The Nutrition of Sardines

Sardines, also known as pilchards, are small fish that belong to the family of Clupeidae fish. The name of sardines comes from the Sardinia island, around which there used to be a lot of such small fish. As a matter of fact, the name sardines refers to various small fish that have similar properties and nutrient contents. The sardines are low in fat, contain proteins and omega fatty acids, and are often consumed as part of meals.

Calorie Content

Sardines contain around 250 calories per 100 grams, out of which, around 125 calories are from fat. The rest are calories from proteins. One sardine contains about 25 calories.

Protein Contents in Sardines

One hundred grams of sardines contain about 30 grams of protein, which means that this type of fish can be consumed to replace meat. Two hundred grams of sardines can be consumed to reach the daily recommended dose of proteins, based on a 2,000 calorie/day diet.

Fat Content

The fat content of 100 grams of sardines is around 10 grams, which accounts for about 20% of the recommended daily fat requirements. Out of these 10 grams, 2 are saturated fats and there are no trans fats.

Omega Fatty Acids

Sardines contain omega 3 fatty acids, which are healthy antioxidants. The presence of these substances will make the sardines a healthy choice. The omega 3 fatty acids can prevent serious medical conditions such as:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Hypertension
  • Hyperglycemia
  • Kidney cancer (according to some recent studies published in the Journal of the American Medical Association)

Sardines also contain omega 6 fatty acids.

Other Vitamins and Nutrients

Sardines are also known to contain vitamin D, which is important for promoting the absorption of calcium. It is also essential for the health of the bones. Vitamin D is also beneficial for the immune system.

Other vitamins and nutrients that exist in sardines include:

  • Vitamin B6
  • Vitamin B12 – only 50 grams of sardines contain 100% of the daily recommended amount of B12
  • Thiamin
  • Riboflavin
  • Niacin
  • Panthotenic acid
  • Folate
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin K
  • Choline
  • Calcium
  • Iron, helping to prevent anemia
  • Magnesium
  • Manganese
  • Phosphorus
  • Potassium
  • Zinc

The content of cholesterol is surprisingly high in sardines (100 grams of sardines contain about 70% of the daily recommended dose of cholesterol). Sardines don’t contain any fiber or sugar.

Sardines and Mercury

Many specialists advise against consuming certain kinds of fish (i.e. King Mackerel, swordfish, tilefish), as they may contain mercury. However, the amount of mercury in sardines is negligible when compared to other types of fish made available for human consumption.  

Sardines may be prepared by grilling or frying them and adding garlic or lemon juice. Canned sardines may be consumed as such. Grilling or frying will not have a significant impact on the nutrients and vitamins in the sardines.



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