What Are the Health Benefits of Sardines?
Even if you’ve tried sardines before and know that they can be a tasty, simple snack, you might be wondering “What are the health benefits of sardines?” In fact, there are many ways in which these little fishes can improve your health and prevent disease!
Sardines are very high in protein—with 18 grams of protein on average per can (33% DV), they are a great, easy option for people on a keto, paleo, or low-carb diet, as well as anyone else who’d like to feel nourished and full throughout the day. Protein is essential for building and maintaining muscle mass and healthy bones! A high protein diet has also been shown to boost your metabolism, increase fat burning, and lower your blood pressure and LDL (bad) cholesterol. Protein plays a role in many other essential functions, from supporting a healthy immune system to transporting nutrients and oxygen throughout the body.
Not only are sardines rich in protein, but they also contain generous amounts of EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to be crucial to both heart and brain health. A Harvard study concluded that eating only one or two servings of sardines per week can reduce your risk of heart disease (the leading cause of death in the US) by over 30%! The omega-3s in sardines have also been shown to support healthy brain and nervous system development in the womb, and to lower the risk of Alzheimer’s and other neurological disorders. The EPA and DHA in sardines can also reduce inflammation, the root cause of many diseases.
Especially when sardines are not boneless, they are a great source of calcium, which is essential for bone health. Not all sources of calcium are created equal—many plant sources of calcium contain oxalic acid, which binds calcium in the body and lowers absorption. Sardines contain no oxalic acid, making them one of the highest natural sources of bio-available calcium. When coupled with vitamin D, which sardines also contain, these nutrients correlate with a lower risk of breast, colon, and ovarian cancers. Vitamin D may also be crucial in supporting the immune system and preventing illness—a study of 489 people found that those deficient in vitamin D were more likely to test positive for the COVID-19 virus than those who had normal levels of vitamin D.
Sardines are also rich in many important minerals, including iron, potassium, magnesium, zinc, and phosphorus as well as the antioxidant selenium, which serve vital purposes in numerous functions of the body. As an excellent source of healthy fats, sardines can also contribute to healthy and better looking skin. No matter your age or health goals, canned sardines are a convenient option sure to give your body a boost!