Sardines: Catch Some Calcium in a Can

August 6, 2013


Popular a century ago, sardines are swimming their way back onto the American plate. Sardines are inexpensive and highly nutritious. And since the small fish are at the bottom of the food chain, they are less likely to be contaminated with pollutants such as mercury and PCBs.

Delivering loads of calcium, sardines are also packed with vitamin D, which aids in the absorption of the bone-building mineral, and phosphorus, a mineral that strengthens bones.One 3.75-ounce can provides more than a third of the recommended daily intake of calcium.

Sardines are a super source of vitamin B12 and omega-3 fatty acids. They pack a punch of protein and a healthy dose of vitamin B2, niacinn and vitamin B6.

The little fish are at the top of the anti-aging food list for a nutrient punch that promotes hair growth and youthful shine.Add to their nutrition benefits cancer prevention, heart health, and immune-system boosting. What’s not to like?

Selecting Sardines

Buy fresh, firm-to-the-touch sardines that have bright eyes and shiny skin. More than 20 varieties of fish belonging to the Clupeidae family are sold as sardines.

In the United States, sardines are a small herring and adult sardines are known as pilchards.

Fresh sardines need to be gutted and rinsed under cold running water. Cook within a day, as they go south quickly.

Canned sardines keep for a long time. They make ideal backpacking fare as well as a quick lunch at the office. Preparation time is minimal. To reduce the calorie impact, consider rinsing canned sardines packed in oil under water before serving.

Fixing Fish

Grill or fry fresh sardines. Season with salt, pepper, and a squeeze of fresh citrus juice, and serve with warm, crusty bread and a salad.

Canned sardines are delicious over hearty, whole-grain crackers with some chopped onion and capers. Add to a Mediterranean salad, stir into tomato sauce for pasta, or mash into a homemade Caesar dressing.

Once you start incorporating sardines into your recipes, you’ll find a wealth of ways to include these tasty additions to your healthy diet.

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