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Nutritional Information About Canned Sardines

Sonia Nair Nov 20, 2018
Sardines are flavorful fish that are rich in nutrients. Canned sardines are highly popular, as they are easily available and affordable.
Whether it be fresh or canned, sardines are very popular and are widely consumed across the globe. They are oily fish that belong to the family Clupeidae, along with other members like, the herrings, shads, hilsa, and menhadens.
Sardines are otherwise known as pilchards and both these terms are used interchangeably. It is also said that sardines are smaller (less than four inches in length), whereas pilchards are their larger counterparts.
Sardines are inexpensive as well as nutritious. Both fresh and canned versions are used for consumption.

Fresh Vs Canned Sardines

In general, fresh fish is preferred to canned versions, as far as the nutritional value is concerned. In most cases, canning of fish involves heating, that may cause depletion of nutrients. Once cleaned, their heads, gills, and viscera are removed.
The cleaned pieces are then steamed or deep-fried. After that, the fish pieces are dried and packed in the packing medium, which could be oil (olive or soybean), salt water, sauce (tomato or mustard), etc. After packing, there is another round of heating, called retorting.
However, the degree of nutrient loss depends on the procedure of canning. There are certain brands that use fresh, raw fish for canning, without any pre-treatment, like steaming or frying. This will reduce the rate of nutrient loss, considerably.
Unlike salmon and tuna, sardines may not have a considerable difference in nutritional value, when the fresh and canned forms are compared. If fresh fish is not readily available or if you need a more convenient option, then canned sardines are always good options.

100 grams of Fresh Sardines

Calories - 210 Kcal
Protein - 25 gm
Total Fat - 11.5 gm
Calcium - 370 mg
Sodium - 450 mg
Cholesterol - 130 mg
Vitamin A - 108 IU  
Vitamin B12 - 9 mcg
Vitamin D - 187 IU  
Vitamin K - 2.5 mcg
Magnesium - 38.5 mg
Potassium - 363 mg
Zinc - 1.2 mg
Phosphorous - 494.5 mg

Canned Sardine Nutrition

The dark flesh of this fish is oily and is rich in omega-3 essential fatty acids, vitamin D, calcium, iron, vitamin B12, and protein. Sardines are also very low in contaminants like mercury.
Studies show that consumption of this fish is good for preventing cardiovascular diseases and Alzheimer's disease. When it comes to canned sardines, the nutritional value may vary with the method of canning, the contents used, type of sardine, etc.
Sardines in Olive Oil (100 gms)
Calories - 260 Kcal 
Total Fat - 18 g 
Protein - 20 g 
Calcium - 271 mg

Sardines in Soybean Oil (100 gms)
Calories - 214 Kcal 
Total Fat - 12 g 
Protein - 21 g 
Calcium - 300 mg
Sardines in Spring Water (100 gms)
Calories - 155 Kcal 
Total Fat - 8 g 
Protein - 20.2 g 
Calcium - 315 mg

Sardines in Tomato Sauce (100 gms)
Calories - 185 Kcal 
Total Fat - 10.5 g 
Protein - 20.8 g 
Calcium - 240 mg
Sardines in Water (100 gms)
Calories - 170 Kcal 
Total Fat - 11 g 
Protein - 22 g 
Calcium - 250 mg

Smoked Sardines in Oil (100 gms)

Calories - 260 Kcal 
Total Fat - 22 g 
Protein - 19 g 
Calcium - 352 mg
Sardines in Hot Sauce (100 gms)
Calories - 150 Kcal 
Total Fat - 11.3 g 
Protein - 18 g 
Calcium - 255 mg

Sardines in Brine (100 gms)
Calories - 172 Kcal 
Total Fat - 9 g 
Protein - 22 g
Calcium - 380 mg
Sardines in Sunflower Oil (100 gms)
Calories - 220 Kcal 
Total Fat - 14 g 
Protein - 22.5 g 
Calcium - 382 mg

Sardines in Mustard Sauce (100 gms)
Calories - 240 Kcal 
Total Fat - 14.2 g 
Protein - 20 g 
Calcium - 300 mg
Skinless, Boneless Sardines in Oil (100 gms)
Calories - 220 Kcal 
Total Fat - 9 g 
Protein - 24 g 
Calcium - 80 mg

Skinless, Boneless Sardines in Water (100 gms)
Calories - 140 Kcal 
Total Fat - 5 g 
Protein - 23 g 
Calcium - 60 mg
It has to be noted that the values given in this list may vary with different brands, type of sardines used, other ingredients, and the method of canning.
Another cause of concern is the high sodium and cholesterol levels in canned sardines. So check the label and go through it thoroughly, before you choose a particular brand. You may opt for low-sodium versions with no oil. It is said that sardines in olive oil are better than those in soybean or sunflower oil.
Another factor is the method of processing. Sardines that are minimally processed are believed to be the best.

Those who like the smoked version must verify whether the fish have been really smoked, because certain brands use liquid smoke as a flavoring agent. In case of real smoked fish, you can notice the change in their texture.
Canned sardines with bones are rich in calcium. Choose brands that use sturdy tins for packing, and don't forget to check the expiry date. Store the cans in a cool, dark storage space. So include this fish in your diet and enjoy the health benefits offered by them.