Are canned sardines safe to eat?

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question, “Are canned sardines safe to eat?”. We will discuss the potential health risks and benefits of eating canned sardines. We will also look at the safest ways to eat and store canned sardines.

Are canned sardines safe to eat?

Yes, canned sardines are safe to eat. While canned sardines can be healthy to one’s diet, there are a few people who should avoid them. Sardines should be avoided if you have hypertension, gout, or are prone to kidney stones.

What are the risks of eating canned sardines?

Sardines are only risky for people with prevailing conditions like high blood pressure, kidney stones, and gout.

High blood pressure 

Sardines have a high salt content. Around a 1/3 of your daily worth is provided by a single can. Sodium should be avoided by people with hypertension since it draws water and increases the amount of blood throughout the body. You still can enjoy sardines if you need to cut back on salt by reducing the serving size and keeping the rest of your dish low-sodium.

Kidney stones

Sardines aren’t a smart choice for persons at risk of kidney stones since they contain purines, which degrade into uric acid. Sardines’ high sodium content might cause calcium to build up in the urine, which is yet another potential risk for kidney stones.


Gout is a condition in which your body’s uric acid solidifies in your joints, producing joint pain. Oily fish, such as sardines and anchovies, are rich in purines, meaning if you already have gout, you should look for alternative ways to get your fish fix. Taking fish oil capsules or having white-fleshed fish like cod can help.

What are the benefits of eating canned sardines?

Canned sardines have the same health benefits as most other fish. Canning preserves most of the nutrients in fresh sardines.

Makes your bones stronger

Sardines are a good source of calcium since they are eaten whole, with each serving supplying roughly one-third of the required amount by the average person. 

Vitamin D is also important in this process because it helps your body absorb calcium. Vitamin D content in sardines is significantly higher than calcium content. 

Phosphorus is a third bone-building nutrient that neutralizes acids that can injure your bones. Phosphorus is present in sardines as well.

Improves cardiovascular health

Fish oil contains omega-3 fatty acids, which help to protect heart health. Omega-3 fatty acids help to regulate cardiac rhythms, lower triglycerides (fat in the blood), and protect arteries from obstructions. Oily fish like sardines, and mackerel,  have the highest concentration of omega-3 fatty acids.

Improves nerve function

Vitamin B12 deficiency can affect up to 40% of senior citizens. This deficiency can result in impaired sensory nerve functioning and peripheral nerve issues. Nerve disorders might cause you to lose your balance, fall, and finally become disabled. Sardines give more than three times the number of B12 required by most people in one dish.

How to eat canned sardines?

You can eat them straight from the can, add onions or jalapenos, or add condiments like mustard, mayonnaise, or hot sauce. The heads are usually removed, but the bones and skin are what you’ll be eating. In reality, several health benefits can be found there.

Sardines in a can are delicious in salads and sauces. They can even be minced and used as a stuffing for crackers or sandwiches.

Sardines have a rich flavor and fatty meat. They have a sweet flavor that goes well with items with strong flavors like mustard and bitter vegetables.

How to store canned sardines?

Refrigerate them: Put the sardines in an airtight glass or plastic jar with a lid. (It’s best to use glass containers because they’re less prone to hold stains or odors.) Sardines can be kept in the refrigerator for about 3-4 days after opening if kept at the right temperature (below 38°F). 

Freeze them: You can freeze unwrapped sardines in a closed airtight jar or a freezer bag (at 0°F) for an even longer shelf life. The freeze-thaw cycles will soften the texture of the sardines, making them better suited for cooked recipes, but they will stay safe to consume for 3 months or more.

It’s usually a good idea to check your sardine for symptoms of decomposition before eating it.

You should be fine to eat your chilled or frozen sardines as long as they haven’t created a strong odor or changed in appearance, and there’s no indication of mold.


In this brief guide, we answered the question, “Are canned sardines safe to eat?”. We discussed the potential health risks and benefits of eating canned sardines. We also looked at the safest ways to eat and store canned sardines.

If you have any questions or comments, please let us know.


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Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.