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.
What is a Pescatarian Diet?
A pescatarian diet is a plant-based diet that includes fish and other seafood as the primary source of animal protein. It is a balanced diet that combines the benefits of vegetarianism with the inclusion of nutrient-rich seafood. The diet emphasizes whole foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, and healthy fats, while avoiding processed foods and red meat.
The Health & Nutritional Benefits of Pescatarianism
In addition to adding protein to a purely vegetarian diet, pescatarianism has some pretty remarkable health benefits such as:
Lowered Risk of Heart Disease
Fish has always been known as a heart healthy food.
Pescatarian diets are associated with a reduced risk of heart disease, mainly due to the high consumption of omega-3 fatty acids found in fish, which are known to lower inflammation and promote heart health. According to the American Heart Association, consuming at least two servings of fish per week can help reduce the risk of heart disease.
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
Following a pescatarian diet may also help lower the risk of chronic conditions such as type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer. A study published in JAMA Internal Medicine found that pescatarians had a significantly lower risk of developing colorectal cancers compared to non-vegetarians.
Weight Control and Lowering BMI
A pescatarian diet can be beneficial for weight control and lowering body mass index (BMI). The diet is rich in high-quality protein from fish, which can help with weight loss by increasing satiety and maintaining muscle mass. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that pescatarians had a lower BMI compared to non-vegetarians.
Pescatarians generally consume a diet rich in essential nutrients, such as omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, vitamin B12, iron, and zinc, which are found in fish and seafood. This combination of nutrients can support brain health, immunity, and overall well-being.
A pescatarian diet can help with appetite control, as the combination of high-quality protein and healthy fats found in fish can help you feel fuller for longer periods of time. This, in turn, may reduce the likelihood of overeating and help with weight management.
Foods Allowed to Eat During a Pescatarian Diet
In a pescatarian diet, one can consume a variety of fish and seafood, such as salmon, tuna, shrimp, and mussels, in addition to plant-based foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds. Healthy fats like olive oil, avocado, and flaxseed are also encouraged.