Before you say "ewww," hear me out, because sardines have a bad reputation that's entirely undeserved. Yes, this fish usually comes in a can, but if you don't think twice about eating canned tuna, why hold it against sardines? Plus, if you choose high-quality sardines, they are actually quite mild and not overly fishy or salty. Don't believe me? Try ordering them at one of the many high-end restaurants where chefs are experimenting with fresh sardines.
More important, when it comes to health, sardines are a super seafood. Compared with other seafood, these tiny fishes are virtually mercury-free, and they're very high in omega-3s, the fatty acids that help lower cholesterol and blood pressure along with a myriad of other health benefits. According to nutritionist Jonny Bowden, author of The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth, sardines are also packed with iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper, and B vitamins. For some other surprising health benefits of sardines, read more.
Remarkably, sardines are also loaded with calcium: the calcium in about three ounces of sardines is equal to that of eight ounces of milk. And since sardines are a very sustainable fish, you don't have to feel guilty about eating them.
Look for sardines packed in olive oil or water, and try mixing them into salads like you would anchovies. Or, combine them with mustard on some toast or bread for a sandwich. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.