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Eating sardines provides you with a variety of nutritional benefits, including protein, vitamins and minerals. The name sardine refers to a variety of small, soft-boned, saltwater fish including sprat, pilchard and herring. These fish are only available fresh for a very limited time during the summer months. Most commonly, they're canned whole and packed in oil. You can also find them smoked, dried or canned in water or tomato sauce.
Calories and Protein
Sardines provide a low-calorie source of protein to help boost your amino acid intake. A 1-ounce serving of these small fish gives you 59 calories and 7 grams protein. Your body cannot store amino acids, the building blocks of protein, the same way it stores carbohydrates and fats. So, you must get protein from your daily diet to maintain your bodily fluids, muscles and bones. Eating low-calorie sources of protein helps you meet your daily amino acid needs, without putting you over your daily caloric needs.
- Sardines provide a low-calorie source of protein to help boost your amino acid intake.
- Eating low-calorie sources of protein helps you meet your daily amino acid needs, without putting you over your daily caloric needs.
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Sardines also have a small amount of fat. From a 1-ounce portion of sardines, you'll get 3.25 grams of fat. Of this total fat, 2.5 grams come from healthy forms of fat called monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids. Diets containing these healthy fats may help lower your cholesterol level, according to the American Heart Association 4. Certain polyunsaturated fatty acids in sardines, called omega-3 fatty acids, are essential for proper brain function and may help prevent inflammation and chronic diseases, such as:
- heart disease
- Sardines also have a small amount of fat.
- Certain polyunsaturated fatty acids in sardines, called omega-3 fatty acids, are essential for proper brain function and may help prevent inflammation and chronic diseases, such as: * heart disease
Good Source of Minerals
Because sardines are eaten whole, including the soft bones and skin, they are a good source of calcium. You'll get 108 milligrams of calcium from a 1-ounce serving of sardines, which is 11 percent of the daily value for calcium. Your body relies on calcium to maintain healthy bones and teeth, as well as proper blood clotting and blood pressure. You'll also get 14 percent of the daily value for phosphorus and 21 percent of the daily value for selenium from sardines. Phosphorus is essential for strong bones and teeth, as it helps maintain muscle and nerve function and also plays a role in energy metabolism. Selenium functions as an antioxidant in the body, and helps prevent damage from harmful free radicals.
- Because sardines are eaten whole, including the soft bones and skin, they are a good source of calcium.
- Your body relies on calcium to maintain healthy bones and teeth, as well as proper blood clotting and blood pressure.
Can You Eat Sardines Before You Go to Sleep?
Along with minerals, eating sardines provides you with significant amounts of two essential vitamins. You'll get 55 International Units of vitamin D from 1 ounce of sardines, which is 14 percent of the daily value for the nutrient. It helps regulate calcium and phosphorus absorption you need to maintain healthy bones and teeth. You'll also get 2.5 micrograms of vitamin B12 from sardines, which is more than 100 percent of the daily value. Vitamin B12 plays a part in keeping your nervous system healthy, producing red blood cells and synthesizing DNA.
- Along with minerals, eating sardines provides you with significant amounts of two essential vitamins.
- You'll also get 2.5 micrograms of vitamin B12 from sardines, which is more than 100 percent of the daily value.
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- USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference: Fish, Sardine, Atlantic, Canned in Oil, Drained Solids With Bone
- Food Lover's Companion; Sharon Tyler Herbst
- MedlinePlus: Dietary Proteins
- American Heart Association: Know Your Fats
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Omega-3 Fatty Acids
- Bowes and Church's Food Values of Portions Commonly Used; Jean A. T. Pennington and Judith Spungen Douglass
- Fish, sardine, Atlantic, canned in oil, drained solids with bone. FoodData Central. U.S. Department of Agriculture. Published April 1, 2019.
- Innes JK, Calder PC. Marine omega-3 (N-3) fatty acids for cardiovascular health: An update for 2020. Int J Mol Sci. 2020;21(4):1362. doi:10.3390/ijms21041362
- University of Rochester Medical Center. Health encyclopedia: nutrition facts, fish, sardine, Atlantic, canned in oil, drained solids with bone, 1 sardines.
- Morris MC, Brockman J, Schneider JA, et al. Association of seafood consumption, brain mercury level, and APOE ε4 status with brain neuropathology in older adults. JAMA. 2016;315(5):489-497. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.19451
- Derbyshire E. Brain health across the lifespan: A systematic review on the role of omega-3 fatty acid supplements. Nutrients. 2018;10(8):1094. doi:10.3390/nu10081094
- Ellis E. 4 keys to strength building and muscle mass. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Updated January 20, 2020.
- Chaddha A, Eagle KA. Omega-3 fatty acids and heart health. Circulation. 2015;132(22):e350-352. doi:10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.114.015176
- Balfegó M, Canivell S, Hanzu FA, et al. Effects of sardine-enriched diet on metabolic control, inflammation and gut microbiota in drug-naïve patients with type 2 diabetes: A pilot randomized trial. Lipids Health Dis. 2016;15:78. doi:10.1186/s12944-016-0245-0
- Moores S. Pregnant safe sources of omega-3 fats. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Updated November 7, 2019.
- National Institutes of Health, Office of Dietary Supplements. Calcium fact sheet for professionals. Updated February 14, 2020.
- American College of Allergy Asthma & Immunology. Fish allergy. Updated March 21, 2019.
- Environmental Defense Fund. Sardines.
- U.S.Food & Drug Administration. Selecting and serving fresh and frozen seafood safely. Updated March 28, 2019.
Erica Kannall is a registered dietitian and certified health/fitness specialist with the American College of Sports Medicine. She has worked in clinical nutrition, community health, fitness, health coaching, counseling and food service. She holds a Bachelor of Science in clinical dietetics and nutrition from the University of Pittsburgh.