Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Dark Chocolate Can Reduce Heart Attack Risks and Many Other Benefits

Dark Chocolate Reduces Heart Attack Clotting Risk

dark chocolate heart attacks
Dark chocolate has been shown to be pretty good for you across multiple studies. Now a new study adds another neat effect  ̶  a reduction in the type of clotting caused by emotional stress responsible for the Monday morning heart attack. This is the observation that men under stress tend to clot more which can lead to an obstructed artery in the heart.
Dark chocolate contains flavinoids, which are thought to be a type of super food compound. To date, the resume of dark chocolate in health studies is pretty wide and deep. For example, a trio of heart studies last year suggested that dark chocolate could help patients with blocked leg arteries walk and reduced the stiffness of the artery wall in patients with high blood pressure. Other studies have shown that dark chocolate is as good as cholesterol lowering statin drugs in reducing heart attack risk.
The new study looked at more than sixty men who were given either flavinoid rich dark chocolate or a special placebo chocolate with no flavinoid content. Two hours after they ate the chocolate, the men were given stressful tasks like public speaking and mental arithmetic while their blood clotting was measured. This type of emotionally induced blot clotting in men is thought to be at the “heart” of why men get big heart attacks in stressful situations like work. The results? The real chocolate group with flavinoids had a significant reduction in clotting tests with stress compared to the men that ate the placebo chocolate. This reduction was also directly related to flavinoid levels in the blood.
The upshot? Can eating dark chocolate prevent heart attacks just like the side effect laden statin drugs? Other studies have shown promise. This study just adds more scientific fuel to the fire that adding a square or two of dark chocolate to your baby aspirin or red wine may put a dent in your cardiac risk!

Monday, August 7, 2017

What Are the Health Benefits of Aronia (Chokeberries)?

What Are the Health Benefits of Aronia (Chokeberries)?

Aug. 7, 2017

aronia berries

Story at-a-glance

  • Native to North America, aronia berries had a long history of helping to keep Native American tribes alive for centuries due to the berries’ abundance and powerful nutritional properties
  • Fiber is one of their greatest contributions to health because it helps slough old food particles from your colon as they move through, effectively serving as a cancer-protective agent
  • Aronia berries are rich in antioxidant polyphenols, a type of micronutrient that may help prevent cancer and cardiovascular disease and decrease inflammation linked to other serious diseases
 Dr. Mercola
In today's growing consciousness of health and well-being, more people are paying attention to the foods they put in their bodies. As such, aronia berries, with the traditional moniker chokeberries, are emerging on the scene. It's not surprising, really, when you look at all the antioxidants and nutrition-rich compounds packed in each little bright blue berry, which looks like a cross between a small Concord grape and either a blueberry or cranberry, depending on the variety.
They grow in dense clusters and have a mouth-wateringly tart, as well as unique, flavor — hence the name chokeberry. The berries grow on small, deciduous shrubs in the colder regions of North America. They belong to the Rosaceae family and have the botanical name Aronia melanocarpa. Red chokeberries are Aronia arbutifolia. Nutrition and You calls them "tiny, wild, subarctic berries" and notes:
"(The) fruits (have) relatively thick, pigmented skin in pendulous clusters. Red berries are sweeter than black varieties, while the latter are slightly bitter in taste. However, black and blue color berries are rather rich sources [of the] anthocyanin class of pigment antioxidants."1
Fresh aronia berries can be used in many of the same ways other berries are, including in jam, yogurt, wine and numerous desserts. Dried aronia berries are sold in many health food stores as a healthy snack. You can add them to your DIY trail mix and other foods if you want to "up" your nutrient quotient. The dried berries can also be infused with boiling water and steeped to make an antioxidant-rich herbal tea.
When you eat these and other foods containing chokeberries, you arm yourself with many powerful vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A, C and E, folate and such minerals as potassium, iron and manganese. Then there are the antioxidants and a host of phytonutrients packed in these little berries.

What's the Big Deal About Antioxidants?

