Health Benefits of Sardines

Try Frozen Wild Caught Sardines--Ready to Order Today

Try Frozen Wild Caught Sardines–Ready to Order Today


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©2010  Shanna Lea (formerly Shanna Ohmes)





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Ewww!  Stinky smelly little fish out of a tin can?  Before you turn your nose up at the idea of these little super wonders, read on to see how they can help your joints, decrease your risk of heart attack and give you the silkiest skin you’ve never had before!

Fish have been a traditional food in many of the healthiest cultures around the world.  But in our modern world, we have to worry about mercury and other toxins in fish, and it leaves many people not knowing what to do or think.  Eat fish for the health benefits or avoid fish because of the mercury?

Here’s some good news! Good things do come in small packages. A tip to remember is the larger the fish, the higher concentration of mercury and other toxins like dioxane and PCB, because these fish have more time to accumulate it.  The smaller the fish when it matures, the less exposure, especially in the cleaner waters of the north.

What Are Sardines?

Sardines are not a species of fish, but rather a catch all name for about 11 different species like herring, pilchard, sild, brisling or sprats.  Some are smaller and some larger, and they are caught anywhere from the Norwegian fjords (around 3” – 4 ½ “  long) to the coast of Portugal (around 8” – 10”).  Generally, the smaller the fully grown fish is, then the more tender and delicate it is.

The further north the sardines are caught, the lower the risk of mercury too.  The northern icy waters have been regulated longer and are considered cleaner.  These icy waters also assure a higher concentration of omega-3’s in the fish too.

The Norwegian fishing industry has premium production methods—insisting that the fish are held in the nets just long enough to allow natural cleansing, which enhances texture.  Many other fisheries have abandoned this process.

Health Benefits of Sardines

Sardines are rich in omega-3 fatty acids.  They are a nutrient-dense in calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper, manganese, vitamin B12, selenium, vitamin D, COQ10, tryptophan and protein.

A diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids reduces the risk of:

  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Diabetes
  • Breast cancer
  • Colon cancer
  • Osteoporosis
  • Asthma
  • Arthritis
  • Psoriasis
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Hyperactivity disorder
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • And other mental disorders

A diet rich in omega-3’s from sardines can cut heart attack and cardiac arrest risk in half.  These nutrient-dense fish can also :

  • Promote healthy lubricated joints
  • Bone health—sardines have more calcium, vitamin D and phosphorus than whole milk
  • Omega-3’s are absolutely essential during pregnancy for the development of brain and vision of the fetus, and it can also prevent miscarriage and premature birth
  • Prevent post-partum depression
  • Stabilizes mood
  • Increases learning abilities
  • Better concentration
  • Increased memory
  • Rejuvenates and moisturizes skin
  • Prevents formation of wrinkles
  • Improve healing of ligaments from sports injuries—accelerates collagen synthesis
  • Normalizes blood sugar
  • Boosts energy
  • And the high levels of COQ10 are essential for normal heart function and the immune system

How to Choose Canned Sardines

Wild Planet Canned Wild Sardines

Wild Planet Canned Wild Sardines

More people have access to canned sardines than fresh, so look for a label that indicates the sardines were caught in northern icy waters.  Make sure they are free from additives and preservatives.  If it also carries the Kosher certification you know the product has met stringent quality requirements.

Before packing, sardines have had their heads and gills removed and eviscerated, so this is one step you don’t have to do!  They are packed in various liquids and sauces such as water, olive oil, soybean oil, mustard or tomato sauce.  Avoid those packed in soybean oil as this oil is now shown to cause its own share of health problems.  If you would like more information on soybean oil, please check with Dianne Gregg’s website, The Hidden Dangers of Soy.

How to Eat Sardines

My next article will be How to Eat Canned Sardines:  30 Ways to Enjoy Sardines.  See below for fresh sardines.

Fresh Sardines

If you have access to fresh sardines, here is a video that shows you a delicious way to cook them.

How to Make Fried Sardines


My Own Experience with Sardines

Good quality sardines do not smell “fishy” when you open the can.  I have opened a can of salmon or tuna with more of a lingering fishy smell than I have with sardines.  Since eating sardines every day for 2 weeks, I have noticed a few changes:  my whole inner being feels “oilier”, meaning I can move better, and have more flexibility…..I don’t have the stiffness I had before, like dried up leather.  I feel good.

I have better joint mobility, smoother skin, increased energy, concentration and better moods.  And no more mid-afternoon brain fog, either.  Fish is no longer just brain food, but whole body food!

Recommended Reading:

Fish:  Complete Guide to Buying and Cooking

Forever Fish:  The Definitive Guide to Understanding, Selecting, and Preparing Healthy, Delicious and Environmentally Sustainable Seafood

Good Fish:  Sustainable Seafood Recipes from the Pacific Coast

Fish Without a Doubt:  The Cook’s Essential Companion



How to Eat Canned Sardines — Recipes for Ways to Eat Sardines Out of a Can BOOK–Bookmark this site for updates or like my author page at:





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