Writing this blog often makes me realize that I am not following my own advice. I've written a lot about inflammation, including my most recent cauliflower post. But one of the most important things you can do to keep your inflammation low is increase your Omega-3 intake. And although I make a great effort to cook fresh fish once a week, I think I could be doing a lot better.
So I decided to reassess and see how I can shove it back in.
I started by adding a spoonful of Omega-3 oil to my smoothie every morning. This made a noticeable difference. For one, I feel more satisfied after my breakfast. And because I am also giving up coffee for a bit (more on that later), I found that it increased my energy and morning concentration.
Feeling these differences only made me want to get even more in my diet. But not through supplementation. Through food.
Enter: the sardine.
Ahhh, the sardine. The bottom of the aquatic food chain. The kind of canned fish that you’ve passed a million times in the grocery store, but most likely never even considered picking it up. The kind of topping that Michelangelo would put on his ‘za. (The turtle, not the artist).
I know, I know. Your face just scrunched up at the thought of eating one. But in all seriousness, sardines are one of the best and most underrated health foods out there. Better yet, they’re also one of the cheapest. I'm talking less than $2 here. And because they are at the bottom of the food chain – feeding solely on plankton, their mercury levels are much less of a concern than other fish higher up on the food chain.
Need more reasons before you dive in? Well, let me see…
Vitamin D $$Rich$$
This is the stuff that you're supposed to get from the sun (but if you live in Chicago like me, the rays can be PRETTY hard to catch). Sardines have an unusually high amount (one can gets you 63% of your daily intake). Plus, they are a great source of phosphorus, a mineral that is important to strengthen the bones.
Loaded with Protein
Protein = Amino acids.
Amino acids –> Create new proteins.
Proteins = Basis of muscles and connective tissues, antibodies that keep our immune system strong, and deliver oxygen and nutrients throughout our bodies. Good stuff.
Hearty Heart Health
Sardines actually rank as one of the THE MOST concentrated food sources of B12 in the world (one can will get you to 100% of your daily intake). Vitamin B12 promotes cardiovascular wellbeing.
This is one of the few cases where getting the can is even better than getting fresh because with canned sardines, you’re getting the whole animal – bones and all. Don’t get grossed out; sardines are so small and cooked so thoroughly that even the bones are soft enough to eat, providing a concentrated source of vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats in one easy peasy package. I’m talking 35% of the recommended daily intake in one can.
Oh yeah, and the whole point – They are Omega-3 ROCKSTARS
They are one of the most concentrated sources of the Omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, which have been found to lower triglycerides and cholesterol levels; one can of sardines actually contains over 50% of the daily value for these important nutrients. One can is actually equivalent to taking a fish oil supplement, but with even more added benefits. That’s insane.
Anyways, enough chit chat for today. I’ve got a great recipe to help you get a little sardine love in your life. I’m 99% sure that, even if you don’t think you like sardines, you’ll like them like this. And everything else in the recipe is also really, really good for you. Can’t go wrong. Right?
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