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8 Ways Sardines Help Your Heart

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Sardine

Big things come in small packages. Nestled unassumingly on supermarket shelves, the humble sardine touts a wealth of benefits that make it a heavyweight contender for your heart’s well-being. Overlooked by many, this modestly sized fish is ready for its moment in the spotlight. Let’s peel back the silver lid and delve into eight compelling ways sardines bolster cardiovascular health.

What are sardines?

Packed with nutrients, sardines claim a top spot among the healthiest seafood options. These small swimmers, feasting mainly on plankton, occupy a lower tier in the aquatic food chain. This dietary preference keeps them relatively free from high concentrations of heavy metals like mercury, making them a superior and safer choice to their larger, predatory counterparts like tuna and swordfish.

Sardines stand apart. They are typically eaten in their entirety, bones included, which dramatically boosts their nutritional offerings. Moreover, sardines contain a whopping 25 grams of top-notch protein per serving. They’re also an impressive reservoir of healthy fats and essential nutrients such as: 

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin B6
  • Vitamin B12
  • Vitamin D
  • Calcium
  • Iron 
  • Magnesium
  • Potassium

Sardines’ advantages extend beyond heart health. Their ample omega-3 fatty acids and abundant vitamin D levels serve to sharpen cognitive function and bolster mental well-being. Furthermore, the potent combination of calcium and vitamin D helps shield bone health, amplifying sardines’ appeal as an all-round nourishing food option.

Sardines are not just nutritionally superior but also an environmentally conscious choice. They are abundant in our oceans and reproduce rapidly, making them a sustainable seafood choice. It’s crucial to ensure that the sardines you consume are wild-caught to guarantee the best nutritional profile and sustainable practices.

8 Ways Sardines Help Your Heart 

When it comes to seafood choices, sardines might not top your list, but they certainly should. This humble fish holds incredible benefits for cardiac health, offering a whole sea of reasons to be your go-to choice. Let’s dive into eight key ways sardines can significantly enhance your heart health.

1. Lowers Inflammation

In the fight against inflammation, a leading cause of heart disease, our tinned friend, the sardine, might just be a secret weapon. These compact fish are packed with Omega-3 fats, critical players in reducing inflammation.

Let’s not underestimate the small but mighty sardine. Research on rats shows diets rich in sardines could lower inflammation. A decrease in the marker IL-1β was particularly notable in those on a high-sardine diet. 

And it’s not just rats that benefit. Studies on humans mirror these findings. Individuals consuming over 300g of fish per week show lower inflammation markers like C-reactive protein and interleukin-6 levels. Interestingly, these benefits aren’t exclusive to heavy fish eaters – even those with smaller servings report similar heart health benefits.

Notably, sardines pack a powerful punch of selenium, a potent antioxidant. Supplying over two-thirds of your daily selenium needs in each serving, sardines may help tamp down inflammation and combat oxidative stress.

Adding sardines to our plates could be a simple, cost-effective step in keeping our hearts healthy. Sardines’ rich Omega-3 content and demonstrated inflammation-lowering effects prove that big benefits can come in small packages.

2. Decreases Blood Pressure

If you’re on the hunt for a natural food that can help keep your blood pressure in check, look no further than the sardine. Hidden within these tiny swimmers is a nutritional profile that might surprise you.

Sardines are a rich source of Omega-3 fatty acids, specifically EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). These essential fatty acids have been widely studied for their role in lowering blood pressure.

A comprehensive 2022 analysis of 71 trials involving 4,973 participants has thrown the spotlight on the power-packed Omega-3 fatty acids they house. This study has brought forth an intriguing link: daily omega-3 intake and the positive shifts in blood pressure control.

The study found that consuming 2 to 3 grams of Omega-3 daily can significantly reduce systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Since a single can of sardines delivers about 2 grams of Omega-3s, it’s the perfect portion to help manage blood pressure.

Sardines deliver a triple-punch of calcium, magnesium, and potassium, minerals known to ease the pressure on your arteries. In fact, a 2022 study puts numbers to the theory: higher calcium intake can shave off 1.37 mmHg and 1.45 mmHg from your systolic and diastolic blood pressure, respectively. Amp that up to over 1000 mg of calcium a day, and the benefits are even more striking.

3. Reduces Cholesterol

Many individuals shy away from sardines due to their high cholesterol content. A single can of sardines carries about 130 mg of cholesterol. However, contrary to common belief, recent research suggests dietary cholesterol doesn’t directly affect your body’s cholesterol levels. 

So, if you’re diving into a can of sardines, you’re in safe waters. Dietary cholesterol’s impact on HDL and LDL cholesterol is negligible. Meanwhile, a diet rich in Omega-3s, a key feature of sardines, can lead to modest improvements in your blood triglycerides.

