What is a sardine?

The sardine (Sardina pilchardus), or pilchard is a fish with tender and oily meat that is processed in several different ways and used in many recipes. Sardines are very common in the Mediterranean and eastern Atlantic.

Sardines are usually up to 15cm in length and anything longer is considered a pilchard. They are both covered with scales well aligned with a silver-green color and a blue band on the sides.


What are the nutritional properties?

100 grams of fresh sardines bring 129 calories broken down as follows:

  • 64% protein
  • 31% lipids
  • 5% carbohydrates

In particular, 100 grams of fresh sardines contain:

  • 73 g of water
  • 20.8 g of protein
  • 4.5 g of lipids
  • 63 mg cholesterol
  • 1.5 g of available carbohydrates
  • 1.5 g of soluble sugars
  • 66 mg of sodium
  • 630 mg of potassium
  • 1.8 mg of iron
  • 33 mg of calcium
  • 215 mg of phosphorus
  • 10 mg of magnesium
  • 0.8 mg of zinc
  • 0.2 mg of copper
  • 0.02 mg of vitamin B1 or thiamine
  • 0.25 mg vitamin B2 or riboflavin
  • 9.7 mg of vitamin B3 or niacin (or vitamin PP)
  • 28 micrograms of vitamin A retinol eq.
  • traces of vitamin C


When should you NOT eat sardines?

You should avoid the consumption of sardines in the event that you are receiving pharmacological therapy with isoniazid (a drug for the treatment of tuberculosis).


Seasonality of Sardines

Sardine fishing is practiced in all periods of the year, but they are more abundant in spring.


Possible benefits and drawbacks of the Sardine

Sardines are similar to to salmon and mackerel, as they are known for the high level of fat content in their meat (31%). They are also known for the high presence of omega 3 fatty acids reducing the levels of triglycerides and cholesterol in the blood, and they are protective of the heart and blood vessels. Thanks to the content of vitamins and minerals, the sardines are excellent sources of antioxidants.

It is good to abstain from the consumption of this fish in case of allergy. You should avoid the consumption of sardines if you suffer from gout or similar diseases. Salted sardines should be consumed with caution by people who suffer from hypertension.