They say that there a lot of fish in the sea, and that is certainly correct. While many are very common and edible, one of the most common that is eaten by humans is the sardine. Whether you are eating them fresh or out of the can (like many of us do), sardines have a ton of nutritional value. Even the sardine oil is used for a lot of different methods, including in paint. Don’t worry, you can still use the oil.
There have been a lot of studies surrounding the nutritional benefits of sardines, and a lot of positive results have been found. No matter how you are eating sardines, you can get many of these health benefits. Even if they aren’t as common in the United States these days, there are plenty of sardine eaters that have probably already noticed these benefits. Let’s breakdown the nutritional value and the great benefits that you can get.
Nutrition of Sardines
Though there are going to be different ways to get sardines, the most common way is to drain the canned version. While the fat and cholesterol content might shock some people at first, there are plenty of beneficial vitamins and minerals. For starters, you are getting nearly three quarters of your daily recommended protein amount. As for the vitamins, you are getting a fully daily dose of vitamin D, and twice your daily recommendation of vitamin B12. Other abundant vitamins include niacin (39 percent), riboflavin (20 percent), vitamin E (15 percent), vitamin B6 (12 percent) and pantothenic acid (10 percent).
There are other vitamins found in smaller amounts, but it’s the minerals that really stand out. Each serving of sardines has a full daily amount of selenium, while more than 70 percent of your phosphorus recommendation and 50 percent of your calcium. All of the minerals are very high in content here, including iron, magnesium, potassium, sodium, zinc and copper. It’s not a food you’d eat everyday, but including sardines in your diet brings a lot of nutrition.
The biggest benefit that you’re going to see from eating sardines is what they can do for your heart. Because one of the essential parts of sardines is the amount of omega-3 fatty acids, you get help in a lot of different aspects. Omega-3 fatty acids can help you lower the amount of LDL (bad) cholesterol in your blood, while also freeing up the blood flow by breaking down plaque.
That alone is going to prevent many different heart diseases, and even stroke. Blood sugar is another big part of your heart health, and sardines can manage your body’s blood sugar to avoid crashing and spiking. All of that combined with the fact that sardines are packed with the ability to reduce inflammation, your heart is going to be in much better shape from eating them more often.
Something that a lot of us take for granted until it’s too late is our eye health. Before you know it, aging starts to come quickly and can bring on a lot of problems to your vision. One of the most common things is macular degeneration, which you can prevent from eating more sardines. There are many different types of seafoods that can prevent this disease, and sardines are among the best.
Pretty much all of us would like to burn fat and build muscle, and eating sardines can be one of the best foods to help you achieve that goal. That aren’t too many calories, and the amount of protein without the high carbohydrate level will help boost muscle growth. In turn, more muscle means a faster metabolism, allowing you to lose weight faster (especially if you are exercising more often).
Even if you aren’t trying to lose weight, adding muscle can bring a huge benefit. You will also feel more full, allowing yourself the willpower to avoid snacking on foods that aren’t as health. Sardines are a big part of the Mediterranean Diet, which has been ranked as the best one out there.
Sardines not only help you prevent heart disease and stroke, but other serious diseases, as well. The omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins found in sardines act to help fight free radicals that can cause chronic diseases such as cancer. Vitamin D is another big component in the battle against cancer, and you can boost your immune system overall to help fight infections.
Skin and Bones
Since sardines are so filled with vitamins and minerals, you’ll get a huge boost to both your skin and bones. Starting with the bones; calcium, phosphorus and other minerals play a huge part in keeping your bones strong, preventing density loss. This even helps with your teeth, as you get the same vitamin D that you would from a glass of milk. Sardines can allow you to prevent bone problems such as osteoporosis down the road.
The omega-3 fatty acids that we’ve mentioned so much help your skin to look healthier and glowing, preventing signs of aging. Free radicals can cause dangerous illnesses such as cancer, and even aging signs such as wrinkles. While you might not rub fish oil on your skin because of the smell, eating sardines will go a long way.
Finally, the fatty acids found in sardines will help your brain in many different ways. Reducing signs or even preventing depression can be tough, but the fatty acids help by boosting your mood according to studies. The same fatty acids can also prevent other neurological diseases that are commonly found in older people such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s. There are many different “brain foods” out there, and sardines are consistently ranked among the best for your mental health.
Summing it Up
When it comes to the possible negatives of sardines, they are probably ones that you have heard about. Seafood always seems to bring a scare of mercury poisoning, but sardines are often among the lowest mercury contaminated fish. That has always been the big concern, but as long as you are reading the packages and sticking with name brand sardines, you are almost certain to never see problems with contamination.
Pregnant women should be limiting themselves on certain types of fish such as sardines, but the rest of us can eat them rather often. Sardines often have a high cholesterol content on the label, but this can be very misleading. Since sardines can actually help you lower your LDL cholesterol thanks to the omega-3 fatty acids, you should worry about the fat and cholesterol numbers on the label. With that said, you can throw most of your concerns about sardines away while enjoying a very common lunch food!