In a 2016 study, researchers dove into the impacts of different types of fish on cholesterol. They asked thirty-eight healthy, normal-weight adults to consume 750 g/week of lean fish, fatty fish, or lean meat for four weeks. All the food was prepared similarly to maintain consistency.

The authors concluded that consuming fatty fish was linked to a notable drop in triglycerides and a boost in HDL-cholesterol levels. They did not see the same result with lean protein, indicating that fatty fish, such as sardines, can positively impact critical cardiovascular disease risk factors.

4. Supports Healthy Heart Rhythms

The secret weapon sardines wield against arrhythmias, such as atrial fibrillation (Afib), lies in their powerhouse combo of essential minerals, including potent amounts of potassium and magnesium.

When it comes to heart health, potassium is a superstar. This mineral plays a key role in maintaining the electrical balance your heart needs to beat in a smooth and regular rhythm. A 2021 study found that low blood potassium levels are associated with an increased risk of AFib. 

Similarly, magnesium, another mineral in sardines, is crucial in coordinating the fine-tuned dance of muscle contraction and relaxation that keeps your heart ticking in time. Research indicates that those low in magnesium face a 50 percent higher chance of developing arrhythmias. 

The story of how sardines support healthy heart rhythms doesn’t stop there. You might associate a sunny day with a boost of vitamin D, but here’s some food for thought: sardines are swimming in it. 

This essential vitamin plays a key role in managing calcium levels within the body, a function critical for maintaining the heart’s rhythm and ensuring its healthy operation. So, when the sun isn’t shining, you can still find a ray of vitamin D in a trusty can of sardines.

5. Slashes the Risk of Death from Heart Attack

Looking for a natural guard against heart attacks? Sardines might be your best go-to. Evidence from a far-reaching analysis involving over 191,000 participants points to the heart-protective power of fish, particularly for those with vascular disease.

Simply put, people with vascular disease who ate fish twice weekly had a considerably lower risk of major cardiovascular events and death. This association was especially strong for fish rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, like sardines. 

These little powerhouses are also brimming with vitamin B12—one can provides a staggering 150% of your daily requirement. This crucial vitamin is instrumental in breaking down homocysteine, a compound that, in excess, can fast-track your way to heart attacks and strokes.

Elevated homocysteine levels can trigger blood clots, produce a surplus of harmful free radicals, and hamper your blood vessels’ routine function. But thanks to sardines’ plentiful supply of vitamin B12, they help neutralize these risks by keeping homocysteine levels firmly in check, significantly boosting your heart health.

6. Reduces Blood Clot Risk 

For a small fish, sardines bring big benefits to the table, particularly when it comes to regulating blood clotting. They act as natural anticoagulants, largely due to the high levels of omega-3 fatty acids. 

Specifically, omega-3s such as EPA and DHA have a well-earned reputation for dialing down the risk of heart disease. One significant way they accomplish this is by impeding the blood’s tendency to form excessive clots. These fatty acids manage to do so by diminishing certain fats—triacylglycerol—and curbing the activity of various clot-promoting substances in our blood.

So, by diving into a can of sardines and reaping their rich omega-3 rewards, we can ensure our blood flows smoothly, reducing the threat of dangerous blood clots.

7. Enhances Vascular Health 

Sardines are a powerhouse for supporting the health of our blood vessels. Critical to our vascular health is the endothelium. This delicate layer of cells lining our blood vessels, aids in the regulation of blood pressure, blood clotting, and other vital processes.

Here’s where sardines make their mark. The omega-3 fatty acids tucked inside these fish have been shown to benefit endothelial function. So, with every bite of sardines, you’re not just satisfying your taste buds but also bolstering the robustness of your circulatory system. 

8. Reduces Other Metabolic Risk Factors  

Sardines, those humble tinned fish, are actually front-line soldiers in the fight against metabolic syndrome—a complex condition marked by raised blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat, and abnormal cholesterol levels. Regularly featuring sardines in your diet helps strike a balance of proteins and healthy fats, assisting in weight management and curbing obesity risk.

But the health benefits of sardines don’t stop at weight control. They’re also rich in omega-3 fatty acids, known champions of insulin sensitivity. These fatty acids help regulate blood sugar and temper inflammation, reducing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, a frequent companion of metabolic syndrome.

Next Steps

In the journal toward optimal heart health, incorporating the right nutrition into our routine can make a world of difference. With The Whole Fish, we’ve encapsulated the incredible nutritional power of the entire sardine, creating a product that’s a game-changer for your heart health.

Our ancestors had it right—they caught and ate the entire fish, brain, heart, liver, bones, skin, and all. The Whole Fish brings that ancestral wisdom into the modern age, delivering the full nutritional punch of wild-caught sardines in a convenient, taste-free capsule. This innovative approach ensures you can harness sardines’ heart-healthy benefits, regardless of your access to quality seafood or palate preferences.

