I'm a family herbalist, so my interests obviously lie heavily in the direction of medicinal herbs, but also in health in general — and health derives from quality nutrition. So while you might find it strange to see a sardine post on a botanically named blog, I still maintain that it belongs here.
When we look at traditional cultures throughout history it is interesting to note that while many peoples have enjoyed vibrant health while consuming almost no fruits and vegetables (witness the Inuit, Masai and Samburu), no traditional cultures have ever been found to be 100% vegetarian. There is a reason for this. Ancient wisdom makes it crystal clear that there are essential factors (especially particular fats and hormones) available in flesh foods that are not available in plants — or at least not in appreciable quantities.
Sardines are another fine source of Omega-3 fatty acids like those provided by flaxseeds.
According to Dr. Jerry Bowden, “Omega-3s help with mood, thinking, circulation, and glucose and insulin metabolism; they lower blood pressure; and they protect against heart disease.”
Besides essential fatty acids, sardines also provide an abundance of calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper, manganese and the full complement of B vitamins. While fresh is definitely best, one can of sardines provides 150 percent of the Daily Value of vitamin B12, in particular.
Sardines are also a good source of selenium, a cancer fighting trace mineral—providing up to 75 percent of the Daily Value of selenium per can—and unlike tuna and some larger fish, they do not accumulate toxic levels of substances like mercury, since they are so low on the food chain.
How to Use Sardines
I personally enjoy sardines straight out of the can with a few saltine crackers and thinly sliced onion. And while there's nothing that can compare with fresh sardines, even canned sardines can make an elegant healthy meal. If you like seafood with your pasta here's a recipe for you:
Sardine Pasta Recipe