Sardines a Superfood?

Of course sardines are food.  I know that, but who eats them?  Not me.  I dont generaly go to the grocery store and grab my milk, butter, veggies and sardines.  Its just not what I think about buying, ever!

However, in my spare time I do a bit of nutritional study and reading.  I know that may sound a bit weird but I have really started to take a lot of interest in nutrition and finding out about different misconceptions that people have about whats good for you and whats not.

Anyway, I was reading an article called The 11 Best Foods You Aren’t Eating and saw Sardines listed in the #8 spot.  I hadn’t really thought about sardines as a health food.  Just a “gross” food. So after reading a few more articles like this one, this one and a couple medical studies like this one I decided to give them a go.  Here are some of the highlights of the nutritional facts then I will get a bit more into my personal experience.

EPA, systematically called all-cis-5, 8, 11, 14, 17-icosapentaenoicacid, is a carboxylic acid with a 20-carbon chain with five cisdouble bonds (sometimes denoted as C20:5(n-3)). This FA is involved inthe production of eicosanoids, which are hormone-like substances which actas vasodilators and anti-platelet aggregators. EPA is a precursor to theeicosanoids known as series 3 prostaglandins and thromboxanes and series 5 leukotrienes.

Just kidding, here are some of the basic nutritional facts:

Of particular note is the high amount of Vitamin B12 which is an extremely important component in preventing nervous system diseases and promoting brain functions.  It is also one of the very best ways (nutritionally) to naturally boost your metabolism, which can translate to natural weight loss and better muscle building.  Also the extraordinarily high amount of Omega-3 fatty acids occurring naturally is massively beneficial. A few of the more in-depth scientific studies I read cite sardines as actually being able to help naturally fight cancer and other degenerative diseases.  The main reason that sardines are so filled with beneficial nutrients is because of the types of plankton they eat.

Anyway, on to my first real sardine experience.  I read that I should buy the sardines packed in olive oil rather than fish oil, water or soy oil. There is a tomato packed option as well that does not appeal to me one bit.  So I picked up a can from my local super market  (I was a bit freaked out and didn’t want to buy more than one can just in case I hated it).  I read online that one cooking option is just to fry them up in a pan. This option is very handy since they are already soaked in olive oil making it easier (and cheaper).  So in they went, fried up for a few min with a bit of natural sea salt and some black pepper and that’s it.  I also sliced up a tomato (just because it was there staring at me in the fridge) with some salt and pepper too.

Eating the sardines was a bit weird at first because you eat it with the bones in and scales on and everything.  The bones are very soft though and didnt really bother me. Same with the scales.  They dont still have the heads on (usually) so its just the body.  The flavor was not nearly as “fishy” as I was thinking it was going to be.  I feel like because they were packed olive oil that it significantly softens the “fishy” flavor.  I fried them till the outside was slightly crispy which made them quite nice but they are slightly weird for me at first just by themselves. After eating most of them quite happily I ate the rest by just wrapping them up in the sliced tomatoes.  That was really nice actually!

It was a nice experience over all and I am interested in trying other methods of preparation.  I am quite stoked about the health benefits and plan to include them in my regular diet.