Why it’s worth your while eating sardines, you ask? You’d be surprised, but sardines’ Omega-3 content is about the highest there is! What’s more, sardines are also extraordinarily high in several important minerals and vitamins.

If you’re not completely sold on sardines yet, your opinion on them is bound to change before you finish reading this article, because sardines have a plethora of health benefits. Another reason why sardines are superior to other fish is their smaller size, which results in minimal mercury-levels, which in turn lets you enjoy their above-mentioned benefits without being concerned about your mercury intake. Sardines can be used for plenty of recipes, and it’s even easier than you might think: nowadays many types of canned sardines come deboned, skinned and even with their spines already removed, thus, they are instantly ready to be eaten.

Below you can read about the nutritional values of sardines per 85 grams (and how much percent those values are of the Reference Intake for an adult).

  • Vitamin B12 (338 %)
  • Selenium (87 %)
  • Omega-3 fatty acids (61 %)
  • Vitamin D (44 %)
  • Calcium (35 %)
  • Vitamin B3 (30 %)
  • Iodine (24 %)
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But what are some more specific benefits of eating sardines?

1. they reduce the risk of inflammatory diseases

Sardines are one of the best natural sources of Omega-3 fatty acids: Having 80 grams of sardines already covers more than 50 % of your Dietary Reference Intake. Sardines contain EPA and DHA fatty acids, which are proven to help reduce inflammation, to have a beneficial effect on the health of the heart, to help maintain proper brain functioning, and also to prevent several periodontal (gum) diseases. Several studies have found that the anti-inflammatory effect of Omega-3 fatty acids helps both the treatment and the prevention of several health-related problems.

2. they contain several essential vitamins and minerals

Sardines contain several vitamins and minerals that are helpful in keeping our good health: B12-vitamins for example, or vitamin D, calcium, selenium, further types of Vitamin B and Iodine as well. There’s barely any part of a sardine that wouldn’t have a beneficial effect on our health. It positively affects the health of our heart, our digestion, and even our mood.

  • Vitamin B12: Almost 40 % of the general population suffers from Vitamin B12 deficiency. B 12 is a most important water-soluble vitamin, that helps maintain the health of our nervous system, brain and blood cells. Even the slightest deficit of this vitamin can cause symptoms like damaged neural functions, or chronic fatigue. One single can of sardines, however, amounts to 338 % (no, this is not a typo) of our Dietary Reference Intake.
  • Selenium: One portion of sardines already covers 80 % of Selenium’s Reference Intake. Selenium is an essential trace element and and antioxidant: it inhibits oxidative damage to the body, and the formation of free radicals. It promotes, however, cell reproduction, the utilization of Vitamin C, and the natural detoxification of the body. Furthermore, it helps the liver and the thyroid gland to function properly. A more severe selenium deficiency could lead to a weakened immune system, hormonal imbalances, or mood shifts, so it is highly recommended to maintain a sufficient selenium intake.

3.They help maintain healthy bones with their calcium and vitamin D conten

Sardines are rich in both calcium and vitamin D. These substances are indispensable for keeping our bones healthy. Our bones and teeth need calcium on a regular basis, because a deficiency of said calcium can lead to a loss of minerals. More severe cases of calcium deficiency could lead to dental decay, muscle tension, or even high blood pressure. If for some reason (e. g. allergies) you would have to avoid dairy products, sardines could be an excellent substitute, since just one portion of them covers around 40 % of the daile Reference Intake of calcium.

Vitamin D is of utmost importance to the health of bones also, since it promotes the absorption of calcium and magnesium. Unfortunately, a significant part of the adult population suffers from a vitamin D deficiency, especially in the winter, when there is little sunshine. It’s highly advised to keep an eye on and maintain sufficient vitamin D intake, otherwise one could experience low energy levels, mood disorders, or even more severe diseases.

4.They can help overcome mood swings and anxiety

Regular sardine consumption could even play a part in the treatment of mood disorders, thanks to its Omega-3 content. Several recent studies have explored the positive effects of Omega-3 fatty acids on our mental health. Approximately 60 % of our brain is made of lipocytes. Because of this, a regular, sufficient dose of Omega-3 is paramount in maintaining the proper functioning of the central nervous system. If our body feels a shortage of Omega-3, it can answer with an increased risk of depression, anxiety and mood disorders.

5. They help regulate blood-sugar levels

Sardines contain plenty of healthy proteins and fatty acids, which can slow down the absorption of sugars. The consumption of food high in essential fatty acids and proteins is espesially important for people with diabetes or other insulin-resistance-related diseases.

6. They help lose weight

Sardines are rich in nutrients, and are very filling, one can feel full after having just a little bit of them. Their calorie count is low and they contain several useful nutrients. Nutrients, that we are oftentimes missing from our bodies, like Omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D for example. Even if you were concerned about your calorie intake, sardines could still easily be included in your diet. What’s more, since sardines help stabilize healthy blood-sugar levels, they are beneficial to everyone, regardless of whether weight-loss is their goal or not. The important nutrients found in sardines will also aid the body after a straining physical activity or playing a sport.

7. Sardines are amongst the least polluted type of fish, and their fishery is amongst the most sustainable

One reason to embrace the sardines as one of our favorite fish is that they are on the bottom of the food chain, and as such only consume planktons, which in turn results in less toxins in them compared with bigger sized fish with longer lifespans. The evergrowing levels of mercury in fish and fish products are one of the most prominent problems of present day. With sardines, however, we can access Omega-3 fatty acids and other important minerals while being sure about mercury levels being as minimal as possible. As such, they can even be enjoyed during pregnancies, with restraint of course.