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#EatWellLiveWell: How Halibut Can Help Your Heart

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February is Heart Month and to honor it we are taking a look at the heart-healthy benefits of incorporating halibut into your diet. Studies show the majority of first-time heart attacks can be prevented by lifestyle changes, one of the most important is eating healthy. Not only can halibut help maintain a healthy heart but it can also benefit people suffering from heart disease. National Heart Month is a great time to find a way to incorporate more fish like halibut into your diet.

Recipe: Pan-Seared Halibut with Spiced Carrot & Zucchini Quinoa

Servings: 4


  • 2 lbs raw halibut steaks

  • 1 teaspoon sea salt divided

  • ½ cup olive oil, divided

  • 2 carrots diced small

  • 4 cups water, boiling

  • 2 zucchini squash, diced small

  • 2 cups quinoa

  • 1 tablespoon paprika, sweet Hungarian

  • 2 tablespoons dried currants

  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • ½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Spiced Carrot and Zucchini Quinoa Directions:

  1. Rinse quinoa in at least 5 changes of cold water and drain.

  2. Combine quinoa, currants, ½ tsp salt in a large pan with water. Bring to a boil.

  3. Reduce heat to cover and simmer until water is absorbed and quinoa is tender, about 20 minutes.

  4. Heat half of the oil in skillet. Add carrots; sauté until tender, about 5 minutes.

  5. Add the zucchini and sauté for 3 more minutes.

  6. Mix in paprika and cinnamon to skillet. Combine with cooked quinoa and chopped cilantro. Season to taste.

Nutrition Information per one serving of Spiced Carrot and Zucchini Quinoa:

  140 calories  8 g fat,  3 g protein,  16 g carbohydrates, 0 cholesterol,  212 mg sodium,  2g fiber

Seared Halibut Directions:

  1. Brush halibut steaks with remaining oil on both sides; season with remaining sea salt.

  2. Heat skillet over high heat. Spray skillet with nonstick spray and place seasoned halibut steaks on one at a time. Cook for 3-4 minutes without turning. When the fish is browned on one side, turn and cook 4 minutes more or until fish flakes with a fork.

  3. Set fish on a large platter and cover with foil, to keep warm.

Nutrition Information per one serving of Halibut:

185 calories, 9 g fat, 23 g protein, 0 carbohydrates, 36 mg cholesterol, 61 mg sodium, 0 fiber


Place spiced quinoa in the center of a serving plate and top with seared halibut and garnish with more chopped cilantro.

Halibut Heart Benefits from Halibut


Omega-3 fatty acids are found in many seafood sources and is derived from phytoplankton, a source of food for many aquatic creatures. The more an aquatic species feeds on phytoplankton, the more omega-3 people gain from eating the fish. Halibut contains 200-500 milligrams of omega-3 per 3 oz cooked. It is often suggested to eat 2-3 servings of healthy fish options per week in order to supplement the body with omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 is a substance that prevents irregular heartbeats and decreases the plaque build-up in our arteries, as well as balancing good and bad cholesterol. This reduces one's risk of heart attack and stroke.


Higher levels of magnesium in the body are directly correlated to lowering the risk of heart disease. This mineral in the body helps prevent arterial damage and increases blood flow and nutrient distribution. It is not only essential to heart health but may also help in reducing hypertension and preventing diabetes.

Folic Acid and Vitamins B6 and B12:

Halibut is an extremely nutrient-rich, heart-healthy food choice. Apart from the great omega-3 benefits it provides, halibut is a great source of folic acid, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12. These three vitamins, combined, may lessen the risk of atherosclerosis, otherwise known as the hardening of arterial walls, as well as lowering one's blood pressure.

Benefits of Regular Consumption of Fish

Overall, a weekly intake of fish such as halibut provides a significant reduction in coronary heart disease. When eaten baked or broiled, it is likely to reduce atrial fibrillation, one the more common heart arrhythmias in elders. Your risk of hypertension, bad cholesterol levels, heart disease, stroke, and clogged arteries are all reduced. These heart health benefits and many more are attributed to the regular eating of fish such as halibut.

Storing and Cooking Halibut


It is easiest to purchase raw fish and cook it the same day. That said, if you are one for planning ahead, here are ways to keep your halibut fresh for when you are ready to prepare your heart-healthy recipe.

This heart-healthy fish option can be stored in the fridge safely for up to 2 days. Cover the fish with foil or plastic wrap and keep in the coldest part of your refrigerator. After cooking, seafood can be stored in the fridge for 3 to 4 days.

If you are planning to cook your halibut recipe more than 2 days out, it is best to freeze the fish. Wrap it tightly in plastic, foil, or moisture proof paper and store it in the freezer. Frozen raw fish is best when used within 3 to 8 months.


The most beneficial way to cook halibut is to bake, broil or grill the fish. All of these options do not add any excess fat through cooking oils, maintaining the halibut's natural, heart-healthy fatty acids. It is essential to cook your halibut fully to eliminate food-related illness. The best way to ensure your halibut is cooked through is to check the internal temperature of the fish with a cooking thermometer. The minimum temperature should be 145 degrees when measured in the thickest area of the fish.

#EatWellLiveWell with UnityPoint Clinic

UnityPoint Clinic is honoring National Heart Month 2015 by not only researching heart-healthy food choices, but also supplying our readers with a halibut recipe. Cook it and have fun eating well for your heart this month!

Sign up for our free LiveWell with UnityPoint Health email updates today to get more recipe ideas and health-related articles!