We know you dig that canned fish staple, sardines. Sadly, though, it turns out that most reliable seafood-watch groups strongly advise against buying them. They’re overfished, which is threatening not only sardine populations but also Mediterranean food chains. (Low stocks have even forced Pacific sardine fisheries to close temporarily in the past.)

Beyond that, a lot of prepared seafood have dangerous levels of mercury. Mercury, unlike many other minerals you consume in your diet, has no essential function—meaning it’s basically useless. Additionally, mercury can be harmful because, in large quantities, it can displace selenium (which is vital antioxidant production and absorption). To help you get around mercury-laden options, we’ve put together this helpful list on the safest seafood choices out there.

All that being said, canned fish has a place in your cabinets—a lot of varieties are nearly all protein with very few carbs and healthy fats. They’re also a quick snack: just open the can and add some seasonings and it’s lunch time.

Here, a few terrific eat-anytime alternatives to sardines.


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