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Eat THIS Heart Healthy Food

Picture this.  Kara and I are in Italy a couple years ago for our honeymoon.  For one of our day trips, we were in a small town called Ravello, one of the most beautiful towns we visited that trip. 

Since we both love to cook, she found a chef who does private cooking lessons – we were both very excited for our adventure when we woke up.

The 3 of us are in Chef Vincenzino’s house, which was nestled in the mountain side overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. 

Incredible, to say the least.

We had no idea what we’d be preparing that day … when we spoke beforehand, he said he would go to the market that morning and whatever was freshest, he’d pick up. 

Well, lo and behold, fresh off the boat that morning … today’s heart healthy food you probably don’t eat (but should) … Sardines!  

I have had them and enjoy them; I thought Kara’s eyes were going to fall out of her head when she heard that (as you can clearly see in this picture of Kara and Vincenzino). 

Of course she wasn’t going to say no to the dinner we were all making with the Chef.

But, she quickly learned that when prepared well (and super fresh) the little fish are superb. 



And, well, let's be honest — can anything taste bad when you have a view like this?

While going down to sea that morning and picking up fresh sardines unfortunately isn’t a luxury we enjoy daily in landlocked Kentucky, most grocery stores do carry fresh sardines (the term used lightly after eating ones caught that morning)…but stores do at the very least carry canned.

Don’t turn your nose up too soon.

I’ve found that most cringe when I suggest sardines as a powerful health food, yet it’s not because of a bad experience – instead, it’s the thought that these are super strong, fishy, horrible tasting fish.  None of which are true.

But why are these little buggers so darn great for us?

They have significantly more omega-3 fats than wild salmon, they’re naturally high in vitamin D, which I recently told you I was found to be deficient in D, and they’re very low in mercury and other contaminants. 

Oh yeah and they’re also sustainable, which is surely a great bonus!

The question now becomes – what do you do with these tiny omega 3 powerhouses? 

They’re great in spaghetti sauce, or try them lightly breaded (dip in egg, whole wheat bread crumbs, then sauté in olive oil and garlic), or even just mixed with some mustard and used like you would tuna fish. 

I urge you to give them a try, though. 

I’ll go out on a limb and say sardines are the healthiest animal based food that we know of to date.

And you know, combine them with some of the foods that we made that day in Italy (pictured to the left) — fresh veggies, sardines, garlic and herbs, and your heart will LOVE YOU.


That's why they made our previous post — The 13 Healthiest Foods You're Not Eating (but should!)


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12 Responses to Eat THIS Heart Healthy Food

  1. Tangila February 24, 2010 at 7:04 am #

    I don't blame you Kara, SARDINES!  NO WAY!!!  Loved the story, great pics.

  2. Amy Holley February 24, 2010 at 7:05 am #

    I'm game, but a little nervous about it … will they taste like anchovies?  Are they better for me than anchovies?

    • Chris and Kara Mohr February 24, 2010 at 7:32 am #

      They’re similar — anchovies are fantastic as well and they also can be used the same way. Enjoy ’em!

  3. Kevin Orlin Johnson February 24, 2010 at 7:56 am #

    First time I've ever known you to be wrong! Love them! I always keep at least one can on my desk, with a nice clean little fork.  Love them! Plus they're carb-free! 
    Now I want sardines–

    • Chris and Kara Mohr February 24, 2010 at 8:10 am #

      Thanks, Kevin. Confused on where we went “wrong” with the piece.

      • Julia Pike February 24, 2010 at 9:50 pm #

        I don't think you went wrong with the article.  But remember the E-mail you sent out with the link to the blog.  It said: "I bet you're not eating this one food…Please tell me I'm wrong on the blog"

  4. Mark February 24, 2010 at 11:32 am #

    How ironic….I just recently started eating sardines after years of thinking that was the grossest food on the planet. I love'em now!!  I figure they are a blend of tuna and salmon in taste. They have become a staple in my weekly food plan.  Don't be afraid, they won't bite.

    • Chris and Kara Mohr February 24, 2010 at 11:46 am #

      Great taste description … and, you’re right, sardines surely won’t bite! And even if they did, their health benefits may outweigh the strength of that bite

  5. Carrie G February 24, 2010 at 2:40 pm #

    Any recipes?  Especially for the canned stuff we can get in Kentucky.

    • Chris and Kara Mohr February 25, 2010 at 7:44 am #

      Use it like you would tuna fish and have some on whole grain bread … I like it with dijon mustard and cracked black pepper for a bit of kick. Not an “exciting” recipe, but an easy one.

  6. mark February 24, 2010 at 6:17 pm #

    I eat loads of sardines. I keep single digit bodyfat and I feel great.  -Mark

  7. ruth August 15, 2012 at 9:07 pm #

    i lived in italy for a little while, and while in venice for a few months got used to a local dish made with sardines (fresh), sultanas, and caramelised onions. maybe it was called sardo, or sarde? it was served as an entree, and the flavours of the onions, sultanas and sardines complemented each other beautifully. it is basically peasant food, very cheap to make, and a staple winter food. stunningly different – and you even eat the BONES so you get a huge boost to your calcium stores as well as a yummy feast.

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