Sardines are gross! Right? Well, maybe for some of us. So, why should we consider giving this semi Super Food a chance?
Because studies are revealing health benefits of sardines which may surprise you.
As most of us probably know, as with many types of seafood, sardines are full of fatty acids including Omega 3. Omega 3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fatty acids which promote joint health. Not to mention the plethora of other benefits it provides.
To get us started, this Omega 3 ingredient is only ONE health benefit of Sardines, but with several more benefits within itself.
For example, as mentioned, notice the benefits just in joint health alone:
Clinical studies have reported that oral fish supplementation (for Omega 3 consumption) has beneficial effects in rheumatoid arthritis.
Many studies report improvements in Joint stiffness and joint tenderness
Beyond the measure of joint health, Omega 3 fatty acids offer a variety of health benefits verified through several research studies. Among them:
There is strong evidence that omega-3 fatty acids have a beneficial effect in bipolar disorder. Supplementation is associated with reduced mania and depression.
Appear to be an effective treatment for children with Autism.
May have an impact on postpartum depression.
Consumption is associated with a sixty three percent reduction in prostate cancer specific morality.
A higher intake of Omega 3 fatty acids may reduce the risk of pneumonia.
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Be reminded that the reason we have focused on these Omega 3 fatty acids thus far is because of the extremely high content found in Sardines… way more than other fish. It is stated that one can of canned sardines carries 1.5 grams more Omega 3 fats than a comparable four ounce can of tuna.
These are only the surface benefits related to the Omega 3 fats. Read on for additional reasons to put Sardines in your diet:
Sardines are an excellent source of protein and other important elements –
Protein – is essential for your daily diet. It promotes muscle health and energy. Proteins form the basis of muscles and connective tissues. Sardines are reported to have high levels of protein content, which can provide the human body with essential amino acids. This assists with the production of new proteins, which supports the body’s structures and cell development.
Phosphorus – Phosphorus is a mineral making up one percent of your total body weight. It’s in your bones. Phosphorus works with calcium to help build bones.
Calcium – The most plentiful mineral found in the human body. According to one report ‘The New York Times’ claims Sardines as “one of the best foods you aren’t eating” because they can deliver more calcium per serving than virtually any other food. This is largely due to their soft, edible bones.
Potassium – The heart muscles (along with all muscles in your body) needs potassium to beat properly and regulate blood pressure. It is stated that 397 grams of Potassium can be found per 100 grams of Sardine fish.
Iodine – Iodine is an essential compound used by the thyroid gland. It assists with both the development and metabolism of the brain and skeleton, as well as numerous of parts of the body– according to Dr. Mercola at mercola.com. He states that other tissues that absorb and use large amounts of iodine include your breasts, skin, salivary glands, stomach, pancreas, brain, cerebral spinal fluid and thymus. This is all essential function people! Eat your sardines! Consuming them will significantly boost your iodine intake. As a healthy adult, you should be consuming 150 micrograms of iodine per day.
Sodium – while we all know that too much salt/sodium can have a negative impact on your health, notice that sodium is still an important factor to your body’s health. It helps keep fluids in normal balance and plays a key role in normal nerve and muscle function.
Magnesium – WebMD reports that more than 300 chemical reactions happening in the body relies on magnesium. They also report that, on average, there are around 25g magnesium in the human body, with half of this amount being present in the bones. You should take note that one small serving (approximately 12 grams) of sardines holds 5 mg (milligrams) of Magnesium. Whoa!
Fluorine – essential for the normal mineralization of bones and the formation of dental enamel. A three ounce serving of canned sardines has about 0.3 milligrams of fluoride in comparison to other foods which only contribute 0.3-0.6 milligrams of fluoride in a day’s meals worth. Again, the high content of this chemical element is due to the edible bones of the sardines.
Selenium – a cancer fighting mineral. A report published in Life Extension Magazine reports that selenium has benefits in the suppression of a specific protein that is involved in tumor metastasis, onset and growth. You’ll note that Sardines are packed full, including 49 mg in a 3.2 oz can.
Vitamin D – Not getting enough sun? -Vitamin D is known to play an important role in healthy bone structures, assisting in calcium absorption (especially in women). This essential vitamin is not regularly available in the diet making Sardines a rich source outside of the dairy section.
Sardines are reported to be rich in Vitamin B12. This specific vitamin assists the body in the metabolism process of fat, protein and carbohydrates. It is also reported that the amount of Vitamin B12 found in sardines are closely related to the amount found in liver, which is said to be the highest amount possible. Research claims that the amount of Vitamin B12 found in a 100g serving of sardines are equal to almost 300% the recommended daily intake amount. This high amount of the vitamin can provide the body with assistance in maintaining healthy levels of nerve and red blood cells. Furthermore, reports explain that Vitamin B12 deficiency has been linked to the development of anemia.
Think that’s a mouthful? Wait, there’s more!
Let’s go back to those fatty acids again for a moment. According to whfoods.com, Sardines “are one of the most concentrated sources of the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, which have been found to lower triglycerides and cholesterol levels.” Essentially promoting heart health.
There are still more benefits too –
These same fatty acids have been linked to lower risk of dementia, improved focus and memory. It is stated that Omega 3 fatty acids like DHA may play a key role in brain health and cognitive function, improving more than just your memory. This fatty acid is said to improve performance of mental tasks and learning as well.
While We’re Talking about it – What is EPA and DHA?
Docosahexaenoic Acidis known as a structural component that is essential to the retina and the brain. Dr. Mercola explains that around 60% of the brain is made up of fats and 25% of these fats are DHA, or docosahexaenoic acid.
These fats cannot be produced by the body itself, even though it is essential for the healthy function of the retina and brain. For this reason, it is vital to include them in your diet.
Eicosapentaenoic Acid is a metabolic precursor of prostaglandins – another scientific term for physiologically active lipid compounds which have a diverse hormone-like effect in animals. Interestingly enough, what this means is, essentially, without your required amount of EPA’s, you’re not going to be thinking clearly.
Don’t think you can handle eating this fatty fish. Try canned sardines. They require minimal preparation and are packed with just as many nutrients. It is noted that typically sardines can be found in high quality extra-virgin olive oil, rather than water or vegetable oil as with tuna packaging.
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Still don’t think you can do it? Take note of these serving ideas from whfoods.com
To enhance the flavor of sardines, you can use olive oil (extra virgin) or lemon juice. Simply sprinkle your choice over the sardines.
Olives, chopped onion and fennel can also be added to sardines.
Oregano, rosemary or basil can be combined with chopped tomatoes and added to sardines.
For added zing, balsamic vinegar can be added to sardines.
Pressed garlic, olive oil (extra virgin), Dijon mustard, salt and pepper, as well as a squeeze of fresh lemon juice can be combined into a sauce. This goes well with a batch of sardines.