As mentioned, chokeberries come with several types of powerful antioxidants; in fact, they have the highest antioxidant capacity among other berries and any other fruit.2 Part of the significance of antioxidants is their ability to protect your body's cells from the damaging effects of oxidation. Clinical studies indicate that eating berries, including aronia berries, on a regular basis helps fight neurological diseases, cancer, aging, inflammation, diabetes and bacterial infections.
One of the ways it accomplishes this is the antioxidant protection that can support overall health as they help eradicate free radicals in your bloodstream, organs and tissues that could otherwise cause healthy cells to mutate, Organic Facts explains.3 According to Aronia Berry News,4 100 grams (or 3.5 ounces) of aronia berries have an ORAC (oxygen radical absorbance capacity) value of just over 16,000. ORAC is a lab test5 that attempts to quantify the total antioxidant capacity in foods.
This is significant information for those who understand the toxins floating around in the air via pollution, in foods, gardens and foods sprayed with pesticides, chemically enhanced cleaning products, nonstick coating in cookware and many other ways disease-causing substances enter your body and increase your free-radical load. Heal With Food notes:
"Antioxidants are believed to protect against many degenerative diseases, such as cancer and heart disease, and to slow down aging in general. They are also a crucial component of anti-wrinkle diets as they can help protect your skin from the harmful effects of environmental pollutants, tobacco smoke, the sun's ultraviolet radiation and other factors that cause your body to produce free radicals."6
Black aronia berries, especially, contain some of the highest phenolic flavonoid phytochemicals, called anthocyanins, in nature. More specifically, 100 grams of fresh berries contain about 1,480 milligrams (mg) of anthocyanins. The amount of proanthocyanidins (the colorless variety of anthocyanin7) is more like 664 mg per 100 grams.
Scientists have spent a great deal of time scrutinizing the health impacts aronia berries may have due to their deep purple hue, which often offers a clue to a plant-based food's anthocyanin — and therefore antioxidant — content, known to have very impressive cancer-protective attributes. You see them in foods like cranberries, blueberries, grapes, red cabbage, plums, eggplants, blackberries, cherries, strawberries, purple asparagus and even radishes.8

More Ways Aronia Berries Can Change Your Health for the Better

According to Organic Facts,9 some of the more prominent and powerful elements in chokeberries include epicatechin, quercetin, caffeic acid, carotenes, malvidin, lutein and zeaxanthin. Nutrition and You tallies even more compounds to include such as cyanidin-3-galactoside, peonidin, delphinidin, petunidin, pelargonidin and caffeic acid.10 Aronia Berry News reports:
"Aronia berries are indeed some of nature's best health supplements and the health benefits of this 'superberry' seem endless — in addition to the above mentioned — inhibit the development of blood clots and the early process of atherosclerosis. Aronia berries can help improve your memory as well!"11
The same site lists a number of other ways eating aronia berries can improve your health. Each one of the significant health benefits below is directly related to one of the berry's many phytonutrients:
Anticancer, especially colon cancer
Helps prevent macular degeneration and cataracts due to zeaxanthin's photo-filtering effects on UV rays
Improves circulation / strengthens blood vessels
Supports urinary tract health and helps prevent urinary tract infections (UTIs)
Balances your blood pressure
Helps with digestion (gastroprotective)
Prevents and treats diabetes as the fiber increases insulin regulation
Improves the appearance of your skin and combats aging
Fights off viruses
Helps control your weight
Helps prevent constipation as well as diarrhea
Improves gut health by promoting good bacteria
Anti-inflammatory
Strengthens your heart due to high potassium content
Boosts your immune system and collagen production
Reduces oxidative stress in your brain / fights dementia

Cancer-Protective Aspects of Aronia Berries

In addition, Heal With Food calls aronia berries a "gut health-promoting superfood" because of all the fiber they contain. Just 3.5 ounces provides 16.9 grams of fiber! One way fiber differs from other macro-nutrients such as proteins, carbs and fats is that fiber is not digested, but instead stays somewhat intact and serves to "push through" foods in your colon that may be hanging around, slowing down progress and, potentially, causing cancer.
Aronia berries can legitimately call themselves cancer protective for this very reason, as fiber passes along other health benefits besides healthy bowel movements, including overall improved bowel health, optimized cholesterol, possible weight loss and reduced diabetes risk. Fox News noted that the many antibacterial, antiviral and antidiabetic agents in aronia berries serve to:
"Fight the formation of arterial plaque … and … protect the liver against a host of insults and toxins. In our ever-increasingly diabetic society, aronia's compounds help to lower blood sugar and improve the body's own natural production of insulin.
Several of the compounds in aronia are natural cancer fighters, and protect against the development of tumors of the bladder, breasts, colon, lungs, ovaries and skin. In addition, these compounds fight Crohn's disease, inhibit HIV, reduce uncomfortable symptoms of PMS and fight herpes. Preliminary studies have also shown that aronia may prove helpful in slowing the growth of glioblastoma — a form of fatal brain cancer."12

