Scary Foods to Make Yourself Eat: Sardines

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We all have food preferences. Things we like, things we don’t like. Things we’ll eat but don’t care for and things that completely gross us out. Much of the time it is okay to let our palates drive our choices. But we must realize that our tastes will not always lead us in the healthiest direction. Sometimes they’ll leave out entire food groups that are essential to optimizing health and longevity. At times it may be beneficial to shun our personal tastes and eat things we don’t particularly care for. Make our taste buds “take one for the team,” so to speak. Better yet, perhaps we could teach ourselves to like the foods that we know are good for us!

Sardines are one of those foods. The ones worth eating even if we don’t really like them. 

As one of the smallest fish commonly found on the dinner table, sardines are inherently very low in mercury and other toxins. They feed on plankton and grow rapidly, making them a valuable part of the marine ecosystem and contributing to their status as a sustainable abundant fishery. When canned and eaten with the bones they’re one of the best non-dairy sources of calcium in our food supply, as well as a hearty source for protein, vitamin B12, selenium, phosphorus and of course, those beloved omega-3 fats! A single can of sardines may have anywhere from 1-3 grams of omega-3 fats (depending on source and quality), making them our most concentrated food source and providing even more healthy fats than some fish oil supplements. That, coupled with their low toxin load, make them among the healthiest fish we can eat. Oh yeah, they’re also really cheap! And yet so few people eat them.

Time to get over it. Try them packed in olive oil, with cayenne pepper, in fresh marinara sauce, mustard or even smoked! Make a sandwich out of them, sub them for tuna in your tuna salad or eat them nice and clean over mixed greens.

Fish oil supplements can serve as a foundation and will always have therapeutic applications, but research consistently supports the value of getting our nutrients from fresh whole foods. So whether you like it or not, EAT IT!

Read more at FishWatch.gov. Nutrition data here.

Check out Vital Choice as one of the highest quality sources.

 

 

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April 2013
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