Do you love fish like we love fish? The flaky crust. The warm savory taste of the sea. If so, you may want to consider going “all in” on a pescatarian diet. 

You’ve heard of vegetarianism and veganism, but have you ever considered pescatarianism as a diet choice to improve your health? Today, we are taking a closer look at the pescatarian diet and how it may have some health benefits for you and your family. 

Grilled Salmon Kabobs

What is a Pescatarian Diet? 

The term pescatarian was coined in the early 1990s when many people were looking for a healthy alternative to vegetarianism. 

The word pescatarian comes from the combination of the two words: “pesce,” which is the Italian word for fish, and vegetarian, indicating a plant-based diet. Put them together and it becomes pescetarianism or occasionally written “pesco-vegetarian.” 

Most dietitians and nutritionists categorize a pescatarian diet as a combination of practicing vegetarianism where a plant-based diet is followed without eating poultry or meat, and the addition of fish for protein.

heart healthy apple

The Benefits of Pescetarianism 

In addition to adding protein to a purely vegetarian diet, pescetarianism has some pretty remarkable health benefits. 

Lowered Risk of Heart Disease

Fish has always been known as a heart healthy food. 

According to Medical News Today, “People who eat fish have lower blood pressure, a lower risk of abnormal heart rhythms, and fewer fatal heart attacks than those who do not include fish in their diet.”

The omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) found in fish are known to control inflammation within the body and promote heart health. “Studies show that daily consumption of EPA and DHA may help reduce heart disease risk and deaths from heart disease, sometimes just as effectively as prescription medications like statins,” according to Health Fitness Revolution online. 

The combination of nutrients found in seafood also helps regulate heartbeats according to the same study.

Lowered Risk of Chronic Conditions

Some studies show that Type 2 Diabetes, an impairment in the way the body regulates and uses sugar (glucose) as a fuel, can be regulated better by eating more fish. “One study found that following a pescetarian diet lowered the risk of Type 2 Diabetes by 24 to 49%,” according to Eating Well online. 

Weight Control and Lowering BMI 

Compared to those who include meat as a main part of their diet, pescetarians consume less saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium. Additionally, they tend to be able to lower their BMI and control weight gain because of the increased vitamins and minerals found more readily in the pescatarian diet.

Better Nutrition 

Pescetarian diets are typically higher in nutritional quality than non-vegetarian diets that contain meat. Pescetarians usually eat a very healthy amount of fruits and veggies along with consuming foods that are lower in unhealthy fats and sodium. All-in-all, this translates into a diet that is more nutritionally sound than their omnivor counterparts. 

For more information about  the pescetarian diet check out Healthline and our article on Pescetarianism and Cognitive Function