Studies on the Health-Protective Potency of Aronia Berries

Scientists from the Department of Nutrition and Food Science at the University of Maryland investigated the potency of fruits with high amounts of anthocyanins, namely grapes, bilberries and black aronia berries, to test their chemopreventive activity against colon cancer. While all three extracts inhibited cancer cell growth, the chokeberry had the most potent effects.13
An arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), says chokeberries are rich in polyphenols, a type of micronutrient that may prevent cancer and cardiovascular disease.
Further, "Pre-clinical and clinical evidence suggest that consuming aronia berries may mitigate inflammation associated with chronic disease."14 In animal studies, chemically induced esophageal cancer was decreased by between 30 percent and 60 percent, and the incidence of colon cancer by 80 percent, when exposed to anthocyanin extracts, and without impacting healthy cells.15 Med Daily notes:
"Their tumor suppression activity works at a different level of tumor activity; at initiation and promotion/progression stages of tumor development. They can be a practical research tool and hold a promising therapeutic resource since they contain the highest amount of anthocyanins among native North American berries."16
Additionally, aronia berries played a crucial role in the survival of Native American tribes such as the Potawatomi in the area between Milwaukee, Detroit and Northern Indiana, especially in fighting colds and weakened immune systems, due to the berries' high vitamin C content. But that's not all. The United Tribes Technical College investigated the importance of berries in traditional diets and reported:
"Study continues on the phytochemical properties of chokeberries, cranberries, juneberries, wild grapes, wild raspberries, etc., which could reduce the incidence of Type 2 diabetes and chronic diseases in tribal communities."17
For instance, scientists in Bulgaria found extracts of chokeberries to exert antiviral and antibacterial activity against type A influenza virus, Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli (E. coli).

Words of Caution — and Encouragement — Regarding Chokeberries

Aronia berries contain oxalic acid, a naturally occurring substance often found in fruits and vegetables, which may crystalize and encourage the development of urinary tract oxalate stones. Anyone with a history of oxalate stones should limit their intake and always drink adequate amounts of water to avoid an uncomfortable onset. Oxalic acid may also interfere with the absorption of magnesium, calcium and other minerals.
But here's the good news: As a viable health food and fitness product, aronia berries are already surging into the marketplace, and some have received coveted USDA Organic certification, Fox News reports.
In addition, unlike strawberries (at the top of the Dirty Dozen list of most heavily sprayed produce) and many other fruits, aronia berries are naturally pest resistant, so they don't require a lot of chemicals so prevalent in farming today. Still, if you look for aronia berries at your local grocery or health food store, ideally look for the organic brands.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

TILAPIA (Farm Raised) IS BAD BEWARE

This is why you need to STOP eating Tilapia -- ASAP
Eating seafood is a great way to get vital nutrients and vitamins. Tilapia is the most popular farmed fish in America because of its affordability. But health experts are warning consumers to stay as far away as possible from Tilapia.  Tilapia Contains Few Nutrients: Researchers from the Wake Forest University School of Medicine released a report on the omega-3 fatty acid content in popular fish. Tilapia scored far lower than most other fish on the list. Omega-3 fatty acids give fish most of their benefits, including Alzheimer’s risk reduction. Tilapia contains a TON of omega-6 fatty acids, which are terrible for you. The quantity of omega-6 in tilapia is higher than a hamburger or bacon.
Tilapia Could Cause Alzheimer’s: One of the omega-6 fatty acids in tilapia goes by the name of arachidonic acid – a compound which significantly increases the type of inflammatory damage that precedes Alzheimer’s. So while eating healthy fish like mackerel, halibut and sardines would reduce your risk of developing Alzheimer’s, this fish actually increases it.

Most Tilapia Is Farmed: Tilapia is the second most commonly farmed fish in the world. This is largely due to the fish’s hardiness; it can eat just about anything. Good for farmers, bad for consumers. It means they don’t have to spend lots of money on fish food as they would were they raising salmon. Farmers commonly feed the fish chicken and pig poop. The fish are also stuffed with antibiotics and genetically modified to grow faster.

Tilapia May Cause Cancer: Tilapia can carry up to 10 times the amount of carcinogens as other fish. This is because of the food the farmers feed the fish – poop, pesticides and industrial-grade chemicals. One toxic chemical researchers have found in the fish is dioxin, which is linked to the development and progression of cancer.


