Why I Eat Sardines (and Don’t Take Fish Oil)

I eat sardines about 3 times per week. At $2.79 per can, that comes out to $33.48 a month I spend on sardines.

Isn’t that a little steep, you ask? Not really and I’m going to tell you why I think so.

Sardines have an amazing nutritional profile. One can from Wild Planet has 313 mg EPA and 688 mg DHA–those are omega 3 fatty acids that are in a perfectly packaged (the fish, not the can!) bio-available form (remember, it’s not what you ingest, it’s what your body can assimilate and utilize). Compare what you’ll pay to get isolate EPA and DHA from a fish oil supplement–a quality processed supplement will run you about $50 while the cheap brands have forms that not only can you body not use but are likely damaged in their processing (not to mention, poorly sourced and combined with unnecessary chemicals).

Additionally, eating the sardines in their whole form provides a slew of other compounds your body needs but aren’t present in an isolated fish oil supplement. You’ll get calcium, phosphorus, iron, CoQ10, Vitamin B12 and Vitamin D, and some selenium. Sure, you could take a supplement for each of these compounds but not only would that rack up quite a bill, it’s important to realize that your body requires the synergy from cofactors to absorb and properly place each of these beneficial compounds in their home in the human body.

Last but not least, I usually figure that this “supplement” isn’t just a way to get in some health-promoting vitamins and minerals but that $2.79 buys me a pretty awesome meal (I like to eat them in the morning because I get some proteins, plenty of healthy fats, and generally makes me feel like I’m starting the day off right (though it’s not Mr. Dig’s favorite smell before he gets his coffee in but I’m lucky that he lets it slide most days).

That all being said, not all sardines are created equally. I get Wild Planet Satdinrs because they come in a BPA-free can, are wild caught/sustainably harvested, and just flat out taste pretty yummy either plain or with some avocado.I admit I have a taste for them since I grew up eating sardines but I think their smell is a misrepresentation of their much-milder taste (delicious with foods that have a creamy texture and even foods that are slightly sweet, like baked yams). They are the perfect crack-open-in-a-pinch food source that takes ZERO preparation so that may be the best reason to buy some for all you busy but health-minded folks out there.


All in all, I hope you can see why I make the choice to eat sardines instead of taking an isolated fish oil supplement. It makes sense financially and nutritionally…and that’s nothing to snub your nose at!

My wish is for everyone up try them! You can find them at Whole Foods or online on their website.

Go fish!


9 replies

  1. I’m definitely going to try this. I completely agree with getting all the extra benefits from eating the food in it’s whole form:) I personally think spending under $40 is wayyyyyyy better than the $60 I was facing for a good quality supplement. I read all the labels of cheaper brands…and most if not all of them contain soy. What is your favorite way to incorporate them into your meals? I’ve never had them.

    • I totally agree! I’m kind of weird in that I like them straight out of the can which means I eat them when I’m short on time or low on prepared food. That being said, I think they’re an amazing addition to salads so that’s the other way I eat them. My blogger friend, Brittany of SparkleKitchen.com, has some great sardine recipes on her site you should check out as well though 🙂

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