Anti-Inflammatory Diet Tip: Sardines

Anti-Inflammatory Diet Tip: Sardines

Don't turn your nose up just yet! Sardines could become your new best friend. They're one of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which means they may lower your triglycerides and cholesterol levels. They promote heart and bone health with good doses of vitamin D and B12. They're loaded with protein to help strengthen your immune system. And the healthy fat in sardines is good for your brain, which may ward off Alzheimer's disease and dementia.

Why choose sardines over good ol' tuna? Most experts don't recommend tuna because it's high in mercury. Instead, think of the acronym SMASH, which stands for salmon, mackerel, anchovies, sardines and herring. Those are your best bets.

What Do Experts Say?
"Fish that are high in omega-3 fats and low in mercury, like sardines and salmon, are good choices to help lower inflammation in the body," says functional medicine specialist Elizabeth W. Boham, MD, MS, RD, of The UltraWellness Center. "Getting more omega-3 fats in your diet from these fish and ground flaxseed can help lower inflammation in your body."

How Should You Eat Them?
Sardines hardly need a recipe. One of the easiest ways to eat them is to mash two sardines into your favorite tomato sauce. They'll give you that deep, savory umami flavor -- without the fishiness. If you're more daring, try a few canned sardines as a snack. The taste and texture have come a long way in recent years, so they're worth giving another chance. Look for the kind packed in lemon and oil or tomato sauce. These are great on whole-grain crackers for a healthy midday morsel.

For a fancier snack or appetizer, skewer fresh sardines, drizzle with little olive oil and lemon juice, and pop them on the grill. Or sauté them in olive oil, then top with olives, tomatoes and some fresh herbs. Experiment with your own recipes!

Medically reviewed in October 2018.

more from this guide

Anti-Inflammatory Diet Tip: Berries Anti-Inflammatory Diet Tip: Berries

The next time you're at the market, grab a basket of juicy, ripe berries. These treats are full of vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that relieves ...

Read More
Heart Disease, Back Pain and 4 Other Health Risks Linked to Psoriatic Arthritis
Understanding the Different Forms of Psoriatic Arthritis Understanding the Different Forms of Psoriatic Arthritis

How these five different forms of psoriatic arthritis (PsA) affect your hands, feet, spine and other joints.

Read More
Anti-Inflammatory Diet Tip: Soy Anti-Inflammatory Diet Tip: Soy

These days, most people have tried edamame at their local sushi restaurant. The meaty soybeans are packed with plant protein and anti-inflammatory nut...

Read More