Are Sardines Good For You? Learn The Health Benefits of this Salty Snack

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.Fish is an excellent source of omega 3 fatty acids. These acids are proven to be helpful in lowering the levels of triglyceride in the body which in turn prevents abnormalities in the heart rhythm that could lead to sudden death. Omega 3 fatty acids have also been found to have anti-inflammatory properties.

Two servings of fish a week (3.5 ounces of cooked fish) would help contribute to a healthier heart, according to The American Heart Association. However, are sardines good for you?

Fish Consumption Risk

The benefit of consuming fish comes with a health risk to contend with. Tests have shown that toxins such as dioxane, mercury, and PCB could accumulate in fish. This is especially true in the case of larger fish like salmon and tuna.

One way to avoid ingesting such toxins and still enjoy the benefits of its nutrition value is by consuming smaller-sized fish. Sardines would fit the bill. The omega-3 content in sardines is at a relatively high level, only losing out to fish like salmon. However, you must consider the toxin content in larger fish, as has been highlighted above.

Nutrition Content

Sardines are usually not taken seriously because they come in the form of canned food. Many regard them as an `emergency’ food, useful when there’s no fresh food around to cook.

Sardines, however, are much more than that. Apart from omega-3 acids, sardines also contain selenium, calcium, vitamin B12, vitamin B3, protein, and phosphorous, among others.

Vitamin D Content

Above all, sardines are considered one of the healthiest foods when it comes to its high content of vitamin D. There are very few foods that have such a high content of vitamin D, which is helpful in the formation of strong bones. Sardines, therefore, would benefit the young as well women as who are close to menopause in the growth and maintenance of healthy bones.

A single serving of sardines provides you with 35 % of the Recommended Daily Allowance of calcium, which works with vitamin D to help form stronger bones.

Weight Loss

To top it all, sardines contain no carbohydrates and that helps stabilize blood sugars. It’s also known to aid in weight loss. Long term consumption of sardines would help with weight management which in turn helps keep at bay ailments such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer. If you’re serious about observing a healthy diet, you should include sardines in it.

Choosing the Best

Owing to its popularity, there are many brands of sardines out in the market. If healthy eating is your aim, go for the type that’s packed in tomato sauce, water, or mustard. Avoid the variety packed in oil, which could pile up calories and add to the fat content, especially if you’re on a weight loss diet. If you’re concerned about the fishy smell, opt for the variety packed in water.

References - general health benefits of sardines - by Kristie Leong MD – information on toxic content of large fish and how to choose healthy sardines