What’s more, your body doesn’t actually flush out dioxin for a whopping 7-11 years. Make sure the SHARE this your friends  that MAY eat tilapia!

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Major progress accomplished in past several years with STEM CELLS


Canadian clinics begin offering stem-cell treatments experts call unproven, possibly unsafe

Clinics are treating arthritis, joint injuries, disc problems and even skin conditions with stem cells typically taken from patients’ fat tissue or bone marrow


Stem cell research Getty Images      Tom Blackwell       July 3, 2017
The pain, she recalls now, “took my breath away,” and played havoc with the avid hiker’s favourite pastime.
In desperation, Munsie turned to a Toronto-area clinic that provides a treatment many experts consider still experimental, unproven and of questionable safety.
The 63-year-old says the stem cells she received at Regenervate Medical Injection Therapy 18 months ago were transformational, all but eliminating the debilitating soreness and even allowing her to hike Argentina’s Patagonia mountains two months ago.
“For me it’s been a life saver,” Munsie says. “I’ve been able to do it all again … I don’t have any of that pain, at all.”   The arthritis in Maureen Munsie’s ankles was so intense until barely a year ago, she literally had to crawl on hands and knees to get upstairs.
Maureen Munsie received a stem-cell treatment in Toronto that she says has cured her debilitating arthritis pain Don Thompson
Canadians drawn to the healing promise of stem cells have for years travelled outside the country to such places as Mexico, China or Arizona, taking part in a dubious form of medical tourism.
But Regenervate is one of a handful of clinics in Canada that have begun offering injections of stem cells, satisfying growing demand but raising questions about whether a medical idea with huge potential is ready for routine patient care.
Especially when those patients can pay thousands of dollars for the service.
Clinics in Ontario and Alberta are treating arthritis, joint injuries, disc problems and even skin conditions with stem cells typically taken from patients’ fat tissue or bone marrow.
The underlying idea is compelling: stem cells can “differentiate” or transform into many other types of cell, a unique quality that evidence suggests allows them to grow or “regenerate” tissue damaged by disease or injury.
Researchers – including hundreds in Canada alone — are examining stem-cell treatments for everything from ailing hearts to severed spinal cords.
With few exceptions, however, the concept is still being studied in the lab or in human trials; virtually none of the treatments have been definitively proven effective by science — or approved by regulators like Health Canada.
The fact that Canadian clinics are now offering stem-cell treatments commercially is concerning on a number of levels, not least because of safety issues, says Ubaka Ogbogu, a health law professor at the University of Alberta.
Three U.S. women were blinded after receiving stem-cell injections in their eyes, while other American patients have developed bony masses or tumours at injection sites, Ogbogu said.
“Stem cells have to be controlled to act exactly the way you want them to act, and that’s why the research takes time,” he said. “It is simply wrong for these clinics to take a proof of concept and run with it.”  Ogbogu says Health Canada must crack down on the burgeoning industry but says the regulator has so far been conspicuous by its inaction. Other experts say the procedures provided here — typically for joint pain — are likely relatively safe, but still warn that care must be taken that the stem cells do not develop into the wrong type of tissue, or at the wrong place.
Alberta Health Services convened a workshop on the issue late last year, concluding there is an urgent need to develop a certification system for cell preparation and delivery to avoid “spontaneous transformation of (stem cells) into unwanted tissue.”
But one of the pioneers of the service in Canada says there’s no empirical evidence that such growths can develop, and suggests the treatment’s only real risk – as with an invasive procedure – is infection.
Meanwhile, patients at Regenervate have enjoyed impressive outcomes after paying fees from $750 to $3,900, says Dr. Douglas Stoddard, the clinic’s medical director.  About 80 per cent report less pain, stiffness and weakness within a few months of getting their stem-cell injection, he said. “I believe medical progress is not just limited to the laboratory and randomized double-blind trials,” Stoddard said. “A lot of progress starts in the clinic, dealing with patients … You see something works, you see something has merit, and then it’s usually the scientists that seem to catch up later.”
The Orthopedic Sport Institute in Collingwood, Ont., the Central Alberta Pain and Rehabilitation Institute and Cleveland Clinic in Toronto all advertise similar stem-cell treatments for orthopedic problems.
Edmonton’s Regen Clinic says it plans to start doing so this fall.
Ottawa’s Innovo says it also treats a range of back conditions with injections between the vertebrae, and uses stem cells to alleviate nerve damage.
Orthopedic Sport says its doctor focuses on “FDA and Health Canada approved stem-cell injection therapy for patient care.”
In fact, no treatment of the sort the clinics here provide has ever been authorized.  Health Canada says the vast majority of stem-cell therapies would constitute a drug and therefore need to be authorized after a clinical trial or new drug submission. A number of stem-cell trials are underway, but only one treatment — Prochymal — has been approved, said department spokesman Eric Morrissette. Designed to combat “graft-versus-host disease” — where bone marrow transplants for treating cancer essentially attack the patient’s body — it’s unlike any of the services the stem-cell providers here offer.
But as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration aggressively pursues the hundreds of clinics in America, Health Canada says only that it’s committed to addressing complaints it receives.
It “will take action based on the risk posed to the general public,” said Morrissette, who encouraged people to pass on to the department information about possible “non-compliant” products.
Stoddard said the injections his clinics provide are made up of “minimally manipulated” tissue from patients’ own bodies and any attempt to crack down would be “regulation for the sake of regulation.”
But academic experts remain skeptical about the effectiveness of the treatments.
Scientific evidence suggests the injections may help alleviate joint pain temporarily, but probably just because of anti-inflammatory secretions from the cells – not regeneration, said Dr. David Hart, an orthopedic surgery professor at the University of Calgary who headed the Alberta workshop. “There’s a need for understanding what’s going on here and there’s a need for regulation,” he said. Most of the clinics say they use a centrifuge to concentrate the stem cells after removing them from patients’ fat tissue or bone marrow. But it’s unclear if the clinics even know how many cells they are eventually injecting into patients, says Jeff Biernaskie, a stem-cell scientist at the University of Calgary.
Munsie, on the other hand, has no doubts about the value of her own treatment, even with a $3,000 price tag.  The procedure — from extraction of fat tissue in her behind to the injection of cells into her ankles — took barely over an hour. Within three months, the retired massage therapist from north of Toronto says she could walk her dogs again. Last week, she was hiking near Banff.
“I’m a real believer in it, and the possibility of stem cells,” says Munsie. “I just think ‘Wow, if we can heal with our own body, it’s pretty amazing.’ ”
tblackwell@nationalpost.com

Monday, June 19, 2017

Can We Delay Dementia? Brain Scavenger Cells May Hold the Key

Can We Delay Dementia? Brain Scavenger Cells May Hold the Key

delay dementia
The body’s clean up crew is made up of scavenger cells called phagocytes. Phagein means “to devour” and -cyte means “cell.” And phagocytes are indeed like billions of little vultures, scarfing down the carcasses of other dead, or dying, cells and consuming foreign materials that shouldn’t be there, like plaque, bacteria, and other infections. In our brain, these scavenger cells are called microglia, and a new study suggests that we may be able to delay dementia via these cells.

Microglial Cells Further Defined

Microglial cells are the primary way our immune system defends our brain and central nervous system. They scavenge by patrolling their specific zones in the brain and scanning for any potential threat. When an injury happens or an invader arrives, molecules are signaled that create an acute inflammatory response (the good inflammation), and like any good immune cells, our microglials jump into action and attempt to neutralize the problem. Since microglial cells are phagocytes, they also devour, or  phagocytose, all cell, bacteria, and other debris. The inflammation that occurs during this process is good because it means those immune cells are on it and are trying to fix the problem.
In addition to their phagocytic properties, microglial cells can also release cytotoxins to destroy damaged or infected neurons, or brain cells. There is concern that this release of cytotoxins can lead to a mass-destruction type of effect, causing more long-term chronic inflammation, the bad inflammation, and a great deal of neural damage. With this chronic inflammation, there has been concern that microglials could actually exacerbate neurological diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and other dementias.

Dementia Pathology

Dementia defines a variety of neurodegenerative diseases that affect the neurons in the brain, and these diseases typically develop slowly and progress over time. Under the umbrella of dementia, we have diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease (the most common dementia), vascular dementia, frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTD), Huntington’s disease, and even traumatic encephalopathy, which is seen most commonly in pro athletes who played head-contact sports (football, boxing, wrestling, etc.).
We know dementia can be genetic, but studies have shown that there are many things that can damage or destroy our neurons in our brain that may lead to dementia or speed up its development. What can we do to delay dementia? Here are a small handful of studies showing things we can look to avoid to limit potential risk for dementia:

Studying Microglial Cells in the Brain: Can We Delay Dementia?

