If you’re a vegetarian shifting to a pescatarian diet, the only difference is the addition of fish and seafood to your eating style.
If you’re a newbie, welcome to the healthy world. Pescatarian came from the Italian word “pesce” meaning fish, and it’s a diet that is plant-based and fish-centric. Because the absence of land animal meat does not mean the food is healthy, it’s important to make balanced choices.
If your intention is losing weight, practice portion control and combine this with exercise. A patient can gain from the therapeutic benefits of the pescatarian diet, but consult your doctor before you start.
What Is a Pescatarian?
Except for fish and seafood in a pescatarian diet, pescatarians and vegetarians have many things in common in their eating style. Both dieters avoid land animal meat and poultry, they eat fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, whole grains, beans, eggs, and dairy.
Why Do People Choose a Pescatarian Diet?
Pescatarians gain nutrients and proteins from eating a lot of vegetables, fruits, fish, or seafood. They shun land animal meat, a source of saturated fat linked to poor health conditions. The food intake of pescatarians keeps the mind and body healthy, lowering the risk of heart disorders, Alzheimer’s disease, and diabetes among others.
Pescatarians believe that a diet of land animal meat is bad for the environment. Land animals raised for food consume many natural resources and contribute to pollution.
A pound of beef requires 250 gallons of water compared to 250 gallons for a pound of soy and 25 gallons for a pound of wheat. Grains and corn fed to livestock in the U.S. can feed 60 million hungry people.
Pescatarians are vegetarians but eat fish and seafood. They enjoy the same health and nutrition benefits as vegetarians do with fish and seafood as a major protein source.
The omega-3 fatty acids in fish lowers the risks of heart disease and high blood pressure.
Omega-3 acids from salmon and mackerel reduce plaque in arteries and cut the odds of developing an unstable heartbeat. It reduces the triglyceride level in your blood, decreasing the chances of a heart disease. The healthy fats have a beneficial impact on blood pressure, another bonus for heart health.
Without land animal meat in your diet, heart disease and high blood pressure are unlikely.
Lower risk of diabetes
The results of a research show that chances of developing type 2 diabetes in non-vegetarians is 7.6% compared to pescatarians at 4.8%.
Help manage inflammation
Inflammation is the root cause of many chronic disorders like osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and even cancer. An anti-inflammatory diet of plant-based food and omega-3 fatty acids keeps certain diseases at bay by setting blood sugar levels and speeding up metabolism.
What Do Pescatarians Eat?
Fish and seafood are staples in a pescatarian diet, here are some suggestions:
- canned sardines
- canned salmon
- canned tuna
- fish sticks
- frozen salmon, trout, and herring
- frozen shrimp
- fresh fish, such as salmon, pollock, catfish, and sardines from the local fish market
- fresh shellfish, such as shrimp, clams, and scallops
However, you should not eat these seven types of fish due to top levels of mercury that are not safe for human consumption.
- King mackerel
- Orange Roughy
- Tilefish (from the Gulf of Mexico)
- Tuna (Bigeye, Ahi)
Other foods to consider are:
- cereals and whole grains, including oats, bulgar wheat, amaranth, corn, and rice
- food containing grain products
- pseudo grains, such as quinoa and buckwheat, which are gluten-free
- legumes, including kidney beans, pinto beans, and peas
- legume products, including tofu and hummus
- nuts and nut butters
- seeds, such as flaxseeds, hemp seeds, and chia
Pescatarians avoid beef, poultry, lamb, pork, and game such as venison, as well as any land animal by-product like egg, milk, yoghurt, and cheese.
Benefits of Adding Fish to a Vegetarian Diet
One of the key factors that pull people to the pescetarian diet is omega-3 fatty acid found in fish. There is a long chain of clinical studies that show ingesting fish and omega-3 have many health benefits.
Fish derived omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA promote proper fetal development and optimal brain and heart health throughout your life. Studies indicate that people who consume omega-3 can reduce inflammation and anxiety symptoms.
Fish and seafood are high in protein and produce selenium, zinc, and B-complex vitamins which are essential to the immune and nervous system. Selenium is a strong antioxidant that protects cell damage; zinc promotes cell growth; and B-complex vitamins are linked with a healthy nervous system.