Sardines are packed with essential nutrients that gives them the status of a super food. They secure a top place as one of the healthiest and nutrient-dense foods available on this planet. Health Benefits of Sardines are numerous as they are full of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B12, selenium, and protein. Sardines are considered as super healthy, affordable, delicious, and budget-friendly food.
Sardines have high content of minerals, and vitamins that make them a versatile inclusion to a nutritious diet. Their health benefits range from low levels of inflammation to improved bone health and steady weight loss. Before you give them a try, let us take a look about its nutrition content, health benefits, associated risks, and variety of ways to include them in your diet.
Sardines have been there since centuries. Their name is derived from an island of Italy, “Sardinia”, where they were found in abundance. These small fish can be easily found in the Pacific, Mediterranean, and Atlantic seas. There are over twenty different varieties of sardines that are consumed by people all across the world. All these varieties are characterized by small bones, silvery color, and oiliness and provide the same level of benefit to the people.
As they eat only plankton, these fishes are devoid of toxic elements like mercury. This makes it the safest fish than other available fishes in the market. Sardines are extreme in terms of smell and taste. They may appear scary due to skin and bones in them. Due to their perishable nature, but are mostly available in canned form. The high nutritional content of Sardines makes it the healthiest and affordable protein-rich canned foods.
Nutrition Facts of Sardines
While talking about the health benefits of Sardines we should first take a quick look at the nutritional values they offer. Sardines have high amounts of heart-healthy, protein and micro-nutrients that includes selenium, vitamin B12, and phosphorus. Some other nutritional values are explained below –
100 grams of Atlantic sardines have following nutritional content such as,
- 190 calories
- 21.8 grams protein (that makes it the cheapest source of protein)
- 10.2 grams fat
- 7.8 mcg vitamin B12
- 48.1 mcg selenium
- 250 international units of vitamin D
- 445 mg phosphorus
- 340 mg calcium
- 4.3 mg niacin
- 2.1 mg iron
- 356 mg potassium
- 35.3 mg magnesium
- 0.2 mg copper
- 1.9 mg vitamin E
- 0.2 mg vitamin B6
- 1.2 mg zinc, and
- traces of manganese, pantothenic acid, folate, and thiamine.
1. Omega-3 fatty acids
Sardines have good amounts of Omega-3 fatty acids like EPA and DHA fats that boosts heart health. These fatty acids exhibit remarkable anti-inflammatory properties that makes it an important addition in diet of people who suffers from the brain, and heart, diseases caused due to inflammation. Omega-3 fatty acids lower the chances of blood clots and blood pressure in the person. Omega-3 helps in restoring optimal levels of cholesterol, hormone and fertility in a person.
Sardines are a good source of vitamin B-12 that aids in the operation of cardiovascular system in the body. They are a good source of energy. As there are not many sources of Vitamin D, its deficiency can contribute to several health issues, and cancers in the body. A single can of sardines provides half of the daily recommended amount of this vitamin. This ensures that you will have stronger and dense bones throughout the life.
Calcium is one of the important nutrients required by the body. As Sardines are consumed with bones, they provide excellent amounts of calcium to people. This makes it a good selection for people who are tolerant towards lactose, allergic to dairy items, or do not get adequate calcium from their diet. Due to this reason many views it as an alternative form of calcium.
Sardines are composed of various beneficial minerals that includes niacin, potassium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, protein, and zinc. Zinc helps in boosting immunity system in the body and protein builds healthy muscles, and bones. Iron facilitates to transport oxygen and nutrients to different areas of the body.
Sardines is one of the ideal sources to obtain Phosphorus. This essential mineral is required to keep your teeth, skin and bone healthy.
Sardines are loaded with copper, that is immensely vital for the production of energy from carbohydrates stored within the cells of the body.
Lack of selenium in the body leads to weakening of thyroid gland, reduced immunity power, hormonal imbalances, mood swings, cardiac ailment, and reproductive issues. Selenium is needed for the synthesis of glutathione in the body. This mineral along with iodine works synergistically to promote adrenal, and thyroid health in the person. Sardines provides a small amount of iodine and the full amount of RDA of selenium to obtain the necessary balance of these essential minerals for the sound functioning of the body.
Health Benefits of Sardines
Sardines are a small fish but has a very large nutrient profile. It is one of those foods that contains plenty of nutrition in a single ounce. Let use see in what ways sardines can benefit your health.
1. Protect Bone Health
Sardines are a rich source of three important nutrients as calcium, phosphorus and vitamin D that helps in preserving a healthy muscular structure in the body. On eating foods that are dense in calcium, it can prevent loss of bone mineral density and repair damaged bones after injuries. Sardines are rich in these three minerals and aids in the regulation of metabolism of bones in the body.
2. Treats Mental Disorders
The brain is the vital organ in the body that is made up of sixty percentage of fat in it. Obtaining the right amount of fatty acids is critical for the sound functioning of the nervous system and mood of the person. The healthy fat and oil content of sardines serve as a valuable “brain food.”
The high content of omega-3 fatty acids in sardines prevent mood related disorders, such as depression, mood fluctuations and anxiety in a person. These essential fats play a big role in enhancing mood and preserving healthy functioning of brain in the body.
