With their myriad health benefits and high sustainability factor, sardines prove that good things come in small packages.
Sardines are an acquired taste—I’ll give you that. If you didn’t grow up eating them, enjoying them might be a learned experience. That said, there are many reasons why you should learn to love them, if you don’t already. The two main ones are their myriad health benefits and their sustainability factor.
Good things in small packages
You’ve likely read about fish oils and their health benefits, but did you know that some fish contain more of these healthy oils than others? Sardines prove that good things come in small packages, ranking high on the list of fish containing the highest concentrations of omega-3 fatty acids. Such health benefits of consuming omega-3 fatty acids include a reduced risk of heart disease, increased weight loss, reduced risk of depression, and improved skin condition.
In addition, sardines are extremely high in protein, calcium, vitamin B12, selenium, and iron. They are also a great dietary source of vitamin D—just one serving (92 g) contains more than 60 percent of our daily recommended intake of this sunshine vitamin.
Another reason to adopt sardines into your diet is their high sustainability factor. Because sardines are small fish and grow to full-size in a short amount of time, their numbers replenish quickly, so overfishing is not a concern.
Further, the Pacific sardine fishery—one of the largest on Canada’s pacific coast—uses large nets called purse seines to catch sardines. This method has been confirmed to result in very little bycatch, an unfortunate but common occurrence in the fishing industry whereby dozens and even hundreds of species are “accidentally” caught and then disposed of.
When purchasing sardines, make sure they are from Canadian and US Pacific and that they are purse-seine caught, rather than those from Atlantic US caught by mid-water trawl or purse seine. Even easier, look for the Ocean Wise symbol on your seafood and save yourself the worry.
So, have I convinced you to give these little fishies a try? I thought so. Try them out in one of these tasty recipes.
- Sardine Sandwich with Walnut Spread
- Marinated Sardines with Cucumber and Heirloom Tomatoes
- Sardine Pita Pizzas with Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce