Sardine vs Salmon - Health impact and Nutrition Comparison
In general, fish is the most popular marine food consumed by humans. In this article the differences and similarities of sardine and salmon will be discussed, specifically focusing on their nutritional data, usage in certain diet regimens, and health impacts.
Sardines are usually harvested from the mediternean sea, european shores of the atlantic, and north atlantic.
On the other hand, salmon are mostly harvested from farms which are grown in basins. Although some wild salmon are found in the market, most of the salmon that is easily accessible are harvested from basins.
Sardines are mostly found in cans with vegetable oil. However, during harvest seasons in the mediatranean countries and european countries of the atlantic, sardines can be found grilled and smoked.
Fresh salmon on the other hand can be available year long because they are mostly farmed and not wild. Salmon is eaten raw, specifically in Japanese sushi. They can also be grilled and smoked, and served as a salmon steak. Salmon is also found in european countries in soups and warm dishes.
In this part of the article, a comparison between the nutritional data of sardine and salmon per 100g of each is discussed. The sardine discussed in the article is canned in oil.
Sardine and salmon are rich in minerals. Sardines are richer in calcium, phosphorus, selenium, iron, magnesium, zinc, and sodium. It is important to note that the sodium levels of sardine have to be taken into consideration specifically in hypertensive patients. It is also very important to be careful of added salt in canned sardines. Salmon, on the other hand, is richer in potassium, and copper.
Sardine is richer in vitamin B12, B2, E, D, and A. On the other hand, salmon is richer in B6 and B3. They have a rich vitamin B complex profile.
Both sardine and salmon contain no carbohydrates.
Sardine and salmon are considered to be high in proteins. Sardine is richer in proteins compared to salmon.
The essential amino acid profile of sardines is richer compared to that of salmon. However, both are considered to have rich essential amino acid profiles.
Sardines have higher amounts of fats compared to salmon. Sardine satisfies 17% of the daily value. Whereas, salmon satisfies 9% of the daily value.
Fat profile dissection
Sardines have higher amounts of saturated fats, as it makes up 10% of the daily value. Salmon fulfills only 5% of the daily value.
It is important to take into consideration the amounts of saturated fats in both.
Sardines are richer in monounsaturated fats compared to salmon.
Polyunsaturated fats make up the omega-3 element of the fish, and \ will be discussed separately due to their importance. It is important to note that sardines are richer in polyunsaturated fats.
Sardines have higher amounts of cholesterol. The cholesterol content of sardine is nearly 50% of the daily required value.
Omega-3 fatty acid
Fatty fish like sardine and salmon are one of the richest sources of dietary supply of omega-3 fatty acids, including EPA and DHA (eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid).
These fatty acids are an essential fat with various health beneficial properties.
Their health relevance will be discussed in the health impact section.
100g of sardines have 208 calories compared to salmon which have 142 calories. Thus, sardines are higher in calories compared to salmon.
The glycemic index for these products is 0.
Weight loss and diets
Sardine and salmon are low-carb and high-fat foods. So the amount of fat should be taken into consideration during weight loss or different diets.
Sardine and salmon are also a great source of protein, minerals, and vitamins.
Sardine and salmon are considered as perfect foods in keto diets. They are low-carb high-fat foods. It is important to note that the fat profile of these fish are healthy fats. However, it is important to keep in mind the high cholesterol content of sardine while consuming.
The mineral and vitamin content of sardine give the edge over salmon.
Salmon, on the other hand, has a wider range of versatility and accessibility during cooking.
Both sardine and salmon cannot be consumed in vegan diets.
Both sardine and salmon are highly recommended to bodybuilders and athletes, due to their high protein content. In addition to their mineral and vitamin contents that replenishes their biochemical necessity to maintain good health and long term results.