The Whole Fish is precisely what it says—every part of the sardine, freeze-dried and encapsulated. This freeze-drying process locks in raw sardines’ natural enzymes, vitamins, and minerals without a strong smell or taste. It’s the perfect solution for those wanting health benefits without the fishy flavor.

We source our sardines from the pristine Mediterranean waters off the coast of Spain, Portugal, and Morocco. Within our gel cap, you’ll find sardines and nothing else. There are no oils, salt, water, additives, preservatives, steroids, hormones, antibiotics, or denaturing agents—just the pure, unadulterated goodness of the entire fish.

Personally formulated by Dr. Jack Wolfson, a board-certified cardiologist who understands the intricate needs of the human heart, The Whole Fish is a natural source of Omega-3 fatty acids. It’s made right here in the United States, using only the best ingredients in their optimal formulations.

Embrace The Whole Fish, and let the nutritional power of sardines start you on your way to your 100 year heart. 

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About Dr. Keith Smigiel NP, DC

Dr. Keith Smigiel

Dr. Keith Smigiel is a regenerative medicine physician and pain management specialist. He takes an integrative approach to medicine, focusing on customized solutions tailored to individual needs. Using advanced, non-surgical treatments, Dr. Smigiel stimulates your body’s ability to naturally heal itself.

Dr. Smigiel helps people suffering from conditions such as chronic pain and erectile dysfunction, to hair loss and weight gain. Combining treatments such as PRP Therapy, Ozone, Neural Prolotherapy, and IV Infusions with functional rehabilitation, he helps you look and feel better.

He heals the body, instead of just treating the symptoms!

With his professional qualifications as a certified family nurse practitioner, a doctor of chiropractic, and a fellow of the International Academy of Medical Acupuncture, Dr. Smigiel offers patients comprehensive care from a broad perspective of conventional and alternative medicine. He also has extensive experience in functional rehabilitation and chronic pain management.

Dr. Smigiel is married to Angela and has two children, Sophia and Larz. When he’s not busy helping patients, he enjoys hiking, mountain biking, motocross, and boating.

About Dr. James Kneller, M.D., Ph.D., FHRS

Dr. James Kneller, M.D., Ph.D., FHRS

Dr. James Kneller is one of the nation’s leading heart rhythm specialists. Dr. Kneller is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) in Clinical Cardiac Electrophysiology, Cardiovascular Disease, and Internal Medicine.

As a Fellow of the Heart Rhythm Society (FHRS) and Certified Cardiac Device Specialist (CCDS), Kneller provides comprehensive patient care, combining best medical practice with invasive procedures using state-of-the-art technologies to treat heart rhythm disorders.

Beyond guideline-directed therapies, Kneller is passionate about optimized personal health. With a deep interest in complimentary alternative medicine (CAM), he strives to reduce the need for pharmaceuticals, invasive procedures, and exposure to harmful radiation. With Natural Heart Doctor, he strives to help each and every client to Live Well, Eat Well, and Think Well to attain their 100-year heart!

About Dr. Lauren Lattanza NMD, FACC

Dr. Lattanza Office Visit with Patient

As a Naturopathic Physician, I am trained to treat the whole person and get to the root cause of disease.

I went to Arizona State University where I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a depth in physiology and minor in Spanish. After my undergraduate degree I was working on prerequisite classes towards medical school, which is when I came to learn that my values identified best with the principles of naturopathic medicine. I knew that I wanted to help patients identify the causes of disease and be able to offer treatments which would improve their health rather than simply treating symptoms.

I dedicated the next 4 years to the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine in Tempe, Arizona where I attained my Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine. I served as Class President all 4 years, Board of Trustees – Student Trustee, spoke as the Club President for our branch of Toastmasters, and was voted by my peers and attending physicians to earn the Outstanding Leadership Award for the Class of 2020. Throughout medical school I took it upon myself to work alongside MDs, DOs, chiropractors, and functional medicine practitioners in addition to naturopathic physicians.

As a Spanish speaking student, I was able to volunteer with community clinics around Phoenix and provide free healthcare to low-income families. Due to this combined exposure, I came to find my passion in treating cardiometabolic and digestive disorders that are all too common, yet largely preventable. I took the opportunity to learn the broad spectrum of healthcare so I can ensure that I am able to provide my patients with the best options.

About Dr. Jack Wolfson DO, FACC

Dr. Wolfson Office Visit with Patient

Dr. Jack Wolfson is a board-certified cardiologist, Amazon best-selling author, husband, father, and the nation’s #1 Natural Heart Doctor.

For more than two decades, more than one million people have enjoyed the warmth, compassion, and transformational power of his natural heart health courses and events.

