Do Your Heart a Favor

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Read this article in ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi

Native Hawaiians traditionally observed spawning cycles when catching fish. This was to allow replenishment of fish stock, ensuring a bountiful supply every year. Different fish were eaten in season, as the spawning cycle of each fish varies. The end of Makahiki in February marked the kapu on ʻōpelu through July, while the kapu on aku was lifted until mid-summer.

Fish is a great source of B-vitamins, iodine, and selenium.

Selenium is a powerful antioxidant that can boost your immune system and regulate your thyroid. Fish is also high in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids may help relieve rheumatoid arthritis, lower triglyceride levels, and prevent or slow macular degeneration. Omega-3 fatty acids from eating fish lowers the chances of getting heart disease.

Taking omega-3 supplements does not produce these same benefits. The reason is because when eating fish, you get a variety of other nutrients, which, combined together, provide greater health benefits than supplements alone. Additionally, testing of fish oil supplements has shown that some brands actually contain less fish oil than is listed on the bottle, while others are actually spoiled.

The American Heart Association recommends eating two servings of fish a week (3-4 ounces per serving) to lower high blood pressure. This amounts to 3 grams or 300 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acids per serving. Lowering high blood pressure will reduce your risk for heart disease. A 4-ounce serving of fresh aku contains 300 milligrams, yellow-fin ʻahi about 350 milligrams, ʻulaʻula koaʻe (onaga) around 875 milligrams, and ʻōpelu and akule over 1,000 milligrams!

Make the healthy choice and choose fish whenever possible.