When I was growing up, my mum took it upon herself to ensure we ate fish at least twice a week.
Fish is rich in nutrients that human body needs in order to thrive she could tell us.
I didn’t understand why, but we ate different kinds of fish cooked in different ways.
Today, I can relate to what she was talking about. The nutritionists have pressured people to consume more omega 3 fatty acids.
The famous way to source the fatty acid is in fish. However, with fish comes another concern, the high levels of mercury.
Unfortunately, with the current human pollution, the bigger the fish the higher the mercury content.
When your major concern is to improve your omega 3 levels through fish, buy the sardines. They are less expensive yet nutritious.
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What Are Sardines?
They are sometimes referred to as herring fish. They feature the small kind of fish that are also oily.
As food, sardines don’t only contain omega 3 fatty acids but also vitamin B12, proteins and selenium. They are also tasty and full of health benefits.
The sardines are linked to the Mediterranean Sea cuisine. In fact, the sardines were first found in an island in Italy called Sardinia.
The name sardines is in reference to this island. Sardines are a pack of nutrients and specifically a powerhouse of omega 3 fatty acids.
Different Kinds of Sardines
When trying to understand the sardine fish, it’s best to know that there are about 6 kinds of fish referred to as sardines in different parts of the world.
In fact, think of sardines as a category as opposed to a word referring to a fish.
- Pilchard: the word is frequently used in Europe to refer to the sardines.
- White sardine and slender white sardine
- Brisling sardine
- Round sardine
- Rainbow sardine and slender rainbow sardine
- Sardine brands
- South American pilchard
Best Sardine Brands
1. Wild Planet Wild Sardines
Now, this is among the best and most popular canned sardines you will ever find in the market today. This might be attributed to the fact that the sardines are stored in the extra virgin oil.
They are the most loved choice because and for that reason you can have the sauce as packed in water, dipped into extra virgin oil, the EVO packed in with lemon and those in marina sauce. The popular one though is the one packed in extra virgin oil.
In this case, the fish is cleaned of the scales, tails and heads. Luckily, they have minimal bones which are ideal for those who don’t like eating bones. The skin is however left for you to obtain the health benefits. The olive oil also enhances the nutritious benefits of the meal.
The fish is sourced in California coast which is famous for being a house of sea creatures. The other thing that makes the sardines adorable is that since they are whole, they hold together in the can. This feature is best for those who love seeing what they are eating.
2. Crown Prince Skinless & Boneless Sardines in Olive Oil
This is the best choice for starters. They contain no bones and skin and they deliver a crunchy feel that you will only embrace once you are used to it. Made from the high-quality pilchard sardines, they are kosher certified and packed in pure oil.
The sardines are delicately flavored, mild and reasonably firm in texture. They feel and taste more like tuna.
They work best alongside other meals too. This is especially good news for a beginner in the sardine world like me. You can use it to make sardine crispy fingers.
What I like the most about it is that it’s kosher and gluten-free. The sardines are delicious and they come soaked in olive oil making it suitable for those trying it out for the first time.
3. King Oscar Sardines Extra Virgin Olive Oil
How else would you describe this?
They feature some of the smallest sizes of sardines. This is a well-respected brand that normally has the jalapenos small sized sardines that are spicy in nature. The moment you try the King Oscar sardines, using other brands becomes tricky.
The only problem is that you will have a problem eating it directly from the can since they are delicate and tend to fall off.
It features the wild caught fish, wood-smoked for a light flavor and packed in olive oil. The pepper makes it hotter and it blends well with the olive oil. It contains no preservatives and its kosher certified. In this case, neither the skin nor the bones are removed.
The fish is comfortable to eat even with the bones because they are very small. If you are concerned about your health, note that these are the healthy sardine with a pack of nutrients. It can work as a snack or for your dinner meal.
Consider using it on different sandwiches or over freshly cooked pasta.
4. BRUNSWICK Sardine Fillets in Spring Water
Would like to have a clean and natural tasting sardine?
This is the pack to buy. It contains no oil or tomato sauce which adds extra flavor. For a person who is already familiar with the sardine taste, this will be so good. You are sure to consume only healthy stuff with Brunswick since not even salt is added to it.
It’s best used by those in a keto diet because it will act as a keto food or snack. You have every reason to snack healthy and here is your best choice. This is a pack of proteins rich in omega 3 fatty acids.
The fillers will act as the perfect suit for your sandwich or when you want to eat them on their own.
5. Season Sardines in Water
For those who want the healthy option, this is for you. It features an all-natural product without the use of gluten, GMO and BPA.
If you also aim at reducing your sodium consumption then choose this season brand.
The sardines in here are caught from the waters of Morocco. They are delicious with soft bones which makes it suitable for any Mediterranean recipe.
This is a pack of whole sardines. My quick advice though, as a beginner don’t start eating sardines in this pack.
This features a pack of fish nutrients and reduced cholesterol since its preserved in water. It contains larger pieces than most brands.
