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Cook with Alaskan Halibut!
Firm and flaky Alaskan halibut is an essential addition to a healthy diet

With its fresh, delicate taste and firm white meat, it seems fitting that many halibut are the product of crisp, cool Alaskan waters. It’s no wonder that the large, slightly odd-looking fish is hugely popular, given its diverse culinary value and amazing health benefits.

The Gulf of Alaska is home to the highest concentration of halibut in the Pacific ocean. In fact, about 80% of Pacific halibut caught in North America are caught in Alaska. The halibut population in the area around Kodiak Island is especially abundant. The largest of all flatfish, halibut can grow up to eight feet long. Their challenging size and great taste make halibut one of the most popular game fish in Alaska.

Halibut make a great catch and a great meal, but they’re even more interesting when still under water. Since halibut swim sideways, flattening so that one side faces up and one side faces down, they’re development is unique. Like many fish, halibut are born with one eye on each side of the head. At birth, they have a grayish-brown top and white underbelly. One eye, however, gradually moves until both eyes are on the same side, which darkens to a grayish-brown to match the top of the fish. This side will face upward as the fish swims, while the bottom-facing side remains white. This effectively camouflages the halibut from both above and below, allowing it to blend with the sky and the ocean floor.   

Arguably even more interesting are the incredible health benefits of halibut. Very low fat and low-calorie, halibut also contains nutrients, vitamins and minerals that promote whole-body health, including:
  • Omega-3 fatty acids
The omega-3 fatty acids in halibut are essential to health but must be obtained through food or supplements. These fatty acids aid in neurological and cognitive function and development, and according to the University of Maryland Medical Center, “…infants who do not get enough omega-3 fatty acids from their mothers during pregnancy are at risk for developing vision and nerve problems.” Omega-3s also reduce inflammation, which can reduce risk of cancer, arthritis and heart disease. Less inflammation also means less pain and swelling due to injury or intense exercise. The American Heart Association suggests adding fish to your diet at least twice weekly to give yourself an Omega-3 boost.
  • Vitamin B12
B12 regulates levels of the amino acid homocysteine in the bloodstream. High levels of homocysteine are associated with heart disease, so lower levels mean a healthier heart. B12 also regulates the nervous system and can help with stress and depression. By aiding in the body’s conversion of carbohydrates to glucose, B12 lowers fatigue and increases energy. This wonder vitamin also promotes reproduction of hair and skin cells and may even have a preventative effect regarding certain types of cancer. According to the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University, “a case-control study in Mexican women (475 cases and 1,391 controls) reported that breast cancer risk for women in the highest quartile (1/4) of vitamin B12 intake was 68% lower than those in the lowest quartile.”
  • Vitamin B6
Like B12, B6 also lowers fatigue, regulates homocysteine levels and aids in neurological and cognitive function. B6 aids in the production of neurotransmitters, which send signals between nerve cells, including norepinephrin, serotonin and melatonin. These promote healthy mood and sleep patterns. Vitamin B6 also promotes the production of immune system cells and red blood cells.
  • Niacin
Niacin reduces the risk of atherosclerosis and regulates healthy blood pressure levels, lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol and raising HDL (good) cholesterol.
  • Magnesium
Magnesium regulates blood pressure and may lower risk of heart disease and stroke.

With its amazing taste and even more amazing health benefits, Alaskan halibut is a great addition to a regular diet. Check out our Recipes section for a great Alaskan halibut recipe with a fresh Pacific Coast twist.

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