Sardines are terrific brain food! Fresh, frozen or canned, they are one of the best sources of EPA and DHA – super omega-3 fatty acids that strengthen communication among brain cells and help regulate neurotransmitters, improving focus and memory and lowering the risk of dementia. They are also an excellent source of bioavailable calcium, as well as Vitamins A, D3, B complex and trace minerals essential for nerve and brain health. Because you’re eating the whole fish – bones, guts and all – sardines are, effectively, organ meat, a nutrient powerhouse for the whole body. As small fish low on the food chain, sardines are low in mercury, PCBs and other contaminants. All larger fish, including wild salmon, can concentrate mercury up to a million times more than the humble sardine.
Aluminum canned sardines retain the nutrients of fresh (check expiration date) and are a convenient, inexpensive choice. Look for whole, unskinned sardines – packed in olive oil or spring water to insure no leaching of metal (though most cans now have a protective coating on the inside).
- 3 cups greens, washed and torn in small chunks
- 1 avocado, sliced
- 1 orange, in bite-sized sections
- 1 small onion, thinly sliced or grated
- 4 oz. tin whole, unskinned sardines in extra virgin olive oil
Dressing: about 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil (from sardines), 1 tbsp. lemon juice, pressed garlic clove, 1 tbsp. mild mustard, dash seasalt or Celtic salt, fresh ground black pepper
- Combine greens, avocado, orange pieces and onion in a bowl.
- Drain sardines (saving oil) and cut into bite-sized chunks. Set aside.
- Place dressing ingredients in a small bowl and mix well.
- Toss greens mixture with the dressing until creamy.
- Divide the salad into two servings plates and arrange sardines on top.
For more mind-boggling effects, toss in brain-friendly additions like black olives, cherry tomatoes, raw cheese, mint leaves or fresh dill, thinly sliced radishes, steamed asparagus, etc.