3. Safe for Expecting Mothers
Health benefits of Sardines are not only limited to general people but expecting mothers can also safely consume them, of course with the advice from their health advisor. Generally pregnant ladies are advised not to consume fishes due to high level of mercury and other toxic content in it. It can lead to delayed development, and damage of the brain of the fetus. For this reason, pregnant women are advised to avoid shark, king mackerel, tile-fish, and swordfish. Sardines have the lowest amounts of mercury in them that makes it safe for expecting mothers to eat them in limited amounts once or twice a week.
4. Control Blood Glucose Levels
Sardines have significant amounts of protein, and healthy fats that works towards reducing the rate of absorption of glucose levels in the blood. This food when combined with slow digesting carbohydrates will reduce the release of glucose in the blood.
This helps in the prevention of sugar levels in the blood. The high protein, and fat content of Sardines makes it beneficial for people with diabetes, metabolic disorder or health conditions linked to insulin resistance.
5. Reduces inflammation
Sardines are potent source of two remarkable fatty acids as EPA and DHA. Both these acids help in lowering inflammation that is considered to be the root cause of major ailments like heart ailments, diabetes, cancer, arthritis etc. Healthy fats in sardines also helps in reducing signs of aging that are caused due to inflammation in the skin. It imparts a healthy and natural glow to your skin.
6. Promote weight reduction
Sardines are loaded with healthy fats, and proteins that makes them the healthiest fish to include in the diet. High protein content gives you a feel of fullness and control food cravings. By reducing unnecessary snacking, it promotes weight loss in the person. In one research, it was also found that addition of seafood to a diet helped people shed 1 kilo in a month.
7. Boost heart health
Sardines are good source of healthy cholesterol, i.e., “Omega 3 fatty acids” that plays a key part in controlling heart ailment in a person. Omega-3 fatty acids that includes DHA, and EPA prevents heart disease and breaks down bad cholesterol in your body. Regular consumption of omega-3 fats reduce bad cholesterol levels and high blood pressure gradually and safely.
8. Protects against cancer
Sardines exhibits effective antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties that is beneficial in treating specific types of cancer in the body. Presence of selenium is beneficial in stopping oxidative stress due to free radicals and safeguarding the organs from free-radicals induced damage.
9. Builds healthy immune system
Presence of high amounts of zinc, and vitamin C, and vitamin A contributes to developing healthy immunity system in the body. These powerful antioxidants enhance defense mechanism of the body by increasing the number of immunity cells in the body.
10. Lowers the chances age-related macular degeneration.
Age related macular degeneration is mostly seen in people who are above fifty years of age. Retinal, and macular degeneration causes loss of vision. On consuming fish like sardines, it can effectively reduce the chances of developing “age related macular degeneration” in a person.
How to Buy Sardines?
Once you educate yourselves completely about the health benefits of Sardines, then you should learn how to buy them. Sardines are easily available in canned form in grocery stores. Choose canned sardines that are available in BPA-free cans and packed in water or olive oil in place of refined oils like soybean oil. This will help you cut down on unhealthy fat and calories.
Though once canned, these fishes last for a longer time, but it is advised to check the expiry date before you buy them. If you are buying fresh sardines, look for a few important things such as fresh smell, bright eyes, glossy skin and firm texture.
How to Eat Sardines?
Enjoy them in fresh, roasted, or grilled form to obtain the nutritional punch that this delectable fish has to offer. The best way to consume sardines in their fresh form within a few days from the date of purchase. If you have brought canned sardines, you can store them in the freezer for several days easily.
Sardines have strong fishy taste, and smell. They are salty in taste and are naturally oily in nature. If you want to reduce their fishy taste to some extent, the right way is by soaking them in yogurt, or buttermilk, and then grill them, or use with other strong-flavored herbs, and other ingredients.
Sardines taste awesome when used in pizza, Greek, Caesar or Spring salads, casserole, curry, sauces, salad dressings, and scrambled egg. You can also eat this versatile food in the form of your main course, or as a healthier cracker with hot sauce and cottage cheese in your evening snack. Before you use sardines, it is always advised to rinsed them under cold water. In case of fresh sardines, they need to be gutted and rinsed.
Health Risks Associated With Consumption Of Sardines
Sardines is a nutritious food, but is also high in salt, calorie, and uric acid that can pose health issues in certain sections of people.
- These fishes have substantial amounts of purines in them. So, people who suffer from gout or other type of disorders should consult a doctor before they consume it.
- People who have kidney issues should avoid consumption of sardines. This is because this fish has a substance that synthesizes uric acid in them. When you eat sardines, your body will buildup uric acid and that can aggravate your existing health condition.
- As canned sardines are salty in taste, eating them can increase salt content in your body. So, if you are on a low-salt diet, then you should avoid consuming canned form of sardines.
- As sardines are high in calorie, people who are overweight, obese or who want to avoid high calorie food, should not eat them.
Sardines is a small and affordably priced fish, that is delicious, and full of goodness. Looking at the above health advantages, it makes worth giving a try. Try adding it to your dinner, and you will definitely love them for its flavour, and nutrition.
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