Sunday, February 12, 2012

Sardines: Superfood?

This article will share what I learned recently regarding Sardine, its impressive health benefits and why it could be considered a "superfood".

Now, before you say "Yurk, I don't want to eat Sardines!" please read below the nutrition facts regarding this small fish and what it can do for your health.

Sardine - what is it?

You can get the complete definition of a sardine from Wikipedia but essentially it is a small and oily fish that was named after the Mediterranean island of Sardinia. The actual name of this fish may depend of where you live. For example, in Quebec, Canada, where I live, the sardines that I buy originate from New Brunswick saltwater (North Atlantic Ocean).

Why so healthy?

Find below the nutrition facts from sardines I purchased recently.

Probably the most important nutrition aspect of Sardines is that they contain a lot of healthy Omega-3 fat. Omega-3 fat is now more and more recognized globally as an oil that may:
  • Decrease risk of heart disease
  • Decrease inflammatory processes within your body (very important to reduce risk of artery plaque build-up)
  • Decrease bad cholesterol and increase the good one
  • Can also help you in your fat loss goals
  • And the list goes on...(I will get back on Omega-3 via separate articles once I do more research)
Sardines also contain a lot of muscle-building protein (amino acids), quite important as well. Also, since most sardines are canned with their soft bones, you also get a lot of vitamin D & calcium which is quite important for your bone health. Sardines also contain vitamin B12, E, iron and potassium.

Now you may wonder, "other fishes too have Omega-3, protein etc. so again why Sardines?". Another important point is the toxic contamination these days found in fish. This is particularly a concern for big fishes such as Tuna since they can live long enough to accumulate higher amount of toxic substances such as mercury. Sardines are low in the food chain which means they tend to contain much lower level of mercury. 

Bottom line, you get all the benefits of fish oil (Omega-3) and more with much lower level of contaminants so no surprise this little fish is getting all that good press these days... 

Sardines - my experience

I started to consume  sardines about 2 weeks ago and one positive side effect I can feel on my body after a meal is increased blood flow. I did some research on this and this may be due to the Omega-3 which is known to improve the blood flow by opening up the blood vessels. This may also be due to the vitamin B12 which is known to increase energy and metabolism rate. Also, after a sardines meal, I don't feel the need to eat any junk food or refined sugar. My current target is to eat sardines about 3-4 times per week.

My only problem right now with sardines is the taste but the solution I found so far is to add a lot of lemon juice on top. I'm hoping that sardines will become an "acquired taste" soon.

Please feel free share your experience of eating sardines, the effect on your body and recipes.


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