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Eating Sardines: The Health Benefits

British Food

Most people who aren’t vegetarians know that fish are really one of the healthiest foods for human beings on the planet. But you don’t hear a lot of people who love one type of fish that should be eaten more than any other: Sardines. You’ve probably seen those little cans in grocery stores cramming (yeah, it’s where that claustrophobic term came from) half-a-dozen sardines into a little pull-tab tin container. I’ll bet that you or people you know likely pass them up thinking that fish not sitting on a stack of ice in the meat and poultry section of your grocery stores isn’t safe to eat or that they just don’t taste good. Well, here’s a chance for you to learn otherwise and have one of the best dietary discoveries in your life.

I admit that I used to be skeptical about eating sardines (or called pilchards in some circles). Sometimes I’d see members of my family buying them and having them as a snack, thinking they were actually going to get a stomach ache later in the day from eating an entire can or just getting too much sodium intake. Well, it isn’t always easy to study your own naïvete when you’re younger, because I had a lot to learn. Eventually, I was able to get educated about what the benefits were of sardines and find out that they contained omega 3 fatty acids, which are known to literally save your life and make your body function at its healthiest.

During the age when all the worry about mercury in fish started, it was also revealed that sardines have the lowest amount of mercury, making them really the safest fish to eat of any in the world. The greatest benefits, though, are the fact that they can help your brain power, keep your heart healthy and keep your blood sugar levels normal as just a start, all thanks to those omega fatty acids. When you see these as a main delicacy in places such as Spain, Portugal and India, they manage to keep a large share of the populations there living a long time.

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If you hate British food and think it’s unhealthy, consider that the U.K. was even once a leader in sardine (or pilchard) processing until it went into decline for about 100 years…and then recently revived. Perhaps the decline during most of the 20th century kept the British population from living as long as they could have, despite most Brits living to 100 anyway.

It just seems amazing that sardines haven’t caught on here in America as much as they should. Not that I want a run on them so I’ll have trouble getting them in grocery stores. And the good news is that they run cheap (usually around $1 a can in my state) with usually half-a-dozen plump sardines crammed in so you get your money’s worth and knowledge that 25 cents for one sardine is a cheap way to get something that helps your brain power and overall health.

But how they’re prepared in the brand you buy makes a big difference in whether you’ll have nightmares and forgetting about ever going back to eating them again. Believe it or not, you’ll occasionally (though very rarely) find brands that don’t eviscerate the sardines or even not remove the heads or gills. The best quality brands take care of this for you and pack the sardines in spring water...

Arguably the best sardine company in the U.S. (or actually Canada)…

From my personal experience, Brunswick is the best company selling sardines in the general grocery store market. Their canned sardines are packed with the heads and gills removed–plus being (from what I can tell) thoroughly eviscerated. They’re also packed in spring water which you can just pour out into your sink as you open the can. Brunswick also manages to get at least half-a-dozen sardines packed into those little cans. It may appear you only have three in there at first glance, but when you dig in to take the sardines out, you’ll see how tightly packed they are.

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As most people familiar with food products know, Brunswick has been around for a long time–about 120 years to be exact. They were (and still are) one of the leaders in canned sardines starting in the late 19th century onward, frequently selling their sardines all over the world. You have to give them credit, too, for having a name that actually tells the truth. Yes, they really do catch and prepare the fish up in New Brunswick, Canada where their main headquarters are. When I first saw the Brunswick brand, I automatically thought it was another company insinuating their product came from a certain part of the world and not subscribing to the notion that a food company would actually be the real deal.

Well, I sound like a shill for the company when I have no association with them other than loving their product and being one who wants to buy sardines regularly without having to travel somewhere far to get them. As far as I can tell, Brunswick prepares them in the most superior way from any other brand out there. You can also safely keep your open can of sardines in a refrigerator for up to four days without any threat of getting sick.

You should also know that Brunswick sells other fish products in addition to cans of sardines with different flavors. Some of those flavors are mustard and dill, tomato & basil and even hot tabasco peppers. These add more calories and I wouldn’t necessarily recommend those all the time as tasty as they still are. The best and healthiest products you’ll find in your entire grocery store are Brunswick’s plain sardines packed in spring water…and no salt added.

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Perhaps you’ve seen what’s called a “Sardine Diet” and scoffed at it thinking that it’s another fad diet with all the others that never have a sense of balance. Trust me when I say that if you ate sardines every day, you’d be guaranteed to have a sharper brain (it’s said to even reverse some of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease), a perfect cholesterol level, a healthy heart and a normal blood sugar. In fact, if every person ate these in America, there wouldn’t be a health care crisis in the least. Too bad the canned sardines are probably overlooked in the grocery stores while people head for the snacks with trans-fatty acids that can eventually cause heart disease, Diabetes or stroke.

This all assumes you aren’t a vegetarian, of course. If you are, it might be more of a challenge getting vital omega 3 fatty acids in your diet, though there are some roundabout ways. For those who do eat meat and looking for something different while still tasting good, go buy a can of sardines and try them out on a sandwich. The taste will probably addict you and you’ll keep buying them while you end up confounding your doctor at your next physical why you keep getting such outstanding results on your blood chemistry test.