How and Why to Eat Sardines

sardines1.jpgI recently decided I don’t like to eat meat that much because the taste of it grosses me out. So I started eating tuna because it’s much more palatable to me.

Then my husband decided he doesn’t want to deal with a senile wife 30 years from now – brought on by mercury poisoning – and he 86-ed the tuna.

A few of my friends swear by sardines, so I decided I’d give them a try. Turns out they’re AMAZING! I eat them every day now. More on how I eat them in a moment, but first I want to tell you another reason, aside from them being delicious, that you should eat them.

They’re nutritional powerhouses.

My naturopath told me to take fish oil supplements, but I hate taking those things. They give me weird burps. Remember, omega 3 fatty acids help lower inflammation in your body, which means less heart disease, diabetes, pain, skin problems, and many other things. Well, it turns out that sardines have more omega 3’s in them than many supplements, plus the added benefit of calcium (from the bones), iron, potassium, vitamin B12, choline, and a ton of protein.

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I eat the Wild Planet Sardines in Extra Virgin Olive Oil. According to the USDA food database, one 5 oz serving of sardines contains:

  • 295 calories
  • 16 g fat
  • 0 g carbs
  • 35 g protein (5 oz chicken breast has 44 g)
  • 541 mg calcium (8 oz of milk has 35o mg)
  • 4 mg iron (5 oz steak has 3 mg)
  • 563 mg potassium (medium banana has 422 mg)
  • 13 micrograms vitamin B12 (5 oz steak has 3.1 micrograms)
  • 106 mg choline (1 large egg has 146 mg)
  • 670 mg EPA (omega 3)
  • 722 mg DHA (omega 3)

So you can see that these nutrient amounts are really up there with some of the top sources of them. I mean, if you’re worried about calcium intake on Paleo, here’s your answer.

Now, let’s talk a little bit more about the omega 3’s.

If I were to take the fish oil supplement my ND wanted me to take, which was called LipiChol540 by PharmaceutiX and costs about $75 per 60 capsules… I would’ve gotten the following:

  • EPA per 2 capsules – 155 mg
  • DHA per 2 capsules – 105 mg
  • That means I’d have to take 14 capsules to get the same amount that’s in one can of sardines…

Another brand of omega 3 fish oil capsules that’s good and popular is Designs for Health. They have a product called OmegAvail Ultra, which is their highest dosage of omegas and costs about $75 for 240 capsules. It contains the following:

  • EPA per 2 capsules – 600 mg
  • DHA per 2 capsules – 400 mg
  • That means I’d have to take 4 capsules to get the same amount that’s in one can of sardines…

That’s a lot of pills.

So how do I eat them?

  1. I take a can of sardines and pour it all into a bowl. Yes, even the oil.
  2. Then I add half an avocado and about a teaspoon of mustard and smash it all up with a fork. It turns into sort of an artichoke dip-like consistency.
  3. Then I eat it with vegetables (carrots and celery do well) as a dip, or on potato or sweet potato chips (yes, I eat chips sometimes and I’m still alive), or on a tapioca crepe.

You could add anything you want to this mixture, just as you would a tuna salad. Maybe some peppers, spinach, cabbage, onions, olives, tomatoes, basil, or any other veggies you love. You could put it over a bed of lettuce if you wanted to, or spice it up with your favorite herbs.

I hope this gives you some inspiration to try out sardines! If anyone else has delicious recipes for them, please comment :)

Oh, and by the way, I told my naturopath the other day that I’ve been eating this every day and he told me not to worry about taking the pills as long as I’m doing that. Ha! Yay food!