One food that I make sure is in my diet every week is sardines. These smelly little fish are powerhouses of nutrients, and have become known as a “superfood” by most health professionals.
Sardines are fattier than a lean chicken breast, and may cause you to rearrange your macros a little bit, but the healthy fats, like omega-3 fatty acids, are worth it. Omega-3 fatty acids are sorely lacking in the Standard American Diet, and are usually inferior to the popular omega-6 fatty acids, found in foods like vegetable oils, olive oils, and nuts.
Overconsumption of omega-6 fats can lead to inflammation, since omega-6 fats are pro-inflammatory. Omega-3 fats are an inflammation neutralizer, and so by getting a 1:1 ratio of the fats, inflammation is reduced.
Sardines are also full of calcium, which is important for muscle growth on the gainz train. The stronger and more durable the muscles, the heavier the weights. Oohhh yeaahhh.
Canned fish can always be questionable, but sardines have been found to contain the lowest amounts of mercury. It is also easy to find wild caught sardines, which is the most optimal choice, since they most likely won’t be filled with processed feed or growth chemicals.
When I first started eating sardines, I had to do a lot to cover up the smell. Nowadays, I can sit down with a tin and a spoon. But everything has an adjustment period.
Smoked sardines have less of a smell, and are not as fishy-tasting, if you can find that option. Look for sardines packed in spring water or olive oil, because other oils can go rancid over time of the shelves. Also, make sure to read the labels, as with anything, to make sure the ingredients are only the fish, packing liquid, and maybe salt.
One of my tricks to eating sardines in the beginning is to cover them in marinara/pasta sauce, over a bed of zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash. Enough garlic and basil can mask any fishy taste and smell.
Another trick is to mash the sardines up with an avocado or some guacamole, and eat it with plantain chips. You can fill in any tuna or chicken salad with sardines, and all of the different flavors can help mask the sardines.
They don’t have to be consumed every day for reap benefit; I usually aim for two tins of sardines a week. Everyone is different, though, and you have to find what is most sustainable for you. If that means starting off with one tin a month, then commit to that one tin a month.