There are a lot of good reasons to eat more canned fish, beyond that it’s been trending on TikTok for years. Canned fish, like canned sardines, are a quick and convenient way to get seafood in your diet that requires little to no prep work. The 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines s Americans recommend consuming 8 to 12 ounces of seafood (or about two to three 4-ounce servings) per week to help you reap the health benefits it provides. To meet these recommendations, consumers have a variety of options to choose from, canned sardines included. Whether canned sardines are already a part of your diet or something you’re considering trying, you may be wondering if they’re a healthy option and how their nutrition compares.
In this article, we’ll cover what registered dietitians want you to know about canned sardines and how to nutritiously add them to your diet.
Canned Sardine Nutrition
Here is the nutrition information for one 5-ounce can (75 grams) of sardines:
- Calories: 160
- Carbohydrates: 0g
- Dietary fiber: 0g
- Total sugar: 0g
- Added sugar: 0g
- Protein: 18g
- Total fat: 8.5g
- Saturated fat: 1g
- Cholesterol: 106mg
- Sodium: 230mg
- Vitamin B12: 6.7mcg
- Vitamin D: 3.6mcg
- Calcium: 286mg
- Iron: 2.19mg
- Omega-3 DHA: 382mg
- Omega-3 EPA: 355mg
Canned sardines are a nutritional powerhouse. Not only are they an excellent source of protein, vitamin B12, vitamin D and calcium (containing more than 20% of the Daily Value), but they’re also a good source of iron (containing more than 10% DV). Plus, canned sardines contain close to 100% of the recommended daily intake of omega-3 fatty acids.
Keep in mind, though, the National Institutes of Health’s recommended daily intake for omega-3s hasn’t been updated in over 20 years and does not give specific guidance about the amount of the different types of omega-3s (ALA, DHA and EPA) that should be consumed. Current recommendations from the American Heart Association suggest consuming 250 milligrams of EPA and DHA per day (or more if you have high cholesterol or triglyceride levels) to reap their benefits. Canned sardines provide more of both EPA and DHA than these recommendations.
Health Benefits of Canned Sardines
From cardiovascular to cognitive health, the benefits canned sardines can offer are bountiful.
May Offer Heart-Health Benefits
Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death for adults in the United