Most people have grown up with milk as a primary source of calcium. While this may be true for babies and young adults, most grownups don’t drink as much milk. In fact, one in three Americans has some form of lactose intolerance that prevents milk consumption.
Fortunately, there’s a more gut-friendly food that contains lots of calcium – sardines. This article explains the health benefits of sardines and how they interact with our bones.
Sardines Nutritional Value Explained
A three-ounce serving of sardines has around 325 milligrams of calcium. The same amount of milk only has 276 mg for whole milk or 299 mg for non-fat milk, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation. This equals about one-third of the Recommended Daily Intake, which is 1,000mg for adults. Older women (50+) and men (70+) have a calcium RDI of 1,200mg.
Sardine Effects on the Body
Here’s why eating sardines is very healthy for our bones and overall health.
Provide a Crucial Body Mineral
Sardines are an excellent source of calcium, an essential mineral that has a role in muscle function, hormone secretion, blood clotting, and blood vessel dilation and contraction. Most notably, calcium makes up most of the bones in our bodies.
Our bones aren’t set in stone. They constantly break down and rebuild without our faintest knowledge. That’s why it’s essential to support our bodies with enough calcium from the foods we eat and to exercise and put stress on the bones. That’s so the body will produce enough bones and not lose them as we age.
Bone loss is known as osteoporosis. This disease results in lower bone density, making it easier to fracture bones.
Build Up Bones
Sardines help build bone strength. How? Well, by eating sardines, we eat the whole fish, including the soft bones that are the primary sources of calcium.
A Japanese study shows that the people of Japan have a lower incidence of bone diseases than Americans, even though the former eat far less dairy. This is most likely because they consume fish in higher quantities.
Sardines aren’t only rich in calcium. They contain plenty of vitamin D, which also plays a role in building bones. Vitamin D helps calcium absorption as well as bone mineralization, contributing to denser bones. Sardines are the best source of vitamin D3, one of the best vitamins for bone health.
Rich in Protein
A single three-ounce serving of sardines has 25 grams of protein. This is almost half of the amount that an average 50-year-old woman needs daily. Many studies support the fact that protein is essential in preventing osteoporosis. It makes up to one-third of bone mass.
A study of over 140,000 post-menopausal women over six years found that those who consumed more protein had a higher bone density in their spine, hip, and overall body. They also had a lower risk of forearm fractures.
Other Sardine Benefits
The benefits of eating sardines do not stop at calcium and vitamin D3. This oily fish is also rich in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. These nutrients help lower blood pressure, reduce triglycerides, slow arterial plaque development, and promote overall cardiovascular health.
Also, a recent study shows that eating sardines also has a role in diabetes prevention. Older prediabetics who ate two servings of sardines each week for a year picked up enough vitamin D, calcium, and omega-3s to lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Of the 37% of people at high risk of developing diabetes, only 8% actually did by the end of the trial.
Sardines for Healthy Bones and Heart
Sardines can have significant benefits on your long-term bone health. Rich in calcium, vitamin D3, and omega-3, the fish contributes to strong and dense bones, lowering the risk of osteoporosis. Plus, it also keeps your heart healthy! The next time you go grocery shopping, you might want to add some sardines to your cart.