Sardines - Love Em, Hate Em, But They're Packed With Healthy Fats

While not a very popular fish in the US, sardines are eaten as main meals and snacks throughout the world. They are incredibly healthy and one low in arsenic and mercury. We're hoping you give sardines a try, and we think you'll be impressed!

What Is A Sardine?

sardineSardines are small, saltwater fish commonly found in the Atlantic and the Mediterranean Sea. Their primary diet consists of plankton, which means they have lower than average amounts of arsenic and mercury. That makes sardines one of the few fish you can eat regularly.

Most of the time in the US, sardines are an addition to dishes, giving a fishy flavor to seafood dishes. But, around the world, sardines are the star of their own dishes. And this is for an excellent reason.

Sardines Are Good For You!

sardineSardines are considered a fatty fish and have high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. Eating sardines has been linked to lower cholesterol levels because of the high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids.

They contain high amounts of B12, a nutrient link to energy production and one that can help ward off depression and anxiety. A single can provides well over your daily RDA dose.

On top of that, sardines are one of the few natural sources of vitamin D outside of the sun. Four ounces of sardines provide 64% of your daily vitamin D requirements. It matches up well with calcium, meaning eating sardines helps get you a good dose of vitamin D and nearly half your daily dose of calcium. Because calcium needs vitamin D for absorption, eating sardines means you absorb more calcium than you would from a supplement.

They also contain high amounts of trace nutrients such as chromium, selenium, vanadium, and molybdenum. We need very little of these nutrients, barely several molecules per day. However, more research shows that getting these trace nutrients can help us be healthy. Regularly eating sardines can supply that.

Try This Healthy Sardine Recipe

You may not think of sardines as a main dish, but they can provide a very tasty dish that combines well with various herbs and spices. In this recipe, we combine it with cherry tomatoes. The acid in the cherry tomatoes and lemon helps bring out the richness of the sardines. The herbs give it a depth of flavor not found in many other dishes.

You can combine this over rice or a whole wheat pasta to bulk up your meal. It also goes great with asparagus, braised collards, and roasted root vegetables such as sweet potato and beets.

Roasted Sardines and Cherry Tomatoes

1 Pound Large Sardines (6-8 Sardines Depending On Their Size), Scaled And Cleaned
Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
1 Teaspoon Whole Cumin Seeds
1 Medium Red Onion, Finely Diced
8 Ounces Of Cherry Tomatoes, Halved
Juice Of Half A Lemon
Pinch Of Dried Chile Flakes To Taste
2 Tablespoons Fresh Parsley, Chopped
3-4 Garlic Cloves, Minced
Sea Salt And Freshly Ground Black Pepper To Taste

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly oil the baking dish with the olive oil.

In a small ungreased skillet over high heat, add the whole cumin seeds.  Shake the pan to move the seeds around until they darken slightly and give off an earthy aroma. This is usually about 1 minute.  Remove from the heat to cool, then grind into a powder.

Season the sardines inside and out with sea salt.

Combine the ground toasted cumin, onion, tomatoes, lemon juice, chile flakes, parsley, and garlic in a bowl. Smash together to break up the tomatoes. Season with a salt and black pepper to taste.

Stuff the sardines with the filling and then place in the baking dish in a single layer.  Sprinkle the remaining mixture around the dish.  Drizzle with olive oil. 

Bake for 10 minutes, then place under the broil for 5 minutes.  Serve immediately.

We hope you give sardines a try and let us know in the comments what you think!