Dr. Wolfson is the founder of Natural Heart Doctor Scottsdale, his heart health practice in Arizona, and Natural Heart Doctor, an online resource center with natural health information. Doctors from across the globe reach out to Dr. Wolfson for training and education in holistic health practices.

He has been named one of America’s Top Functional Medicine Doctors and is a five-time winner of the Natural Choice Awards as a holistic M.D. Dr. Wolfson’s work has been covered by more than 100 media outlets, including NBC, CNN, and the Washington Post. His book “The Paleo Cardiologist: The Natural Way to Heart Health” was an Amazon #1 best-seller.

Dr. Wolfson and his wife Heather have four children and are committed to making the world a better place to live. They provide for those in need (including animals) and support natural health causes through their philanthropic efforts.

Chiropractic

Our chiropractor is an expert at adjustments and holistic chiropractic care and works closely in conjunction with the other health care experts at Natural Heart Doctor.

Call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

IV Therapy

We use specially formulated natural vitamins and minerals that are injected into a vein to prevent or treat dehydration. Ideal for people in Arizona.

Call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

Acupuncture

Stimulate your body’s natural healing abilities and promote physical and emotional well-being with acupuncture at Natural Heart Doctor.

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Health Coaching

Our health coaches use evidence based skillful conversation, clinical interventions, and strategies to engage you actively and safely in health behavior changes.

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Cardio Tests

We use the most advanced testing in the world to assess heart health and to identify the root cause of your health issues.

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Office Visits

Schedule an office visit with one of our cardiologists, holistic physicians, chiropractor, or health coaches.

Call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

Frequently Asked Questions

I’d like to receive an online second opinion from Natural Heart Doctor. What do I do next?

You can initiate a second opinion online through our website at any time. To begin, select the team member you’d like to speak with and open an account.

Click here for cardiologist Dr. Jack Wolfson.

Naturopathic Medical Doctor Dr. Lauren Lattanza. Get details.

Naturopathic Medical Doctor Dr. Tonia Rainier. Get details.

Click here for  Natural Heart Doctor Health Coach.

Alternatively, you can email health@naturalheartdoctor.com. A member of our care team will help guide you through the process of starting a second opinion.

What is the cost of a Natural Heart Doctor Online Second Opinion?

The cost for most second opinions varies by team member. This fee includes information collection, a phone or video consultation, a second opinion from a Natural Heart Doctor specialist and guidance throughout the process from your personal Care Team at Natural Heart Doctor.

Cardiologist Dr. Jack Wolfson’s Second Opinion Fee is $1500.

Holistic Physician’s Dr. Lauren Lattanza’s Second Opinion Fee is $250.

Naturopathic Physician Dr. Tonia Rainier’s Second Opinion Fee is $250.

Note: We apply the Online Second Opinion Call fee as a credit to any future consultations with Natural Heart Doctor, should you choose them.

Will my insurance cover the cost of a Natural Heart Doctor Online Second Opinion?

Most likely, no. Most health plans do not cover online second opinions or consultations. You are responsible for the cost of our second opinion. Natural Heart Doctor cannot file a claim with your insurance carrier, nor can we provide a procedure (CPT) code for this service.

What is the timeline to receive an online second opinion?

We do our best to schedule your second opinion as quickly as possible. Typically, it takes 5 to 7 business days after your information has been collected to receive your phone or video online second opinion.

What information do you need in advance of our call?

Our office will send you a short questionnaire to complete and return. We DO NOT need your complete medical records.

How many questions can I ask the expert during our call?

You may ask a maximum of five questions. This is to ensure that the expert has sufficient time to devote to each question. All questions must be finalized before your online meeting.

What should I expect to receive once my second opinion is complete?

You will receive a summary of our discussion along with our second opinion. The second opinion will be in written form. After you have reviewed the second opinion, a Natural Heart Doctor clinician will follow up with you by phone to address general medical questions about the information provided in the second opinion.

What if I have follow-up questions for the expert after I have reviewed my second opinion?

If you have a clarifying question about an expert’s response to one of the questions in your second opinion, and the Natural Heart Doctor clinician is unable to address it, then you may request a follow up session for an additional fee. 

Is my medical and payment information secure?

Natural Heart Doctor is strongly committed to protecting the privacy and security of all our patients. Our website meets all federal requirements for protecting personal health information under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). All financial transactions are processed by Natural Heart Doctor securely using industry standard payment processing tools.

I would rather visit Natural Heart Doctor for an in-person appointment. What should I do next?

If you would prefer an in-person appointment at Natural Heart Doctor instead of an online second opinion, please call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

Can I schedule a follow up appointment with the specialist who provided my online second opinion?

Yes, we’re happy to help you on an extended basis. Our clinician can discuss options with you when presenting our second opinion summary.