Sardines: The Nutritional Powerhouse That May Keep You Young!

I was reading an article that caught my attention in a health newsletter by the name of “Alternatives” which is written by Dr. David G. Williams (June 2004, Volume 10, No. 12). Dr. Williams has devoted his life to searching the world for innovative and effective alternative health solutions for the last 20 years. In this article Dr. Williams talks about the many health benefits that can be obtained from eating sardines, with the most intriguing benefit being that it could help slow the aging process!
First let’s start with the fact that sardines are a source of two heart healthy nutrients. The first is CoQ10 (not mentioned in the article) which is not only good for the heart but also promote a healthy immune system, restores vitality, helps maintain healthy gums, and is a potent anti-oxidant. The second heart healthy nutrient is omega-3 oils which also benefit the circulatory system, have anti-inflammatory properties, hydrate the skin, and are also anti-oxidant.

Of particular importance to us bodybuilding and fitness fans is that these little fish are an excellent source of muscle building protein, have no carbohydrates, plus they are high in vitamin D which is necessary for bone growth, immune function, cellular metabolism, and energy production. Sardines are also a good source of calcium which is important for strong bones as well as a host of many body functions.

O.K., now for the good stuff. It seems that sardines are high in nucleotides which are the building blocks from which our bodies create RNA and DNA. DNA carries the genetic codes for making various proteins in the body and RNA helps the process to be carried out. RNA and DNA work as a tag team to help the body repair itself, form new tissue, maintain a strong immune system and perform many other life functions.

Dr. Williams says that dietary nucleotides won’t stop the aging process, but they certainly appear to slow it down and preserve health along the way. He says, “In practically every instance where I’ve seen or received descriptions of someone on a high-nucleotide diet, that person appears to be much younger than their age.”

Some other benefits of nucleotides are:

  • Helps neutralize toxins
  • Increases skin elasticity
  • Increases the body’s ability to heal and repair
  • Enhances the effects of antioxidants
  • Improves the response and efficiency of the immune system
  • Increase cellular metabolism and the production of cellular energy

All of the above benefits should be of great value to everyone, especially fitness and bodybuilding enthusiasts. Although sardines are one of the richest sources of nucleotides there are also other foods that have a high nucleotide content such as brewer’s yeast, anchovies, mackerel, lentils, beans, animal liver, oysters, the green algae chorella, and the blue-green algae spirulina.

Mercury Isn’t a Problem

Sardines have a better chance of being lower in mercury than larger ocean dwelling fish due to their small size and diet. Large fish absorb the mercury and other contaminents of each fish they eat and they live longer allowing more time to accumulate these toxins. Sardines eat mostly krill and plankton, so their chances of obtaining high levels of mercury are very low.

What’s a “True” Sardine?

About 40 years ago a law was passed that allowed manufacturers to market any small, soft-boned fish as a “sardine” in the United States. So the majority of sardines sold in the average U.S. supermarket aren’t really sardines at all. Fish caught in Maine or Canada could be herring and fish from Norway are usually brislings or sprats. While thes fish are still nutritious and good for you, true sardines come from Moroccan, Portugese or Mediterranean waters. Dr. Williams recommends a brand called BELA-Olhão distributed by Blue Galleon from Portugal which are true sardines from extremely clean waters. They taste delicious and don’t have the fishy smell and taste of common sardines. BELA-Olhão cans their sardines fresh within eight hours of the catch and this practice eliminates the fishy smell and captures the delicate flavors. It is common in the industry to freeze sardines before canning, but this is the main reason sardines smell fishy. Blue Galleon BELA-Olhão tests every catch for contaminents and they have full certification with the European Common Market.

BELA-Olhão sardines are not sold in every supermarket but I was able to find them at Trader Joe’s and Mrs. Green’s Natural Food Stores. Trader Joe’s had the lowest price of $1.39 per tin. Dr. Williams has also made arrangements with Mountain Home Solutions who have contracted the manufacturer directly to get them for you just in case you have problems finding them in your area. Call 1-800-211-6532 and ask for service code 67422S.

How Much Should I Eat?

Dr. Williams recommends eating at least two tins of sardines per week. He says if you want to slow the aging process and reap all the other benefits of a high nucleotide diet, sardines are hard to beat and are one of the healthiest foods that he knows of. One caution must be mentioned. Any excess nucleotides that are not converted to RNA or DNA or utilied for energy production are broken down into uric acid. Uric acid can trigger gout symptoms and has been associated with kidney stones. If you have a history of gout it is recommended to increase your water intake and have uric acid levels monitored if you wish to increase nucleotides in your diet.