Omega 3 fatty acids may improve cardiac function by their activity of lower blood triglyceride levels, antihypertensive, antiarrhythmic and anti-atherogenic effects. (1)
Omega-3 fatty acids, as antiarrhythmic, have antithrombotic and anti-inflammatory properties. These fatty acids also are used to treat hyperlipidemia, hypertension, and rheumatoid arthritis. There are no significant drug interactions with omega-3 fatty acids.(2)
Journal of the American Medical Association researchers have found that the omega-3 fatty acids can lower your blood pressure and reduce your risk of developing heart disease. (3) Salmon contain bioactive PLs with strong antithrombotic and anti-atherogenic cardioprotective activities. (4)
Higher doses of omega-3 fatty acids are required to reduce elevated triglyceride levels (2 to 4g per day) and to reduce morning stiffness and the number of tender joints in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (at least 3g per day). (5) (6)
Studies have found that the gamma tocopherol (gT) exhibits beneficial cardiovascular effects partly due to its anti-inflammatory activity. (7)
Dietary suggestions, including modification of dietary fat quality, is the basis of treatment of diabetes. The risk related to the moderately higher blood glucose concentrations with the omega 3–enriched diet may be counteracted by positive effects with regard to lipoprotein concentrations. An increase in long-chain omega 3 fatty acids from fatty fish (salmon, sardine), and of omega 6 fatty acids from linoleic acid, may be recommended for patients with type 2 diabetes. (8)
Some studies show that the high-fat diet combined with fish oil improved metabolic features associated with type 2 diabetes such as impaired glucose tolerance and hepatic steatosis. (9)
Few studies indicate that essential fatty acid consumption may influence the risk of developing cancer. Fat from both contains <20–25% saturated fatty acids, the fat-soluble vitamins A and D as we know omega–3 fatty acids are important components of cell membranes and appear to have anti-inflammatory effects and inhibit in vitro the growth of colon, breast, and prostate cancers (10)
Due to omega 3 content salmon and sardine has anti-inflammatory effects which may contribute to their protective actions towards atherosclerosis, plaque rupture and cardiovascular mortality. (11)
Regulation of the production of proinflammatory prostaglandins and hydroxyeicosatetraenoic acid via the cyclooxygenase and lipoxygenase pathways via fatty acids play a major role in inflammation, proliferation, and angiogenesis, which are variables that are key drivers in cancer progression. (12)
Salmon as a red colored fish have carotenoids (astaxanthin). Astaxanthin has biological functions related to growth, reproduction and tissue health possibly due to the compound’s strong antioxidant properties. (13)
Astaxanthin has also bioactive characteristics against H. pylori. (14)
Impact on bones
These two organisms serve as an alternate source for calcium. (15)
Sardine as a small fish could be eaten with the bones can be a rich source of Ca, even though Ca from bone may be considered unavailable for absorption. (16)
So these products, which contain calcium, may help lessen gout attacks as well as protect your bones. (17)
Vitamin D present in sardines has also a beneficial impact on bone health and formation. (18)
Downsides and Risks
Due to contamination, farmed salmon and sardine might lead to an increased risk of cancer. Fish grown under appropriate conditions may have low risk of toxicity and cancer. (19)
Methylmercury found in wild salmon can accumulate in body tissues. It can have a negative impact on the baby's brain and nervous system development. For salmon rapid growth rates and a high lipid content may play important roles in regulating concentrations of contaminants such as mercury. Salmon and sardines are fed on plankton only, which means they don't contain the high levels of mercury that other fish do. (20)
Some studies show that the high cholesterol content in sardine might be associated with a higher risk of type 2 diabetes (21)
In summary sardine is richer in Vitamin D, Calcium, Iron and Phosphorus, while salmon is significantly richer in Vitamin B6. Sardine also contains considerably less cholesterol and sodium, while Salmon has less calories because it contains more water and less fats.
Vitamin and Mineral Summary Scores
Comparison summary table
|Rich in minerals|
|Lower in price|
|Lower in Cholesterol|
|Lower in Sugar|
|Lower in Sodium|
|Lower in Saturated Fat|
|Lower in glycemic index||Equal|
|Rich in vitamins||Equal|
Which food is preferable for your diet?
|Low Calories diet|
|Low Fats diet|
|Low Carbs diet||Equal|
|Low glycemic index diet||Equal|
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All nutrients comparison - raw data values