremely vital mineral for the body, strong bones, teeth and stabilize blood pressure.
It is also needed for proper functioning of heart, muscles, nerves and for blood to clot. Calcium deficiency can lead to osteoporosis and many studies published show that low calcium intake is associated with low bone mass and high fracture rates.
Calcium deficiency produces no obvious symptoms in the short term. Long term deficiency symptoms include osteopenia which if untreated can lead to osteoporosis, unhealthy teeth (tooth decay), muscle tension, unhealthy levels of high blood pressure
According to National nutrition survey, most people are not getting enough calcium needed to grow and maintain healthy bones. Just eating 90 grams of Sardines can provide you with 35% of recommended daily allowance.
It is also known as the sunshine vitamin because it can be produced in the body with mild sun exposure. People who spend most time indoors could be deficient of this vital nutrient.
Your body requires adequate vitamin D intake for regulation of calcium and phosphorus absorption, maintenance of healthy bones and teeth. It supports brain, nervous, and immune system health. It plays important role in diabetes management by regulating insulin levels, supports lung function and also improves cardiovascular health.
Vitamin D deficiencies may not cause any symptoms which make it difficult to diagnose until vitamin D levels get very low or have been low for some time. Some of the symptoms include bone abnormality called rickets, bone aches, muscle weakness, unexplained fatigue, unable to think clearly.
Sardines are an excellent source of vitamin D and you can meet up to 40% of your daily recommended needs from just a can of sardines.
5. Improves Heart Health And Reduces Inflammation
The American Heart Association recommends eating fatty fish like sardines, salmon, mackerel, herring, lake trout etc at least twice a week because they are a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids.
Fish like sardines contain unsaturated fatty acids, which may help lower your cholesterol.
The main and most beneficial nutrient in sardines are the omega-3 fatty acids, a type of unsaturated fatty acid. Omega-3 helps reduce inflammation in the body which leads to heart disease and even strokes.
Omega-3 fatty acids from dietary sources like sardines are rich in both EPA and DHA which help decrease triglycerides levels, help lower blood pressure. It also reduces blood clotting which is the main reason for stroke and heart failure risk. Omega-3 fatty acids may also reduce irregular heartbeats.
6. Protect Against Age-Related Macular Degeneration
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD), as the name suggests is a condition usually seen among people who are 50 and above. Over the years macular and retinal degeneration may also result in vision loss.
According to a study published by European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, consuming fatty fish like sardines (more than once a month versus less than once a month) was associated with a 60% reduction in risk for AMD.
7. Healthy Skin
Eating sardines offer the world of nutrients which are so good for your health. Apart from nourishing you, it also rejuvenates skin.
Antioxidants rich sardines protect your skin from the oxidative damage caused by sun, pollution etc. Eating sardines on a regular basis would give you a healthier and beautiful skin and protect from inflammation and its damages.
8. Helps Lose & Maintain Weight
Including sardines in your meals and snacks could help you lose weight because they are high in proteins as well as healthy fats. These small fishes are low in carb calorie and high in nutrients which make them the ultimate superfood to lose weight.
Even if your objective is not weight control or weight loss, sardines help maintain a healthy metabolism, blood sugar levels, good energy levels and feeling of satiety for overall health.
Fish like sardines are among the eight food types which are considered to be among the major food allergens in the U.S.
According to a research, sardines may contain organic vasoactive amines compounds like tyramine, serotonin, typtamine, phenylethylamine and histamine which can cause allergic reactions.
These compounds mat cause allergies reactions and the symptoms could include increased heart rate, asthma, elevated blood pressure, headaches, constriction of the of the intestine muscles.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency suggest that eating up to 12 ounces of low-mercury fish a week is safe during pregnancy. According to the agencies, some low-mercury fish that are also rich in omega-3s are salmon, herring, anchovies, caviar, and sardines.
Eating fish wich contain high levels of mercury during pregnancy has been associated with brain damage and development delays to the fetus. Since sardines are one of the lowest sources of mercury amongst all fishes, it is considered safe.
The FDA and EPA advise pregnant women not to eat fishes like swordfish, shark, king mackerel, and tilefish because they may contain high levels of mercury which may harm an unborn baby’s developing the nervous system. Mercury bypasses the placenta and goes straight to a baby’s brain leading to brain damage.
How To Enjoy Sardines
If you live in an area where fresh sardines are available easily, you are the luckiest person to be able to pick up fresh stock. In case you do not have access to fresh sardines, you can always pick up canned sardines which require minimal cooking.
If you are one of those who does not like briny, salty and strong fishy taste, there are many ways around it and include this nutritious fish in your diet.
Sardines go well with lemon and olive oil that makes them go well in salads. Add salad dressing of your choice or just squeeze in a lemon throw in some chopped onions and parsley and you are ready to go.
Use your own variations, add it to your eggs, as pizza toppings, in sandwiches, choices are unlimited.
Nutrition Data Source: whfoods