Not only are tinned fish an affordable source of protein, but they’re also sustainable and don’t require any preparation or cook time. Adding tinned fish to your diet provides plenty of health benefits, as well. 

Tinned sardines tend to be lower in mercury than many other types of fish, and are considered one of the “best choices,” in terms of seafood, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (USDA).

“My personal favorite is the boneless variety packed in olive oil,” Cording says. “If you like a little crunch, the kind with the bones still in are great.” 

While sardines packed in oil may have a bit more flavor, the variety in water is still a good source of nutrients. “In both cases you’re getting a good amount of protein, vitamin D, and anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids—and the olive oil provides heart-healthy monounsaturated fats,” she explains. 

The brain is made of about 60% essential fatty acids, and the main source of omega-3s in sardines is called docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which can help to repair brain cells and support cognitive functioning. DHA is not found in plant-based food sources, so incorporating sardines into your meals is a simple way to enhance brain health. 

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