Sardines, Are They Good for You?

Sardines are small fishes that are full of nutritional values. It is linked to many health benefits and helps prevent various health conditions.


Sardines were canned by Napoleon Bonaparte to feed his hungry subordinates. It is no wonder since sardines is highly abundant near an Island in Italy. Additionally, the fish is perishable that it needs to preserve; and can preservation seems to be the best way.

Pacific, Atlantic, and even the Mediterranean areas are rich with sardines. Thus, the fish is somewhat popular around the world. Though they somehow have a bad reputation in the United States. But unlike other fish which may be high in mercury levels, sardines are an exception since they feed on plankton alone.

Sardines and its Nutritional Value

The fish, though small is packed with valuable nutrients. It is even beneficial in inhibiting numerous kinds of health issue. Moreover, elders and pregnant women benefit a lot from its nutrient, such as calcium, that it is recommended for them to consume.

  • Calcium – Calcium is one of the minerals that are important for bone health. Thus, sardines are a good source of bone health nutrients. Even pregnant women can benefit from it since they just need to eat sardines if they need more calcium for the health of their baby.
  • Omega-3 – If you want your heart health to improve, the nutrients you need to call is the omega-3 fatty acids. This nutrient is abundant in sardines, thus the fish is an excellent food to prevent heart diseases. What the omega-3 does is lower blood pressure and reduce blood clots risk. Even people with a past heart attack can prevent it from happening again if they increase the omega 3 in their system.
  • Proteins – Proteins are the building block of muscles. It is essential if you want your bones and muscles to improve. It also maintains the strength of immune systems by producing several antibodies. Moreover, it is the oxygen’s vehicle to travel and take into the other parts of the body. And sardines can provide you all of these benefits.
  • Vitamins – Sardines is composed of many important vitamins. These include vitamins B12 and D. Vitamin B12 is the one responsible to help your cardiovascular system working. It also boosts your energy. Meanwhile, vitamin D is responsible for improving your bone health.
  • Other Minerals – It’s not just calcium that sardines possess. It also has different minerals including zinc, potassium, niacin, phosphorus, magnesium, and iron.

Selecting the Right Sardines

With lots of canned sardines offered in the market, the selection may be the hardest part of it. Thus, here are some tips that may help you choose the best product:

  • Select olive oil based canned sardines. These products are way better than those that have soybean oil.
  • Some canned products are packed with water. And it’s not bad. In fact, choosing water-based sardines are good for people who are reducing their fat intake.
  • You have your own taste after all. So whichever you like best, just make sure to check the expiration date before buying and consuming as well.

On the other hand, if you prefer fresh sardines than canned, inspect the fish first. You may want really fresh sardines which you may achieve if the fish:

  • is firm
  • has shiny skin
  • has bright eyes; and
  • has a fresh smell

Consuming Sardines

Sardines can be eaten in several ways. You can eat it as the main course, mix it in salads, or consume it as a cracker or snack.

For canned sardines, make sure to rinse it using cold water before using it. For fresh sardines, gut and rinse it well. Then, if you’re sure the fish is ready, try the following recipes.

Grilled fresh sardines

Prepare a healthy appetizer by letting the fire directly cook the fish. Here’s how.


  • 1 lemon, will be used for serving thus cut into wedges
  • Vegetable-oil cooking spray
  • 1 clove peeled garlic
  • 6-inch baguette, cut into 16 thin slices
  • ¼ tsp. Ground pepper
  • ¾ tsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp. and 1 ½ tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 medium whole fresh sardines, gutted and rinsed


  • Apply oil on both sides of sardines. Season it with salt and pepper.
  • Rub garlic on the bread’s cut sides then applies the remaining oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  • Heat the grill pan into medium-high heat, then use the cooking spray to spread the oil.
  • Grill the bread first. Make it crisp by heating each side by one minute.
  • Grill sardines next after the bread. Make sure it is cooked by heating each side for about 2 minutes.
  • Serve the sardines with lemon wedges and bread.

Greek salad with sardines

You’re in a diet but need more protein in the body? No worries! This salad can provide you with that setup. Just follow the simple instructions below. This recipe will take 20 minutes to prepare.


  • 2 4-oz cans of sardines with bones, packed in either water or olive oil, drained
  • 2 tbsp. Kalamata olives, sliced
  • ¼ cup red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup of feta cheese
  • 1 15-oz can of chickpeas, rinsed
  • 1 large English cucumber, cut into large chunks
  • 3 medium tomatoes, cut into large chunks
  • ½ tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tbsp. lemon juice


  • In a large bowl, combine garlic, oil, pepper, oregano, and lemon juice.
  • Then add the olives, onion, feta, chickpeas, cucumber, and tomatoes.
  • Make 4 plates of the salad and top it with sardines.

Mediterranean casserole

You can have a delicious Mediterranean casserole in a very short period. Just follow these simple steps.


  • 2 tbsp. bread crumbs
  • 1 tbsp. dried basil
  • 2 cloves chopped garlic
  • ½ pound of diced cherry tomatoes
  • 4 cans of drained sardines
  • 3 tbsp. of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound potatoes


  • In a large pot, place the potatoes and pour salted water. Once boiled, turn heat into medium-low, and let it simmer until tender. Drain, then let it cool by pouring cold water. If needed, replace the cold water. Drain, then peel the potatoes and slice it after.
  • Pre-heat an oven. Put it at 350 °F.
  • Brush olive oil on a casserole dish then make a layer of the sliced potatoes. Add the fillet sardines on top followed by the diced tomatoes. Lastly, sprinkle it with basil, garlic and bread crumbs.
  • Bake for about 20 minutes.


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