Sardines Day

November 24th is Sardines Day. Sardines are several types of small, edible fish in the herring family. Sardines were found in great schools along the coasts of Europe and were named after the Island of Sardina. Sardines are typically canned and sold in supermarkets. They are washed, their heads removed, cooked and then dried. They are packed in oil, water or a sauce. Sardines are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and a good source of vitamin D, calcium, B12 and protein.

Association recommends eating at least two 3 1/2-oz. servings of fish per week. However, all fish and seafood contain at least some mercury. Because of this, the FDA cautions against eating too much fish and recommends no more than 12 oz. per week. Although sardines are low in mercury, it's still best to limit them to no more than three servings per week.

Heart-healthy omega-3s are essential fats that your body cannot manufacture on its own; you need to get them from the food you eat. These healthy fats are found in the highest quantities in a few varieties of fish: salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring, lake trout and sardines. Thought to help decrease the development of cardiovascular disease, omega-3s are an important part of a healthy diet.

Other Nutrients
Sardines are a good source of other vitamins and minerals. These little fish contain iron, magnesium, potassium, calcium and B vitamins. Sardines are typically canned with bones and skin, though boneless and skinless varieties are available. Boneless sardines will be lower in calcium. For added vitamins C and A, select sardines canned in tomato sauce.