A small oily fish, related to herrings, sardines are a widely consumed food. While they are usually served in cans, fresh sardines are often grilled, pickled, or smoked. Preparing them is easy, and they are a pleasure to eat. So, there is no wonder why they are some of the most widely consumed fish. But besides their being delicious and easy to prepare, there are more reasons why you should eat them. And, these reasons are all about your health, which, as you know, is paramount.
So here are some of the health-related reasons for consuming sardines:
They can help keep your heart healthy.
Sardines can support your cardiovascular health mainly because of two of the many nutrients they are known to contain: omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin B12. Omega-3 fatty acids have been found to reduce unhealthy cholesterol levels and triglycerides. One serving of sardines has more than 50% of the daily value for these fatty acids. Moreover, vitamin B12 keeps your heart healthy by helping keep your homocysteine levels in check; homocysteine can damage your artery walls, and high homocysteine levels can increase your risk of atherosclerosis.
They can help keep your bones strong.
Calcium, vitamin D, and phosphorous are some of the vitamins and minerals that sardines contain, and these all contribute to maintaining your bone health. Around 99% of the calcium in your body is stored in your bones and teeth. It is needed for supporting muscle contractions and balancing your body’s pH level. Deficiency of this mineral is associated with osteoporosis, muscle tension, and unhealthy teeth. Vitamin D deficiency, on the other hand, can cause osteomalacia, or softening of the bones, and a bone abnormality called rickets. Moreover, phosphorous is essential for building and maintaining bone mineralization.
They can help regulate your blood sugar levels.
Diabetes is a chronic disease that affects millions of people all over the world, and it leads to more health problems, such as blindness and kidney failure. Keeping your blood sugar levels in check is one way of avoiding this disease, and eating sardines may be able to help you with that. Sardines are a good source of protein and healthy fats, which help slow down the absorption of sugar into your bloodstream, thus preventing spikes in blood sugar.
They can help improve your mood.
As previously mentioned, sardines contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids. Besides keeping your heart healthy, they can also help you fight mood disorders, such as anxiety and depression. They have been found to play a key role in boosting mood and maintaining healthy brain function, helping you fight depression. Because the brain is composed of roughly 60% fat, obtaining the appropriate ratio of fatty acids is essential for your central nervous system function and your overall mood.
They have low contaminant levels.
One of the reasons why some people are wary about consuming fish is that it may contain contaminants, particularly mercury. But, because sardines are at the bottom of the aquatic food chain, they feed on planktons. This means that they carry very minimal toxic metals such as mercury.