The new study investigated microglial cell function when gene expression is suppressed in mice. Researchers achieved this by altering the coding of the TREM2 gene. The TREM2 gene is expressed through proteins on the microglial cells and this alteration in the gene intentionally disrupted the gene’s ability to be expressed on the cell.
The result? The lack of the TREM2 gene expression kept the microglial cells from activating and moving to the locations where they were needed to clean up damaged or dead cells and other debris. This not only delayed the ability to resolve inflammation but also reduced blood flow and the metabolism of glucose, a process imperative for energy in the brain. Researchers concluded that activation of these brain phagocytes (the microglial cells) is critical to assuring proper brain functioning and that these findings could lead to new ways to boost the function of microglial cells and delay the onset of dementias, such as Alzheimer’s. More work will need to be done here.
The upshot? While other studies have also made a genetic connection to dementia, the idea that microglial cells are secreting signals that exacerbate inflammation and lead to dementia has also been a theory. However, this new study seems to show that the inability of the microglial cells to respond to the area of damage due to a genetic variant, not a direct effect of the cells themselves, could be the driving force behind the lingering inflammation, and, subsequently, the onset of Alzheimer’s and other dementias. This could be an important piece of the puzzle in the race to discover how we can delay dementia when we as a population are living longer and longer.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

8 Benefits of Sardines

8 Benefits of Sardines (& How to Make Them Taste Great)

8 Benefits of Sardines and How to Make Them Taste Great
Let me guess, you are one of two kinds of people when it comes to sardines:
  1. You love them and eat them regularly
  2. or you can’t stand them and don’t even know why you are reading a post about them
Statistically, it’s likely you are in the latter group, as 73% of people claim to dislike sardines. But give me 5 minutes and I might convince you to try them… and maybe even love them!
Sardines are often called the healthiest fish and they are certainly one of the most budget friendly. In fact, I order sustainably caught canned sardines (from here) and we consume them regularly. Some experts call them a natural multivitamin and they are one of the few truly healthy canned portable foods.
But I get it…
They have a strong smell and a stronger taste. And they are weird and scary because they have bones and skin and you don’t want to try them. I get it, but here’s why you should anyway:

The Benefits of Sardines

Sardines are a tiny fish with a very big nutrient profile! In fact, very few other foods pack the same amount of nutrients per ounce. Liver comes pretty close, but it is often more dreaded than the humble sardine!
Real food is often more expensive than processed foods, but sardines are a notable exception! Canned sardines are one of the few super-healthy, budget-friendly portable “fast foods” out there. They also don’t carry the same mercury risk as bigger fish do.
Here are eight reasons you should learn to love them:

Source of Omega-3

Omega-3s benefit the body in many ways and are well-studied for their importance in the body. One can of sardines contains over half of the recommended daily dose of Omega-3. Sardines provide both EPA and DHA fats, which are beneficial for the brain, heart and to reduce inflammation.
Many people consume large amounts of high Omega-6 oils like vegetable oil and margarine. This may disturb the balance of Omega-3 to Omega-6 fats in the body and lead to a variety of problems. Experts claim that DHA and EPA are the most easily usable forms of Omega 3 for the body and consuming these from foods like sardines and other fatty fish can help correct this ratio.
Various studies show the importance of consuming enough Omega-3 to keep cholesterol levels in healthy ranges, for heart health, to support the brain and for optimal fertility and hormone balance.

Super Source of Selenium

Experts like Chris Kresser and Dr. Paul Jaminet explain the importance of selenium for thyroid and adrenal health. One theory is that too much iodine (found in processed foods) without enough selenium may be hard on the thyroid and adrenals. Selenium is also needed for glutathione production in the body.
Selenium and iodine are synergistic and occur together in most naturally occurring sources, including sardines. In fact, one can of sardines contains almost the entire RDA (recommended daily allowance) of selenium and a smaller amount of iodine. This may help the body obtain a proper balance of selenium and iodine.
Personally, I’ve found that since consuming rich food sources of selenium (like sardines and brazil nuts) and Omega-3s my thyroid symptoms are reduced.

