22 Nov Sardines on toast today? – Do it for your brain health
How are sardines on toast healthy for you? The answer to this question is sardines are high in omega 3 fatty acids, which are very important for brain health. This article will outline the main benefits that sardines have for your brain and why they should be a regular part of your diet. It also discusses sustainability issues when it comes to sourcing these fish, as well as their health benefits. Are you looking for reasons to eat tinned sardines on toast today? Are sardines good for your health? Read on, and find out more!
What are our brains composed of?
Our brains are composed of 75 % fat. It is therefore very important that we include good fats in our diet. The main types of fat are polyunsaturated, monounsaturated and saturated fatty acids. When talking about brain health it’s best to focus on omega-three essential fatty acids (EFAs). These oils have been shown to be particularly beneficial for neural function – including memory and thinking skills.
Why do our brains need omega 3 fatty acids?
What does our brain need? Our brains have a unique requirement for certain types of fat, and one such type is called omega-three fatty acid. Omega-three fatty acids can be found mainly in seafood like sardines or salmon, as well as linseeds and walnuts.
It can also be found in the raw material that makes fish so abundant in omega-three fatty acids – sea plants such as seaweed. If you are a vegetarian or vegan, you can simply aim to include seaweed into your diet at least twice a week instead of oily fish.
But what is the function of omega 3 fatty acids in the brain? Omega-three fatty acids are important for brain health in a number of ways. They help with neurodevelopment and can reduce the risk of dementia in older adults.
What are the best sources of omega 3 fatty acids?
Sardines on toast are a very good source of omega-three because it contains both docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA).
But tinned sardines are not the only sources you can get your essential fats from. Other sustainable options include:
Flax seeds: These are known to have an anti-inflammatory effect on the body’s cells, which can help prevent chronic diseases. They also contain lignans, which are beneficial for brain health.
Walnuts: These nuts are high in healthy omega-three fatty acids and they’re rich in antioxidants too – both of these nutrients support brain function.
Coconut oil: This s a great source of healthy fats that are perfect for brain health.
Seaweed: (especially good if you are a vegetarian or vegan): This is a plant rich in minerals, vitamins and antioxidants.
Why do tinned sardines on toast make much better omega-three options? As well as being sustainable, sardines can also be considered more nutritious than their alternatives. The reason for this is that sardine contains the highest concentration of DHA and EPA out of all the fish, or from anything plant-based (except for seaweed perhaps).
This means that tinned sardines on toast can be a more sustainable and nutritious omega-three source than other alternatives like linseeds and walnuts.
How much omega-three fatty acids do we need per week?
How much omega-three fatty acid should I get each week? This will depend on how many sardines you eat per day, but aim for at least 500 mg (or 0.17 ounces) of DHA and EPA combined each week. Having sardines or seaweed three times a week will meet this target.
The recommended amount of sardines is between 100 and 500 grams depending on age, gender and health status. There are two types of sardines: tinned sardines in olive oil or fresh sardines caught from the wild with a hook and line.
What sardines should we aim for? Not all sardines are equal. Most tinned sardines come from farmed fish and contain much less omega-three fatty acid than wild sardines caught with a hook and line. Also, check whether the brand you buy is sustainably sourced as this will give you the best brain health benefits.
Some tinned sardines come from farmed fish and contain much less omega-three fatty acid than wild sardines caught with a hook and line.
Try sardines on toast for an omega-3 hit
What are tinned sardines on toast? Sardines are small oily fish that belong to the herring family. They typically come in a tin with their bones, which can be eaten if you like – although they should always be cooked before eating them for this reason.
What are the most sustainable sources of omega 3 fatty acids?
So we have looked at the question of whether sardines are good for you? But are sardines good for the environment? The sardine population has been in decline since 2006 so sardines should be included in your diet with a view to getting them from sustainable sources.
The declining population is largely due to overfishing, which has caused many sardines stocks to be severely depleted. The sardine fishing industry must therefore ensure that it practices sustainable methods in order to avoid further damage being done – not just for sardines, but also for the environment s other inhabitants.
Choose sustainably fished sardines
This means that sardines should be eaten responsibly, as we can’t afford to eat them at unsustainable rates.
As sardines are a form of meat, you might want to consider consuming them as a ‘treat’ or no more than a couple of times a week. The good news is that eating sardines twice a week is all that is recommended for optimal brain health. One tin of sardines often contains two servings of sardines, so you could eat one tin a week as sardines on toast for lunch or breakfast and be done!
Avoid sardines that are sourced from unsustainable fisheries. This means opting for wild-caught rather than farmed fish where possible – lookout for labels like Marine Stewardship Council or Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) to be sure you’re getting a sustainable product.
What about mercury in sardines?
What about mercury in sardines? Mercury is a toxic metal that can be found in our oceans as a result of pollution. Although fresh sardines do not often have dangerous levels of mercury present, tinned-sardine products may contain higher mercury levels. Mercury is known to be highly neurotoxic – meaning that it’s particularly bad for your brain’s health.
What are some of the other nutritional benefits of sardines?
Are sardines healthy for you? Sardines are also good brain food because sardines contain vitamin D, which is important for our mental as well as physical wellbeing. Vitamin D has been linked to reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia in older adults. It can help reduce depression too.
Sardines are high in vitamin D, selenium and phosphorus. All of these vitamins have been shown to be beneficial for brain health. Selenium has also been linked with mood regulation, which is crucial for preventing or managing depression – an increasingly common problem today. Vitamin D and phosphorus are also important for supporting the nervous system, and sardines contain high levels of both.
How to make sardines on toast taste really yummy?
Tinned sardines on toast can be a bit of a tough sell. And some people don’t really like the taste of sardines. However, they can be combined with other really yummy foods to make them much more palatable. An example recipe is this sardines on toast with pesto beans recipe.
The flavours are fresh and zesty, and it is the perfect complement to the ‘fishiness’ of the sardines.
This recipe makes about six serves, so you can keep it in the fridge to eat on toast during the week. Adding a serving of sardines to the toast on two of those days is going to get your omega-three levels up!
- 2 x 400 g tins of cannellini or other white beans, rinsed and drained
- 10–12 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
- 1 bunch of fresh basil
- 100 g baby spinach (about 3 cups)
- ½ cup walnuts
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 11/2 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1 tsp white miso paste
- salt, pepper
- 6 slices of bread, toasted
- Tinned sardines
- chilli flakes
- fresh basil
- iodised sea salt
- Put all the ingredients for the pesto into a food processor or blender, and blend until smooth. Add a couple of tablespoons of water if the sauce is too thick.
- Add the beans to a skillet with chopped sun-dried tomatoes and pesto sauce. Simmer until the beans are heated through.
- Mash a serving of sardines on the toasted bread and top with the pesto bean mixture.
- Sprinkle with chilli flakes and iodised salt flakes and chopped basil leaves.
Did you make this recipe? Leave a comment below and share a picture on Instagram with the hashtag #myhealthzest