Health Benefits of Sardines

Often overlooked, these small and smelly fish were thrust into greatness by Napoleon Bonaparte himself. He took a liking to them and as such they became known as a delicacy. The name originates from the Italian island of Sardinia, and since Napoleon’s day, these salty fish have been canned and shipped all over the world. Here are some benefits to your health that Sardines offer.

High in Vitamins B2, B3 and B12 and Tryptophan

Sardines are rich in vitamin B12 and they are also a good source of tryptophan. Vitamin B12 contributes to circulatory and nervous health, and tryptophan is an essential amino acid that aids in the production of serotonin—the compound that balances mood.

Additionally, they have high levels of vitamins B2 and B3. Vitamin B3 (niacin) is an essential component in skin, nervous and circulatory health. Some studies have shown a link between high vitamin B3 consumption and the possible prevention of Alzheimer’s disease. Vitamin B2 is also a key component of a healthy nervous system and is an important part of energy production at the cellular level.

Rich in Vitamin D and Calcium for Bone Health

The small sardine is also rich in vitamin D. Vitamin D is an essential nutrient for the development of strong, healthy bones and glowing skin. Combined with calcium, the two work in tandem to slow the effects of age-related loss of bone density and reduce joint inflammation.

Additionally, vitamin D is contributory to a reduction in the risk of the development of cancer. This essential vitamin helps promote healthy cellular activity which lowers the chances that cancerous activity will occur.

Rich Omega 3 Fatty Acids Source

Sardines are in the same family as salmon and mackerel and it’s harder to find a richer source of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids anywhere. Omega 3 fatty acids act as antioxidants for the body. They fight free radical damage and slow the progression of age-related degeneration of cells. They can also reduce the risk of some chronic diseases, including cancer.

Omega 3s also form the ‘good cholesterol’ or high density lipoprotein (HDL). HDL fights the deposit of LDL (low density lipoprotein) as plaque on artery walls and therefore lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease. Importantly, they also contain elements that strengthen damaged arterial walls, so not only do omega 3s help lower cholesterol, but they also fight against heart disease.

High in Protein and Phosphorous

Sardines contain concentrations of protein and phosphorous. Various proteins are put to good use repairing body tissue from everyday stressors. Phosphorous, along with aforementioned calcium, build strong and healthy bones, teeth and gums.

Due to rampant industrial pollution of the world’s oceans, wild caught fish have been found to have high concentrations of dangerous heavy metals and other industrial waste substances. Due to these high levels of mercury and PCBs, high consumption of ocean fish can have negative health effects. Somewhat surprisingly, sardines have been found to have lower concentrations of these dangerous compounds, meaning that their health benefits are not as compromised as other oily fish.

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