Sardine vs Mackerel - Health impact and Nutrition Comparison
Although there are a thousand types of species of fish, a small group of them is edible. Nevertheless, fishies are the most commonly used marine food. In this article, you can find the main differences between sardine and mackerel and their impact on human health.
Sardines belong to the Clupeidae family, they are laterally flattened white fishies, with a length within 20 cm. These fishes usually live in warm water.
The name Mackerels is commonly used for several different species of pelagic fish. Mackerels mostly belong to the Scombridae family, they live close to the bottom of oceans or lakes. These fishes are blue-green, on average about 30 cm in length .
Both fishes have completely different tastes. Sardines are more assertive, while mackerel is mild and buttery, but they can be used in similar ways․
Compared with other fishes, sardines feed on plankton, which means they contain no mercury. They can be used in salads, with avocado, with pasta, as a snack on crackers. Mackerels are also used in salad, with a mustardy vinaigrette tossed, or tucked into a sandwich with buttered bread, and some fresh greens .
Sardines and mackerel are rich in healthy compounds and macronutrients. To better understand the difference between them, we created a nutritional infographic. Find it at the bottom of this page.
Sardine and mackerel are rich in vitamins. Sardine contains more Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, and B3. The amount of Vitamin B1 is 3 times higher in sardine. Mackerel is high in Vitamin A, Vitamin B12, Vitamin B6, Vitamin D, Vitamins K, and E. Just 2-3 ounces of mackerel contains an adult's daily B12 requirement. This fish has 4 times higher amount of Vitamin D and 2 times higher level of Vitamin K. The level of Folate in mackerel is also higher than in sardine .
Macronutrients and Glycemic Index
In general, the protein level of sardine is higher than in mackerel. Sardine contains 25 g protein per 100 g, while mackerel contains equal. Both fishes contain no sugar, no fiber, and have the same glycemic index equal to 0. Mackerel is lower in cholesterol, but sardine is lower in fats.
Both of these fishes tend to be high in calories. However, mackerel contains more calories, than crab meat. This fish contains 350 calories per 100 g, whereas crab meat contains 208 calories per 100 g  .
Overall, sardine relatively is richer in some vitamins, than mackerel. It contains more iron, copper, calcium, zinc, and phosphorus. The level of calcium in sardine is 6 times higher than in mackerel. On the other hand, mackerel is higher in potassium and magnesium almost 2 times. Mackerel is also high in sodium .
Both fishes are good sources of potassium. Potassium is an important mineral, which has essential functions in the human body. It helps to balance the water level and blood pressure. Mackerel has a higher potassium content than sardine. It contains 520 mg per 100 g, whereas crab meat contains 397 mg per 100g .
Both sardine and mackerel are good sources of healthy nutrients from omega-3 fatty acids, to vitamin D, and proteins.
Studies show that fish oil may lower the risk of impaired glucose tolerance and hepatic steatosis. N–3 fatty acids from fatty fish and n–6 fatty acids from linoleic acid are recommended for patients with type 2 diabetes because of their positive effects on lipoprotein concentrations. Including fish oil in your daily meal or diets can improve metabolic features connected with type 2 diabetes. Sardines and mackerels are also good sources of magnesium, which deficiency has been associated with chronic diseases such as diabetes mellitus  .
Based on studies,omega-3 fatty acids may help to balance blood pressure and reduce the risk of developing heart disease. It is enough to eat two servings of fatty fish per week, which is equal to 250 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acids to avoid cardiovascular problems. These fishes are also high in potassium, and protein, which may lower blood pressure.
Sardine and mackerel contain a high level of gamma-tocopherol (gT), which has beneficial cardiovascular effects partly due to its anti-inflammatory activity  .
Vitamin D, calcium, and phosphorus are the most important elements for bone health.
Sardines are good sources of calcium, providing about a third of the amount needed by the average person in each serving. They are also rich in phosphorus and Vitamin D, which are vital to this process as well since they allow your body to absorb calcium .
Good Eye Health
According to the study, omega 3 fats may reduce inflammation, which can improve dry eye symptoms, also they can reduce abnormal vessel growth in those with diabetic retinopathy.
Similar studies have shown a reduction in the risk of age-related macular degeneration due to sardine’s high antioxidant compounds .
Boost Immune System
Research shows that bioactive proteins, peptides, or protein hydrolysates from fishes high in omega-3 fats have immunomodulatory effects. Besides, mackerel contains a high amount of selenium and magnesium, which have – antioxidant activities and may help to lower oxidative stress levels in the body, which in turn reduces inflammation and enhances immunity .
Sardines are low in calories, fats, and high in protein. Protein may help you to feel full for longer, as a result, reduce the total number of calories that you eat. Sardines are a good choice in the case of low fats diets. On the other hand, sardines and mackerels are both great sources of omega-3 fats that can promote weight loss and decrease belly fat in overweight individuals .
Sardines contain purines that can lead to kidney stones. Purines break down into uric acid in the human body, so they aren’t a good choice for those at risk of kidney stone formation. The high sodium level of sardines may also increase calcium in your urine, which is another risk factor for kidney stones .
Sodium is an essential mineral that is needed by our body. Nevertheless, it is better to control sodium intake to less than 2,3 mg per day. Too much salt may cause swollen hands and kidney stones. Mackerel contains a high amount of sodium, so try to adjust daily intake .
Other side effects
According to studies, patients should avoid fish oil from the day before chemotherapy until the day thereafter. Also, researchers warn those with cancer to avoid fish oil supplements and remove herring and mackerel from the menu during chemotherapy.
Based on studies, 0.4% of adults in the USA have an allergy to shellfish. The protein parvalbumin in the muscles of most fish can cause allergies. Symptoms are common, including hives, skin rashes, headaches, diarrhea, and difficulty breathing. These fishes contain omega-3 fatty acids, which can have side effects, including a fishy aftertaste and gastrointestinal upset. However, this is dose-dependent and should be chosen carefully .
Sardine is relatively richer in minerals, some vitamins and has lower saturated fats. It contains 6 times more Calcium than mackerel. On the other hand, mackerel is lower in cholesterol and has a higher amount of potassium and Vitamin D.
Vitamin and Mineral Summary Scores
Comparison summary table
|Lower in Sodium|
|Lower in Saturated Fat|
|Lower in Cholesterol|
|Lower in Sugar||Equal|
|Lower in glycemic index||Equal|
|Lower in price||Equal|
|Rich in minerals||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