Note that they will not give you the high levels of omega 3 if that is all you are interested in.
6. Skinless and Boneless Sardines
The seasons skinless and boneless sardines give you every health benefit you need from a can of sardines. The sardines are sourced from Morocco seas which means that this is a fresh and rich meal. Unlike the previous one, this one is packed in olive oil.
It has an additional salt to season the meal. For an easy way to include fish in your meals without buying fresh fish choose seasons sardines. You may even consume better nutrients than you would have using fresh fish.
They are healthy as they contain no GMO and are gluten-free. The fish are larger than most brands and they appear whole.
It’s further tasty and mild making it suitable for your little ones to begin using.
These are small fish that inhabit the waters in North Atlantic. They are smaller than the regular sardines but are tastier and of high quality.
They offer even more health benefits than the regular sardines. They are known for their low-calorie level and their abundance is all that most users need.
7. King Oscar Wild Caught Brisling Sardines
These are originally from the Norway pristine. It features delicious and healthy tiny sardines.
They are even better tasting and full of flavor when placed in the tapatio sauce. it’s a pack of omega 3 fatty acids, calcium protein and iron.
It’s also free of GMO, sugar and gluten while it has fewer carbohydrates. This here is a simple food that is ready to eat. Consider using it in tacos, nachos or direct from the tin.
It normally contains anything between 8-12 fish pieces per can.
Brisling Sardines vs Regular Sardines
- They are both just kinds of sardines. However, the brisling sardines are tinier in size than the regular sardines.
- The brisling sardines only exist in pure waters like Norway. There’s, therefore, no possibility of finding mercury in the water. This might not be true for all the other kinds of sardines.
- The brisling is only found in the icy water of the North and it’s a kind of fish that is also known as sprats.
- Although sardines contain omega 3 fatty acids that your body needs, the brisling has a higher concentration of the same than sardines.
The concern over the safety of fish means more people don’t want to eat mercury metal for health reasons. However, the sardines are said to be the safest option of fish available.
This is because they are at the bottom of the aquatic feeding level which means that they consume very minimal to no mercury.
They feed solely on plankton. They also only live for a maximum of 14 years and are the most sustainable yet the healthiest option for a man to use. Sardines are fully wild and never ever farmed. Its life cycle can’t allow them to be farmed.
For utmost benefits, it’s best to eat about 3-4 cans of sardines a week.
This features the famous sardines brand called King Oscar. Tiny tots are basically about the brisling’s sardines.
They are wild caught fish that are handpicked and packed in the high-quality virgin oil. The brislings are wood smoked and thus deliver a light smoky flavor.
It’s nutritious as it contains no preservatives and no extra additives. This is sourced and packed in an eco-friendly way.
It’s kosher certified and you should try it on sandwich, salads and pasta.
Nutritional Facts of Canned Sardines
Sardines are generally packed with omega 3 fatty acids and that’s the reason why they are so popular today.
Aside from that, they are also packed with vitamin D. The question of whether the sardine fish is healthy or not is a question of how much you consume in a day.
The calorie contents can vastly surpass the required level making it rather unhealthy instead.
- The breakdown
Notice that, depending on the size of the fish, an ounce serving consist of one or 2 sardines and when this is preserved in the oil an ounce adds up to about 59 calories. The same ounce when preserved in tomato sauce will add to about 52 calories.
Sodium consumption is also a factor of consideration. Where an ounce of the serving contains about 6-8% of the required sodium consumption.
Your canned sardines that contain about 3.75 ounces contains about 191 calories but the same can also contain 22.7g of protein and 10.5g of fat.
Note that. the can won’t deliver carbohydrates, sugar or fiber. However, it has the ideal required protein consumption per day.
- It’s a pack of favorable fats
We all know that the sardines are packed with omega 3 fatty acids. The fatty acids lower cholesterol level in the blood and fight inflammation among other benefits. An ounce of sardines delivers about .27 grams of omega 3 fatty acids.
One other important fact is that it is low in mercury
This is a power house for vitamins.
Vitamin B12 is consumed from animal-based foods but also fish. 1 ounce of the fish provides the days recommended intake for vitamin B12. This ultimately prevents you from cardiovascular disease.
Vitamin D is also consumed from this sardine naturally. This helps in maintaining strong bones.
With all this information, observe the sodium amount because it’s often high in canned food.
How to Eat Sardines
The versatility of sardines makes it ideal for use. You may use sardine as a snack, salad, sandwich or generally as part of the main meal.
- Place the sardines on a plate then drizzle some balsamic vinegar over it before you begin eating.
- Take your sardine and together with slices of avocado wrap it in a romaine lettuce.
- If you intend to cook with the sardines, remember, they act as your flavor enhancers. Make sure they are your salty addition to the meal.
- If you are eating salad, for example, a few pieces of sardines will add flavor and nutrients to your meal. People commonly use it when they intend to eat a light Greek salad so that they can consume the vital nutrients.