Bioavailable Calcium & Phosphorus

Sardines (even canned ones) are great because they are one of the few animal foods that we still consume all of, including the bones and skin. While this makes some people squeamish, these “odd bits” of the fish have important vitamins and minerals, including a great dose of calcium from the bones. One can contains about 1/3 of the recommended daily amount of calcium in a highly absorbable form.
More and more people are having reactions to dairy, and consuming fish with bones is one of the ways to get enough calcium without consuming dairy. With recent studies finding some scary results of supplementing with calcium, sardines are a safe food-based way to get enough.
Phosphorus is an important mineral for bone and tooth health as well and difficult to find in food sources. Sardines are one of the best natural food sources, which is why they are often recommended for healthy skin, teeth and bones.

Vitamin D Boost

The vast majority of us are Vitamin D deficient. And this number is even more drastic if we consider the optimal levels of Vitamin D and not just the minimum! It is one of the reasons that experts are calling for a change to the recommendation to avoid the sun! Some have even gone so far as to claim that we have a sun deficiency and that widespread vitamin D deficiency is contributing to various cancers and health problems.
One can of sardines contains almost half of the daily recommended amount of Vitamin D.

High in Protein

Sardines are a great protein choice. One 3 ounce can provides 23 grams of protein and a big dose of vitamins. These tiny fish are considered a very “efficient food” since they contain a very high amount of vitamins, protein and Omega-3 for the amount of calories they contain.

Low in Mercury and Other Metals

Heavy metal contamination is an understandable concern with consuming fish. Especially in the wake of recent contamination, many people are concerned about eating fish. Thankfully, sardines are considered one of the safest fish to consume due to their small size.
Sardines eat plankton and are at the bottom of the ocean food chain. This means that they contain much less mercury and other heavy metals than larger fish such as tuna.

Sustainable

With the rise of farmed fish and overfishing, sustainability is also a problem. Thankfully, sardines are considered one of the most sustainable fish available. They are still abundant in the oceans and don’t show the same signs of deletion that many species are experiencing.
Personally, I make sure to stick to sustainably caught seafood (we get ours here) and canned sardines.

Budget Friendly

Real food costs more than the subsidized processed foods on grocery store shelves. Sardines are one of the few amazing nutrient-dense foods that won’t break the bank. I’ve been ordering sustainably caught wild sardines for under $2 a can (from here) and we use them all the time. They can substitute for canned tuna in almost every recipe. We make “tuna” salad with sardines for lunch at least once or twice a week. I also love them on top of a Caesar salad with homemade dressing.

How to Choose Good Sardines

If you’re convinced enough about the benefits to give them a try, make sure to find a high-quality source. If you’re new to the taste, I recommend starting with canned sardines in olive oil instead of water. The oil seems to help improve the taste for many people.
Most grocery stores carry canned sardines on the same aisle with tuna and other canned fish. I typically order them in bulk once a month from here since they are cheaper than the ones our local store carries and specify that they are from a sustainable source. Look for sardines in a BPA free can.

Ways to Eat Sardines (Without Gagging)

So, you have some sardines. You know they are healthy. Yet, that can stares back at you like a menacing foe! The most common way to consume them is on saltine crackers. If you avoid grains like I do, or just aren’t a fan of the refined flour, there are many other delicious ways to eat them. They are a little bit of an acquired taste, but you can learn to love them. Promise!
If you’re having a hard time learning to actually *like* them, try these ideas:
  • On healthier crackers with a little bit of cheese
  • Straight out of the can with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice
  • On a Caesar salad with homemade dressing
  • In place of tuna in “tuna salad” with homemade mayo (or this avocado oil mayo), mustard and pickles
  • With cottage cheese and hot sauce
  • Scrambled into eggs and topped with hollandaise sauce
  • Mashed into half of an avocado with a squeeze of fresh lemon
  • Mix canned sardines with some chopped red onions and olives
  • Fisherman’s eggs- bake sardines with onions, eggs and spices

Sardine Cautions

As one of the lowest contamination sources of seafood, sardines don’t carry the same risk many fish do. Recent recommendations even list them as a safe food for pregnant women when consumed 1-2 times per week. They are also high in purines, so those with gout or other disorders should check with a doctor before consuming sources of purines.

Bottom Line: Grab a Fork!

Congrats if you made it this far! Did I convince you to give sardines a try?
These nutrient-packed little fish are one of the most budget-friendly real foods. They taste delicious when prepared correctly and your body will love the nutrient boost. Take a deep breath and give them a try. You may even learn to love them!