Sardines, a good source of nutrients like Omega-3s and lean protein making it the most loved food.
The nutrient profile of sardine isn’t limited to Omega-3s fatty acid and protein, it also contains other nutrients like vitamin B12, selenium, phosphorus, calcium, iron, and much more.
Sardines are at the bottom of the food chain so they have the lowest amount of mercury and PCBs contamination.
With the lowest contamination but loaded with nutrients, they prove the best source to get Omega-3 fatty acid and protein.
Let’s explore what a small but a nutrient loaded sardines have to provide.
1) They’re Nutrient Dense
Sardines are a great source of nutrients. They are an excellent source of vitamin B12 and selenium. They are a very good source of Omega-3 fatty acid, phosphorus, protein and vitamin D.
100 grams of Atlantic Sardines (canned in oil, drained solids with bone) contains. (1)
* % DV (Daily Value)
- Vitamin B12 – 8.9 mcg (144% DV)
- Selenium – 52.7 mcg (75%)
- Phosphorus – 490 mcg (49%)
- Omega 3 fatty acid – 1.46 g (61%)
- Protein – 22.33 g
- Vitamin D – 272 IU (68%)
- Calcium – 382 mg (38%)
- Vitamin B3 – 5.2 mg (26%)
Omega-3s fatty acid:
Fishes are recommended to eat fish to increase of Omega 3 fatty acid intake.
Large fishes are a rich source of Omega 3 who feeds on planktons that consume Omega 3 rich algae. But the concern is with larger fishes, they are a good source of Omega 3 but as they feed on smaller fishes, the mercury rises to an unhealthy level for human consumption. For a better solution, you need to limit your fish intake and also eat smaller fishes.
Among those small fishes are sardines. They are small but they have a great amount of Omega 3 to provide. Sardines are found to be the best source of Omega-3s fatty acid, and are better than Omega 3 supplements.
With consumption of fish, one of the most important concern is about the pollutants like mercury. Sardines aren’t considered as good food due to its high Omega 3 fatty acids, it is also due to lowest contamination.
In an 8-ounce serving, it provides at least 250 mg of omega-3s with the lowest level of mercury( less than 216 ppb), and PCBs (less than 11 ppb). (2)
Sardines can be the best food source to get your Omega 3 fatty acid. With consumption of sardines, you receive enough Omega 3 and a great treat to enjoy fish without the fear of mercury which is often the main concern while eating fish.
Omega-3s have an anti-inflammatory property which is the reason you should get enough of these nutrients. As major of food don’t provide Omega-3s, you should try to eat high omega-3s rich foods like fishes.
They have anti-inflammatory property, improve cardiovascular health, and required for healthy brain development. The benefit of omega-3s is not limited, instead, it plays major functions from cognitive improvement, fighting depression, skin health, better sleep, can protect from Alzheimer’s disease and Dementia, etc.
With Omega 3, sardines provides us with a wide range of healthy vitamins and minerals. They provide a good amount of iodine, copper, vitamin B2 and choline.
Wrap up: Eating sardines will provide a high dose of Omega-3s and other essential vitamin and minerals. They are a good source of Omega-3s fatty acid with the least contaminants like mercury and PCBs compared to other fishes.
2. It Provides Complete Cognitive Benefits
Eating fish rich in Omega 3 fatty can provide an overall benefit to cognitive health.
Omega 3 fat concentration is high in brain and nervous system where they are needed to provide protection from inflammation, build healthy cell membranes, promotes neuron growth, optimal functioning of neurons, protect cells, decrease cell death, and improve nerve transmission. (3)
Omega 3 fatty are divided into three types: ALA, DHA, and EPA.
ALA is found in plant-based omega 3 rich foods like chia seeds, walnuts, flaxseeds and hemp seeds for example. While you get major of DHA and EPA in fatty fishes like sardines, tuna, salmon, mackerel, for example.
The Omega-3s ALA is converted into DHA and EPA, but the body is not efficient in that conversion.
DHA is most important for the brain as it accounts for 97% percent of Omega 3 fatty acids in the brain. (4)
Let’s discuss how Omega 3 Benefits complete mental health…
A. Depression and Anxiety
Depression and anxiety are the most common problem in today’s world.
B. Prevents cognitive decline
A study found that consuming omega 3s rich fish have a higher level of grey matter. Higher the level of gray matter, better will be the intelligence and memory. (10)
Consumption of fish rich in Omega 3 not only increase brain cells volume, it even protect from the damage caused by inflammation due to its anti-inflammatory property.
Lack of omega-3 food in a diet is related to age-related mental decline, and increased risk of Alzheimer and Dementia.
DHA is required for the production of sleep-hormone melatonin. (11)
Wrap Up: With high Omega-3s in diet, you improve brain health, prevent age-related mental decline, and get a better sleep.
3. They are Best For Heart Health
Cardiovascular disease is the top killer.
Eating fishes rich in Omega-3s can benefit your cardiovascular health.
Omega-3s found in fishes, especially EPA & DHA have been found to lower triglycerides and cholesterol level. Studies have found that moderate consumption of EPA & DHA (approximately 250mg/day) can reduce the risk of death due to cardiac arrest. (14)
Vitamin B12 along with vitamin B6 and folate can lower homocysteine level in blood. Homocysteine is a common amino acid in the blood. A high level of homocysteine can increase the risk of heart disease as it is responsible for artery damage ( atherosclerosis due to hardening of arteries) and blood clots. (15)
Omega-3s also prevent blood clot and break down arterial plaque. It also has an anti-inflammatory property which prevents damage to arteries and LDL cholesterol. (16)
Selenium acts as an antioxidant property which lowers the marker of inflammation, a reason for heart disease.
It also increases the level of glutathione peroxidase, a powerful antioxidant. (17)
Wrap up: With heart-protecting nutrients like Omega-3s, vitamin B12, vitamin B6, folate and selenium you get maximum protection from heart disease.
4. Sardines Strengthens Bone Health
Eating sardines can be a better way to get essential nutrients that support healthy bone.
Vitamin D plays an important role in bone health since it is required for the absorption of calcium. It is tough to get vitamin D from food so it’s suggested to get enough sunlight.
Sardines are a great source of vitamin D and its a better alternative for people who don’t get adequate sunlight. It is also great for people who don’t eat dairy product or are lactose intolerant. (18)
100 gram of sardine contains 490 mcg (49%) of phosphorous which are required to strengthen the bone matrix. (19)
Vitamin B12 lower the homocysteine level – preventing loss of bone mass due to high homocysteine. (20)
And the final nutrient for a healthy bone is calcium. Combining all these bone nourishing nutrient, sardines proves the best food for bone health.
Wrap up: With a high amount of bone-nourishing nutrients vitamin D, calcium, phosphorus, & vitamin B12, sardine proves the best food for bone health.
5. High Protein Source & Weight Loss Friendly
Eat lean protein to meet your protein requirement – a recommendation to cut unwanted calorie and unhealthy fat intake.
If you are planning to lose weight and looking for a healthy source of protein and healthy fat then prefer sardines. They are the best alternative to the meat which is loaded with a high amount of saturated fat.
Sardines are a source of lean protein with healthy fat, both are satiety nutrients. When you eat sardines, you get a good amount of protein and fat that make you full in a small serving. While protein is responsible for slow digestion which is effective to prevent frequent hunger pangs and craving. (21, 22)
Consumption of protein-rich food can lower your appetite as it takes time to digest. With lower appetite and longer satiety, you won’t feel the need to eat frequently.
Studies have found that people eating fish lost approximately 1 kg more weight after 4 weeks, compared to a diet with no seafood. (23)
Wrap up: With satiety nutrient like protein and fat you won’t feel frequent hunger pangs. While sardines are an example of a healthy and lean-protein source.
6. It Can Control Blood Sugar
The combination of protein and fat slow down the digestion and absorption of food. With slow digestion and absorption, there will be no sugar spikes thus prevent insulin resistance.
Wrap up: With slow digestion and absorption, there won’t be any sugar spikes or crash.
Need more reasons to add sardines in your diet.
They are a great source of health-boosting nutrients and eating them will provide some of the essential nutrients in a small serving.
Apart from nutrient density, they are budget friendly. And the concern with adding any food to the diet is their taste, you even get that in sardines. With all these benefits it would be a mistake to miss such food.
People with kidney problems or grout should avoid as it naturally contains some compound that increases the production of uric acids.
Check the label for salt content in canned sardine as they are high in salt.