- For you who has a problem eating the sardine alone, mix it in fritters and you will receive the exact benefits.
- Grill the fresh or canned sardines for the enhancement of flavors.
- You can even chop them into small pieces then add to your pasta sauce for enhanced flavor.
- Alternatively, serve it with cheese and bread during the cocktail hour.
- Use it to make the Mediterranean casserole.
- If you suffer from any kind of kidney disease or gout, avoid the sardines because they contain an item that enhances the production of uric acid. The uric acid will build up further for a person who has the condition already.
- Canned foods and canned sardines are generally high in sodium. Therefore, if you are watching your weight or you are required to regulate the amount of salt you take, check the can to ensure the sodium level is down.
- Another concern is the calories. they tend to have a high number of calories regardless of the preservative used. So, take note of the calories you consume per serving.
How Do Sardine Taste Like?
Basically, they taste like fish or fish tuna. Remember they are a form of fish which means they will have the taste of fish or other seafood.
However, for the ones packed in tomato sauce, they may also have a mild tomato sauce taste.
Health Benefits of Eating Sardines
- A high content of omega 3
Most people are deficient in omega 3 fatty acids yet its vital for our bodies. Sardines are the powerhouse of omega 3 fatty acids.
A single can serving can provide up to 1300 milligrams. The best part is that the sardine will provide 2 parts of the omega 3 called EPA & DHA.
These are vital components of reducing inflammation. What makes this function good is that it reduces the risk of developing heart diseases, your brain functions better and it ultimately lowers the risk of getting the terminal illnesses.
The omega 3 also helps alleviate depression, fight some cancers, arthritis and heart diseases. For more omega 3 fatty acids eat more walnuts, flaxseeds and chia seeds.
- It’s rich in essential nutrients
The sardines also contain vitamin B and D, selenium, calcium and proteins.
- It keeps your bones healthy
For a healthy skeletal structure, you need various minerals and vitamins this is something sardines are proud to poses.
It has calcium, phosphorus and vitamin D which your bones need. The combination of these three makes it easy for bone metabolism which helps in the development of new bones.
- Controls the blood sugar
They are packed with essential fats that regulate the absorption of sugar into your body. The protein and high fats slow down the consumption of glucose into the body.
This factor makes it vital for those who have diabetes or are experiencing metabolic problems.
- Promotes weight loss
The content of sardines makes you feel full thereby reducing the craving for more food. Although people say that its high in calories, the other nutrients benefits surpass its calories drawback. In fact, if you use it as directed you will only consume a low level of calories.
- It’s low in mercury and other pollutants
The fish is eco-friendly. It feeds on planktons and it’s said to consume zero to no metals.
Fish can be made many recipes, check out below:
- Whole Baked Fresh Fish And Summer Salad
- Braise Fish – Chinese Style Hong Shao Yu
- Golden-Crispy Delicious Air Fryer Fish Recipe
- Chinese Squirrel Mandarin Fish Recipe
- Sweet And Sour Fish
- Sichuan Boiled Fish – Step By Step Shui Zhu Yu Recipe
Factors to Consider When Buying Canned Sardines
If you are afraid to try the canned sardines because you didn’t have a great experience once you ate one here is something you need to know.
There are various other canned sardines that are tasty and mild. Maybe you should try the different ones before you conclude that this isn’t for you.
- Ensure you buy only the one with actual sardines
Something that most people don’t understand is that most of the fish sold as sardines aren’t the actual sardines.
The sardines differ depending on which part of the world they were caught. The herrings, pilchards, sprad and iwashi are all types of sardines.
Check your container to know where it was caught from. They slightly differ in flavor. You may not like the ones caught in Norway but enjoy the ones in North America and vice versa. This is all just a personal preference.
- What is the fish preserved in?
The medium of preservation matters. Generally, the fish is normally salted then preserved in different mediums. The standard form of preservation is olive oil which doesn’t influence the flavor but enhances the omega 3 fatty acids.
Other mediums include water, tomato sauce, hydrogenated oils among others.
- Seasoning used
Before you buy the sardine confirm which ingredients are used in the preservation. The only seasoning should be salt and preservation oil. Extra seasoning may influence the taste.
- The sardines size
As we have mentioned, the sardines used differ as they are from different places. Their sizes may differ too this means that the larger the fish the larger the bones. While the bones are rich in calcium, it puts some people off.
- How do you intend to prepare it?
The way you will eat the sardine differs a lot. For example, the kind of sardine you intend to eat directly from the can shouldn’t be the same as the one you will place in a recipe you are cooking.
Consider the fact that this is a perishable meal. Once you open the can you should use it immediately. If you have some leftovers though, refrigerate the remains but even then, don’t let it stay in there for long.
I must say, whether you like the taste of sardines or not you should find a way to eat them. The health benefits way surpasses the taste.
You don’t have to eat it straight from your can rather consider cooking it or adding it to different other meals if to make it edible.