Secrets of the Superhuman Food Pyramid: Benefits of Sardines, Anchovies or Haddock in Water or Olive Oil

When thinking of sardines or anchovies, you’re likely to picture small fish packed in a can or bottle. It’s said that sardines were the first type of fish to be canned. This happened in France during the reign of Napoleon Bonaparte. It was also during this period that the canning process was first developed as a food security solution for both the military and the general populace.

But these types of fish have long been part of the human diet. During the time of the Roman Empire, for example, citizens enjoyed a kind of fermented fish sauce made from anchovies called garum. This is not really surprising as fish in general are a good source of protein. Plus they have the advantage of not having the riskier types of fatty acids and high amounts of cholesterol, unlike the meat of domesticated land animals.

Read on and learn about the health benefits of sardines, anchovies or haddock and why the Superhuman Food Pyramid strongly recommends you add this source of protein in your diet.

Sardines, Anchovies or Haddock Benefits:

You are sure to receive high amounts of protein with any of these three types of fish. A 1 ounce serving of sardines (around 2-3 small pieces) provides almost 7 grams of protein. This is actually comparable to a similar serving of beef steak but without the disadvantage of saturated fats. Tryptophan is one of the more abundant essential amino acids found in sardines.  The body needs this substance to synthesize serotonin, the neurotransmitter substance that regulates sleep and mood.

The same serving amount of anchovies contains a little more. It provides 8 grams of protein or 16% of your body’s daily need. Besides also having lots of tryptophan, anchovies are also an excellent supply of glutamic acid, a non-essential amino acid. The body uses this to create what are known as glutamates. This class of compounds is a neurotransmitter that plays a very crucial role in cognitive functions such as learning and memory.

Haddock gives a little less compared to sardines and anchovies, with only 5 grams of protein per ounce. But that’s still significantly 11% of the recommended daily intake. Lysine is one of the more abundant essential amino acids this fish provides. Some experts believe that taking adequate amounts of lysine may help prevent osteoporosis, because one of its more crucial roles is to aid in the absorption of calcium.

Sardines and anchovies are commonly canned or bottled. Haddock is also packaged as such but far less frequently. For most people then, it would likely be impractical to search for wet markets that sell these fish raw. The next best thing is to look for bottled products with only water or olive oil as the preserving liquid. The point is to avoid eating food that is contaminated with bisphenol A (BPA) which is present in all canned goods as it is one of the compounds used to make the inner resin lining of cans. You would also want to avoid the added sodium and other artificial preservatives that come with such products that use brine or tomato sauce.

Sardines, Anchovies or Haddock Practical Uses:

If you need to fix a quick nutritious meal that you can take to work or a training session, you won’t go wrong with some slices of bread made from whole wheat organic flour and sardines bottled in water or olive oil. Just like the canned variety, bottled sardines, anchovies or haddock are pre-cooked and ready to eat.

This also makes them an easy ingredient for salads as well as pasta sauces. For salads, just add and toss the fish along with the fresh vegetables and spices. Vinaigrette is probably one of the more compatible dressings you can use for such a salad dish. For pastas, you can ground the sardines or anchovies into the sauce while it’s simmering on the stove or add them afterwards whole.

Making your own bottled sardines or anchovies is not too difficult if you’re the do-it-yourself type. Of course you’re going to need to purchase the freshest available from the local fish market. You can have the staff there remove the head and viscera. Then you’ll also need to have some canning jars and a pressure canner. The basic procedure is:

  • Sanitize the canning jars.
  • Pack the fish into the canning jars.
  • Fill the packed jars with olive oil (some vinegar or a minimum amount of salt is also possible).
  • Be sure to leave about an inch of space from the lid.
  • Place the filled jars in the pressure canner and start cooking.
  • There are various settings depending on the canner. For example, 100 minutes at 11 PSI is what the USDA recommends for anchovies in a dial-pressure type of canner.

In the next post, I’ll tell you the benefits of wild salmon, trout, tilapia or flounder that will help you in your quest to Become Superhuman.

In the meantime, if you care to jump ahead, here is a complete listing of the protein sources on Superhuman Food Pyramid:


Free Range Eggs (With Yolk)

Grass-Fed Beef, Bison or Buffalo or Lamb

Pasture-Raised, Organic Pork

Sardines, Anchovies or Haddock in Water or Olive Oil

Wild Salmon, Trout, Tilapia or Flounder

Organic Whey/Casein Protein Powder

Organic Rice/Pea Protein Powder

Organic Hemp Protein Powder

• Organic Yogurt (Full-Fat)


Yogurt Cheese

Raw Cheese from Grass Fed Cows

Organic Cottage Cheese

Naturally preserved or dried meats

Miso, tempeh, tamari or natto

Egg protein powder

• Soaked or sprouted beans and legumes

• Raw seeds and nuts

Raw nut butter


Non-Organic Dairy Products

Processed Cheeses

Non-Organic, Commercially Processed Meat

Chemically Preserved or Dried Meats

Protein Powders with Artificial Sweeteners

Textured Vegetable Proteins

Soy Protein Powder


• Roasted Seeds and Nuts

Roasted Nut Butter

• Regular or Canned Beans and Legumes

If you have questions, comments or feedback about the benefits of sardines, anchovies or haddock, the Superhuman Food Pyramid, this website, or other aspects of Becoming Superhuman, then leave your thoughts below, as well as any tips you have on the benefits of sardines, anchovies or haddock.

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