Are Sardines Good For You?

Originally getting their name on the Italian island of Sardinia, sardines are one of the most commonly consumed fish in the human diet. Grilled, canned, smoker or pickled, sardines can be found in supermarkets around the world and are very commonplace in many people’s diets. There are about twenty species of fish that may be classified as sardines, and they are closely related to herrings.

Sardines have become widely popular due to their high nutritional value as well as taste and ease of consumption. Canned sardines are super simple to get your hands on, cheap and easy to consume and they will give you a lot of the nutrients you require on a daily basis that you would normally have to consume a variety of other food sources. Let us try to find out if sardines are good for you and why. When it comes to nutritional breakdown, a can of 100 grams of sardines contains about 200 calories. Of the 100 grams, about 11 will be fats, only 10% of which are the saturated “bad” fats. Sardines contain no carbohydrates, but one can give you access to about 23 grams of protein, which is a very good amount. An average adult should consume about one gram of protein per kilogram (about two pounds) of weight so the 23 grams from one can will go a long way.

Sardine Nutrition

A can of sardines also contains a lot of cholesterol. A single can will contain about 50% of the recommended daily cholesterol intake, which is definitely high, and while we absolutely need cholesterol, you should be careful not to take too much of it on a daily basis.

Are Sardines Good For You, a small catch of sardines.

Now when it comes to vitamins and minerals, sardines are a very good source of some crucial nutrients. A can of sardines can give you over 60% of the recommended daily intake for Vitamin D as well as more than the RDI of Vitamin B12. In the mineral department eating a can of sardines can provide 35% of the daily calcium intake, 45% phosphorus, 20% sodium, 70% selenium as well as significant amounts of iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc and copper, all crucial to your health. This composition certainly puts sardines in the superfoods category and the best part of it all is, they are super cheap.

Finally, sardines contain a significant amount of the omega 3 fatty acids, which have recently been linked more and more to heart health, reducing blood pressure and preventing strokes. The amounts of the “bad” minerals such as mercury in sardines are very low as they do not live long enough for such toxins to accumulate, so once again, sardines come on top when it comes to using them in your diet.

Sardine Benefits

So we just said that sardines contain a ton of healthy ingredients which are good for your health. So what exact benefits will you get from consuming sardines. Well, for starters, the extremely high amounts of protein in sardines will be absolutely good for you. Protein is the building blocks of muscles and no healthy diet can exist without enough protein. A can of sardines can give you up to 30% of your daily intake and will keep your muscles energized, building and recovering faster.

Next up, omega 3 fatty acid. The omega 3 acid has been proven to reduce the cholesterol levels in your blood. Overall this will prevent heart problems, irregular rhythm, and strengthen your arteries. A single can of sardines will give you about 25% or the RDI for omega 3 acid and will help keep your heart and blood vessels clean and healthy.

Now, Vitamin B12 is something most of us do not get enough of. This vitamin helps the synthesis of red blood cells and helps you metabolize protein and fats, which comes in great with the injection of protein that a sardine gives you. A single serving of sardines will give you more than 100% of the RDI for this vitamin and this makes it probably the best source of Vitamin B12 in our diets.

Sardine Benefits, some plated sardines.

Vitamin D is also present in extreme amounts. Sardines are one of the rare natural sources with high amounts of Vitamin D and a single serving will give you about 60% of all the Vitamin D you will need to get through a day healthy. This vitamin is crucial for healthy bones as it helps your body absorb Calcium, which too is present in extreme dosage in sardines, with over 50% of RDI coming from a single can of sardines.

So to recap, sardines are good for your muscles due to the high protein concentration, good for your heart with the Omega 3 fatty acid, and good for your skeleton with the Calcium and Vitamin D present in huge quantities. A serving of sardines will also give you all the Vitamin B12 you could ever need, to help metabolize the fats and protein you take in.

Sardine Nutrition, cooked sardines with lemon and lettuce.

But Are Canned Sardines Good For You?

Once we answer the question are sardines really that good for you, it is often followed up by are canned sardines goof for you? Well, the short answer would be, they are not bad for you. Canned sardines are pretty much as good for you as fresh ones, with a few minor drawbacks. For one, they contain some extra salt. The sodium levels in them are higher than you would get from a fresh fish, but eating one or two cans per day will certainly not kill you if you take salt in moderation in your other food. Besides, the sodium won’t be that bad for you anyway.

The calorie count on sardines is a little high, but nothing a healthy diet cannot sustain and especially if you are an athlete who gets in enough exercise you should not have major calorie issue with sardines.

In summary, sardines are really only good for you. Like anything else, don’t eat a kilo per day, but eating a can per day will give your organism a ton of stuff essential to it with very few minor drawbacks. A very important point to make is that canned sardines are probably the cheapest protein source in your supermarket and will come with a bunch of additional benefits as well.

Image Credit

Images used via the creative commons version 2.0 license – https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Image One by Rockyeda – https://www.flickr.com/photos/rockyeda/600350448/

Image Two by Rockyesa – https://www.flickr.com/photos/t0mash/7301487366/

Image Three by Selina N. B. H. – https://www.flickr.com/photos/moonlightbulb/7566284228/

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