Five (5) Amazing Reasons to Give Sardines a Try

Now that we’ve debunked the biggest myths about eating sardines, it’s time to look at some of the best reasons to give sardines a chance and pick up a can. All that you need to start doing the right thing in your life is a reason. And I’m about to give you five. But not just any five. These are the five (5) amazing reasons to give sardines a try.

Reason #1: You’re going to love eating sardines

You’re going to love them. Just like any other food you haven’t tried before–this one might be your new favorite.

The world is divided into three groups of people. One group of people has eaten sardines before and developed a cult-like fixation on this species of fish. We try out new sardine recipes. We push sardines on our friends. We tweet about sardines, start blogs, and adopt a sardine-positive identity that we try to work into every conversation.

The next group of people has never tried sardines and either (1) claims not to like them (despite not having tried them) or (2) doesn’t really know whether they like sardines or not, so they shy away from confrontational positions and nod along with the people around them at any given moment. What’s great about this group is that the best part of life still awaits them. They have so much to look forward to. And yet they are somewhat happy, or think they are, because they don’t know what they are missing.

Third come those people who have formed a negative view of sardines based on some isolated, uninformed experience. For them, sardines offer a chance at healing and redemption.

Where do you belong?

Whatever your current sardine stance, sardines will leave you better off than before. They are super convenient, taste better than canned tuna fish, and go well with salads, pasta, sandwiches, crackers, and so many other foods and flavors you already eat. They are surprisingly delicious–delicate rather than chewy, juicy rather than dry, smoky rather than non-smoky, and very mild in flavor as I explain in more depth in the Beginner’s Guide to Eating Sardines.

Eating sardines for protein

Reason # 2: Sardines are a great source of protein

Eating enough protein is key to a healthy lifestyle. Whether you are trying to cut carbs in order to lose a few pounds or you want to rack up enough grams in a day to support massive gains in the gym, protein provides the key link. Protein is the building block of life itself. Without protein, you would have no muscles, bones, cartilage, or skin, for example. Maybe you don’t need those things, but if you do, give protein a try. Protein is also used to rebuild and repair after injuries, to carry oxygen around in your bloodstream, and to create the enzymes used by your body to digest the sardines that give you protein.

If one of your eating goals is to increase the amount of protein in your diet, sardines are a miracle food. Prepackaged and ready to eat, just one can of sardines can deliver around 22 grams of protein. Compare that to many of the supermarket protein bars you see delivering something in a much lower range of 10-14 grams–and sometimes even less. And as we’ll see below, the nutritional profile of sardines makes them a guilt-free way to boost your protein intake, all while telling the world to stand back and admire your tin.

Eating sardines avoids carbs

Reason # 3: Eating sardines avoids the carbs

Whether your diet is paleo, keto, or any other low-carb approach, sardines are it. They have no carbs to speak of. Go ahead, look at the the Nutrition Facts if you don’t believe me. There. You can eat them.

Sardines are made using only one ingredient: sardines. Therefore, sardines contain absolutely no starchy foods like brown rice, oatmeal, bananas, or potatoes. What’s more, sardines contain none of the refined carbs that cause spikes in blood sugar and appetite, such as white bread, spaghetti, or tiramisu. Choose sardines and you don’t have to choose any of those things.

Sardines are basically clean-eating city. Without putting any thought in or making any effort, without disrupting anyone else’s life choices or being obnoxious to the waiter, sardines allow you to avoid all of the bad food in life and receive only the good.

Eating sardines for the nutrients

Reason # 4: Sardines are high in omega 3’s, vitamin B12, and calcium

Do you want to make your doctor cry?

And by cry, I mean tears of joy?

At your next regular checkup, work into the conversation the fact that you regularly eat sardines. The doctors love this stuff.

Why? I’m not exactly sure. I’m not a doctor. It’s just a line that works, and I assume it has something to do with the massive nutritional benefits that sardines offer.

For instance, take the Omega-3’s. Sardines are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, a kind of fat (yes) that helps reduce inflammation and lower your bad cholestorol (double yes). And among other sources, sardines hold the types of fatty acids that are most easily absorbed by the body. A steady diet of good clean fish provides the “good cholesterol” that promotes the health of the heart and brain and cardiovascular system.

Just be aware: These benefits of eating fish can go away when the fish is fried, especially when it is deep-fried. Frying can displace the natural, healthy, and holy omega-3 oils in the fish with the soul-destroying fast-food oils that you are frying it in, and otherwise damage the omega-3’s. So eat the fish baked, grilled, or smoked–just as it comes out of the can, if you eat canned sardines.

The spectrum of benefits doesn’t with omega-3’s. One single can of sardines has more than your recommended daily does of vitamin B-12, which helps to maintain brain health and keep up energy levels.

Bones are a good thing to maintain. Calcium and vitamin D help to maintain them. And sardines are known to be one of the best natural sources of calcium and vitamin D that exist. Eating sardines with the bones comes with bonus levels of calcium, but even boneless and skinless sardines will boost your nutritional profile in this way.

Sardines are clean to eat

Reason # 5: Sardines are low in contaminants

Finally, sardines take eating clean to a whole new level because sardines themselves are a very clean fish. They are almost alone in this. Many types of fish are nutritious, but unfortunately too many of these species have been compromised by pollution–rising mercury levels in the ocean that filter up the food chain and create dangerous levels of toxicity for humans. Pregnant women are warned against regularly eating tuna for this reason, and we’re told to avoid swordfish altogether because it contains such dangerous levels of mercury. Consumer Reports, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and other groups have all warned against consuming too much fish high in mercury.

Sardines don’t share this problem. Sardines exist near the bottom of the fishy food chain. Because of that, the mercury that accumulates in fish never has the chance to accumulate in sardines. Their meat isn’t made from other mercury-eating fish that is made from other mercury-eating fish. Sardines are virtually free of mercury and other contaminants, which is why the EPA rates them as a “Best Choice” relative to other fish, based on scientific evaluations of their mercury concentration.

Eat further down the food chain (i.e., sardines) instead of other fish also benefits the environment. Whereas many species of fish are threatened by overfishing, sardines exist in abundance in nature. And where sardines do face fishing pressure, it is primarily due to the fact that it is fished to manufacture fake fish food for fish farms–instead of just selling the sardines themselves as food. It takes three pounds of sardines as fish food to get one pound of salmon.

Choosing sardines over other fish helps reduce wasteful and inefficient use of sardines as food for farmed fish that are not as good as sardines–because farmed fish contain less protein, more carcinogens, and even antibiotics that you don’t need to be consuming along with your delicious fish.

And now here you are, five reasons later, holding in your mind the truth that should be now be self evident, that if at all possible sardines should be included in your diet. Check out the rest of my blog for what kind to buy, how to make them delicious, and how to assimilate yourself into the canned fish lifestyle. Or just take the plunge and grab a can today.

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