What Are the Health Benefits of Haddock?

Medically Reviewed by Kathleen M. Zelman, RD, LD, MPH on May 23, 2022
4 min read

You probably consume several types of fish without knowing about their health benefits. Here’s another fish you should try: The haddock is packed with minerals, omega-3 fatty acids, and B vitamins, but also low levels of mercury. 

Haddock is a popular fish eaten in many places in the Northern Atlantic ocean. Their scientific name is Melanogrammus aeglefinus, derived from the Greek melanogrammus, or "black line." This oceanic fish is a member of the cod family

Haddock and cod may appear similar, but you can spot the differences by looking at the following distinguishing features:

  • Size: Haddock is much smaller than cod. Cod is fatter and rounder than haddock.
  • Lateral lines: On both fish, you can spot some form of lateral line that can either be more or less developed. For the haddock fish, the lateral line is distinctively black. There is a pectoral fin between the lateral fine that also has an oval black blotch. On the other hand, cod has a white or cream lateral line. 
  • Dorsal fins: Haddock has a long pointed front dorsal fin, while a cod’s fin is round.
  • Body color: A haddock’s body is dark grey to nearly black, unlike a cod, whose color is a peckled gray-brown. 

Haddock is found near the seafloor where it can feed on fish food like shrimp, invertebrates, and small fish. Younger fish feed on smaller prey like fish larvae, copepods, and plankton. The older haddock’s prey can be sand eels, worms, sea urchins, and capelins. As a deep-sea fish, haddock thrives in water depths between 50 and 300 meters at a temperature above 2 degrees Celsius.  

Bait is used to capture haddock. To catch one, you place the bait where the haddock likes spending its time: for instance, around obstacles like rocks and wrecks. Once you find out the haddock eats, you can use the same prey as bait.

Haddock has a powerful flavor, and its flesh has a little more texture than other fish. The fish is rich in nutrients and with several beneficial properties as mentioned below: 

Haddock and omega-3 fatty acids

Haddock contains fat, primarily omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s are popular because they support heart health. You can improve the condition of your heart by consuming food that is rich in omega-3s, like haddock fish. Besides, omega-3 elements help the human brain to function normally and are beneficial for skin health, particularly when it comes to preventing dermatitis. 

You can consume three ounces of cooked haddock. Think about the size of the palm of your hand to visualize a three ounce portion. This amount of haddock contains 77 calories. This amount of calories is very low, thus making it a poor choice for protein. However, having such an amount is better for you than having no protein at all. Your body requires enough protein for muscle and tissue buildup. 

Minerals in haddock

Minerals are essential nutrients for your body. A haddock meal contains phosphorous and selenium. Phosphorous can support healthy bones and teeth. Selenium helps combat free radicals that can destroy your cells, leading to chronic illnesses. 

Smoked haddock provides 66% of your daily selenium needs and 17% percent of the phosphorous you need. Although salting is involved in smoking, avoid adding too much salt. Excess sodium strains the kidney’s functions and, in turn, increases the risk of hypertension, heart attack, and stroke.  

Vitamins in haddock

Vitamins perform hundreds of roles in the body that you need to be aware of. They support the development of bones, heal wounds, and strengthen our immune system. Haddock is rich in several B vitamins such as niacin, B3, B6, and B12. Niacin converts food into energy that your body uses as fuel. B3 improves the nervous and digestive systems. Vitamin B6 and B12 help in the formation of red blood cells, nerve health, and cognition.

Low mercury levels in haddock

Mercury is a heavy metal that usually accumulates in water. Almost all fish carry traces of mercury. Ingesting fish containing impurities and heavy metals, though, poses a risk to neurological, digestive, and immune systems. Children's nervous systems keep developing and therefore pose a high risk for mercury poisoning. Mercury poisoning is most likely to occur when eating larger fish like sharks, tilefish, and swordfish. Consuming haddock is beneficial as it contains low mercury levels. This places the smaller haddock among the safer options. 

Now that you are informed about the healthy benefits of haddock, it is as good to know how to prepare haddock. Haddock is a versatile fish and can be prepared in numerous ways.

Haddock is a sea fish mostly found in the North Atlantic ocean. Most people consume it as seafood since it is tasty and has nutritional value. Haddock's health benefits include its composition of minerals, B vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids, and low levels of mercury. You can prepare haddock in numerous ways and use it in many dishes.