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National Sardines Day

No other edible fish is as prevalent as the sardine, and sardines are one of the most eaten foods in the world. The small, oily fish, which we celebrate today on National Sardines Day, belongs to the Clupeidae family. The name sardine dates back to the fifteenth century, likely coming from the island of Sardinia in the Mediterranean Sea, an area around which sardines were once prevalent. Sardines are still abundant in the Mediterranean, as well as in the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans.

Sardines can be eaten fresh—being grilled, smoked, or pickled—but they usually are canned because the fresh variety perishes quickly. Prior to canning, they are washed, beheaded, either steam-cooked or deep-fried, and then dried. They are often packed in butter, mustard, water, olive oil, soybean oil, sunflower oil, chili sauce, or tomato sauce. The end result is a convenient, inexpensive, and versatile food. They are put on toast and crackers, used to top salads, and part of main courses.

As an added bonus, sardines are quite beneficial to health. For starters, they don't contain mercury like many other fish do, because they only feed on plankton. They are rich in omega-3 fatty acids like EPA and DHA, which are heart-healthy, helping to prevent heart attacks and strokes and helping those who have already suffered a heart attack. The omega-3's break down LDL, the "bad" cholesterol, reduce blood clots, and lower blood pressure; they are also good for the metabolism and the skin, and along with protein, help to prevent diabetes and manage existing diabetes. DHA also improves memory and overall brain function, and helps stave off Alzheimer's and dementia.

Sardines are full of vitamins and minerals that are advantageous to the immune system, such as vitamins D, B-2, B-3, and B-12, and copper, choline, phosphorus, potassium, iron, and selenium. B-12 provides energy and helps the cardiovascular system. Selenium assists in detoxifying the body and keeping free radicals from harming organs. Sardines are also full of calcium, which strengthens bones and helps with the carrying out of bodily processes, and have protein, which helps with building bones and muscles and with creating antibodies which strengthen the immune system. Sardines may also help lower the risk of cancer, particularly bowel cancer and breast cancer. Not only are sardines beneficial for humans, but they are also healthy for pets as well, so both you and your furry friends can celebrate National Sardines Day!

How to Observe National Sardines Day

Enjoy sardines today!

  • Buy some fresh sardines. When doing so, check for shiny skin, bright eyes, a firm texture, and a fresh smell.
  • Eat sardines plain out of a can.
  • Put sardines on toast, crackers, or salads.
  • Grill, smoke, or pickle some sardines.
  • Use sardines in a pasta or casserole.
  • Host a sardines party. Have friends bring over canned sardines, and provide food to go with the fish like bread, crackers, and rice, as well as toppings such as onions, sauces, and mustard.
  • Give your pets some sardines.

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