Sardines are probably not at the top of many “best tasting foods” lists. However, that does not mean you should not consider making sardines a regular part of your diet. In fact, it turns out sardines are actually quite healthy for you.
Here are 20 surprising health benefits of sardines I wish I knew earlier:
1. It is rich in protein.
Just 3 oz. of sardines provides 23 grams of protein.
2. It reduces inflammation and risk of disease.
Sardines are an excellent source of EPA and DHA, which are two fatty acids that studies show the body uses to reduce inflammation. Inflammation is at the root of most diseases. If you want to “spice up” the anti-inflammatory defense, add a little bit of turmeric when you are preparing your sardines.
3. It provides many essential vitamins and minerals.
Sardines are an excellent source of vitamin B 12, vitamin D, calcium, and selenium. The vitamin B 12 is especially important because studies show that about 40% of Americans are actually deficient in this important vitamin.
4. It protects bone health.
In addition to the vitamins listed above, sardines are also a great source of calcium. Calcium is extremely important because 99% of the body’s calcium is stored in the bones and teeth. Just 2 oz. of sardines contains 217 mg of calcium.
5. It helps combat anxiety and depression.
Sardines contain a high content of omega-3 fatty acids. New findings indicate that there is a strong correlation between omega-3 fatty acids and a lack of depression. As a result, they can help prevent mood disorders such as anxiety and depression.
6. It controls blood sugar levels.
Both the high protein and healthy fat content work to slow down the absorption of sugar into the blood.
7. It helps curb appetite.
Sardines help curb appetite by preventing food cravings and unnecessary snacking. Simply put, the high protein and high fat content helps promote weight loss because it fills you up.
8. It is one of the least contaminated sources of fish.
Sardines do not contain as many toxins and metals as large predatory fish, such as tuna and swordfish.
9. It has a low ecological and environmental impact.
Sardines are close to the bottom of the food chain because they feed on plankton.
10. It prevents blood clots.
Regular intake of omega-3 fats, which is found in fish like sardines, is good for the heart because it reduces cholesterol and blood pressure.
11. It has anti-cancer properties.
Cancer research has shown that the intake of calcium and vitamin D can be very helpful in preventing certain types of cancer.
12. It has antioxidant properties.
Sardines contain selenium, which is helpful in neutralizing free radicals and protecting the organs from damage.
13. It promotes a healthy immune system.
Consuming sardines can help in building up the immune system. Research shows that sardine fish oil may improve immune system by increasing the count of immune cells.
14. It is great for your skin.
The fats found in sardines play a big role in skin cells. It decreases skin inflammation and gives you a healthy glow.
15. It reduces insulin resistance.
Insulin resistance is one of the major factors to look for in diabetes. Some studies show that consuming sardines reduces insulin resistance.
16. It aids in the prevention of heart disease.
The high omega-3 fatty acid content found in sardines play a major role in controlling heart disease. Research has shown that omega-3 fatty acids (such as EPA and DHA) break down bad cholesterol in the body and aid in the prevention of heart disease.
17. It reduces risk of age-related macular degeneration.
Age related macular degeneration (AMD) is a condition which is usually seen in adults over the age of 50. Macular and retinal degeneration over the years results in loss of vision. Recent studies have shown that consuming fish, such as sardines, results in a reduced risk of developing AMD.
18. It is a very “efficient food.”
It is low in calories but packed with nutrients. It is also easy to eat and can be prepared in many different ways.
19. It promotes healthy brain function.
Fish oil and healthy fats are known to be good “brain food.” This makes sense when you consider that 60% of the brain is made up of fat.
20. It is rich in copper.
Sardines are rich in copper, which is vital to the generation of energy from carbohydrates inside of cells.
Featured photo credit: Sardine!/Brian Gratwicke via flickr.com