Eat Fish to Keep Your Heart Healthy


When I was growing up, my mother told me that fish was good for your brain. I don't know where she heard that, but it stuck with me.  Until we moved to Alaska, where we ate the salmon, halibut and Dolly Varden trout that we caught, my fish diet was limited to Fish Sticks on Friday and my favorite choice at McDonalds, the Filet-o-Fish sandwich.  Seriously, I wasn't a big fan of the onions on their burgers, and my family never wanted to wait for them to make my cheeseburger without onions, so I went for the Fish. Now, why my family were so impatient is the subject of another blog.

Anyway, getting back to the topic of fish, A recent study of close to 50,000 women followed for 12 years found that the women who ate 2 servings of fish that were high in Omega-3 fatty acids each week were much less likely to develop heart disease. They compared these women to those who only had fish once/week and those who never had fish. Guess what? Eating more fish like Salmon, halibut, cod and mackerel is very beneficial for preventing heart disease.  The native tribes in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska were on to something. Their diet is almost completely devoid of fruits and vegetables and yet their risk of coronary artery heart disease is astonishingly low. There are probably genetic factors at work here too, but with diets high in salmon, halibut, crab and yes, even seal, their arteries were as clean and clear as whistle. 

My advice is to take a trip to Alaska and go fishing!  Whatever you can't eat while there, ship home. My favorite are the Copper River Red Salmon, they're beautiful when you can spot them in glacial fed streams and rivers swimming upstream to spawn. They're also delicious and good for you. If you can't get up to Alaska this summer for the Silvers, Kings, Reds and other varieties, look in for Wild Alaskan salmon in your grocery store. Remember, twice a week is best.  This is what I advise my patients:

  • Prepare enough fish for dinner one night and lunch another day
  • If you don't like fish, do pick up some Omega-3 Fish oil supplements. I recommend the ones that are coated so that there's less after taste
  • For vegetarians, flaxseed is another good source of Omega-3 fatty acids, and
  • There are vegetable based Omega-3 supplements.


If you do get up to Alaska, drop me a line (pun intended) and let me know what your favorite place was.

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