Sardines have been around for centuries, said to be named after Sardinia, an island off the coast of Italy, where they are found in abundance. They feed on plankton, which means they don’t contain the high levels of mercury that other fish do. They are a staple in European diets because of their delicious flavour, health and skin benefits. Sardines are one of the most nutrient dense foods in the world.
Omega-3 fatty acids: sardines contain the most beneficial and easily absorbed fatty acids, which help both our physical and mental health and boost brain function. Their anti-inflammatory properties protect against Heart disease.
Vitamin B12: this crucial vitamin is essential for so many vital functionings of the body. It keeps the body's nerves and Blood cells healthy and helps make DNA, the genetic material in all cells, helps against anaemia that makes people tired and weak. It is especially great for those who are pregnant or elderly.
Minerals: contains essential minerals like selenium, niacin, iron, potassium, magnesium, zinc and phosphorus. Because it is hard to get adequate minerals from our soil and food, this is a great source.
Bone health: sardines are one of the few foods that contain calcium, phosphorus and vitamin D, which regulates bone metabolism, a process in which mature bone tissue is removed to allow for the formation of new bone tissue.
In terms of TICM, sardines are known for their ability to tonify Qi and Yin. This means that they are able to strengthen our vital energy as well as nourish our bodily fluids lubricating the body and combating dry conditions. This also includes strengthening our Blood. They are able to regulate water circulation, helping both the Kidney and Spleen organ systems.
If you are lucky enough to have access to fresh sardines, make sure they smell fresh, have shiny skin, bright eyes with a firm texture. Because they are highly perishable, they are often canned in oil or water. But they are still delicious. You can grill them, bake them, or eat them as is, add lemon and oregano.
Note: When buying fish, ensure that the head has not been cut off so you can see the eyes. I now purchase live fish from Springvale. Yes it costs triple what I would for a dead headless fish, but with the live fish, I can feel its energy and spirit. When I bring my fish home, I talk to my fish with love and tell the fish what I am about to do putting all my positive energy into it.