Surprising Health Benefits Of Sardines

Sardines are a small fish from the herring family. They are usually canned in the United States and known for their strong smell. If you're not a fan, you might want to give this fish another chance. Here are the health benefits of sardines.

To begin with, sardines are high in omega-3 fatty acids (via Healthline). These are essential fatty acids that must come from food because your body can't produce them on its own. They contain anti-inflammatory properties that can help prevent heart disease, lower blood pressure, and reduce the risk of blood clots.

In addition to omega-3 fatty acids, sardines are packed with vitamins and minerals. These include vitamin B-12, vitamin D, iron, potassium, zinc, niacin, phosphorus, and magnesium. Sardines are also a great way to increase your calcium intake without dairy. Finally, this fish contains a decent amount of protein per serving to keep you full and help you build muscle.

Sardines are a cheap and sustainable fish

The benefits of sardines don't stop with their vitamin and mineral content. They are usually caught in the wild and very affordable. They also contain some of the lowest levels of mercury of any fish (via Cleveland Clinic). "Since sardines are more likely to be sustainably caught, they're a safe choice for pregnant and nursing women," Julia Zumpano, RD, LD, told Cleveland Clinic.

In the United States, sardines are often canned and found in most grocery stores. They can be packed in olive oil, water, or tomato juice. Each of these options is fine as long as you are paying attention to the sodium content and don't exceed your recommended dose for the day.

Sardines have a strong flavor that may not appeal to everyone. Fortunately, this fish is soft and can be easily combined with other foods to make its flavor more manageable. Pair sardines with avocado to tame down the umami flavor or add them to a quiche with lots of other ingredients (via The Kitchn). If you enjoy the flavor, you can eat them plain or topped with a squeeze of lemon.