Should you begin a pescatarian diet? What foods can I eat? What are the benefits of a pescatarian diet?
This healthy diet has many fantastic health benefits that may get you hooked, but if you're not sure what it is and where to start, we're eager to dive into it!
What is a Pescatarian?
A pescatarian, on the surface, may seem to share a lot in common with vegetarians. They both eat fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, whole grains, beans, eggs, and dairy while avoiding meat and poultry. What separates a pescatarian from a vegetarian is that they do eat fish as well as seafood. You might also hear pescatarian referred to as pesco-vegetarian.
Health Benefits of a Pescatarian Diet.
Eating fish, especially fatty fish, provides our bodies with increased long-chain omega-3 fatty acids. Fatty fish are an excellent source of omega-3, an unsaturated fat beneficial to many of us. Some omega-3s found in seafood are essential for healthy living. Eating more fish leads to lower blood pressure1, a lowered risk of abnormal heart rhythms, and fewer fatal heart attacks than those who do not include any fish in their diet.
As well as eating fish and seafood, pescatarian diets are loaded with fresh vegetables and fruits. In a 2017 study, people with a high diet in vegetables and other plants also show a reduced risk of coronary heart disease. The same study also said that a plant-based diet improved blood lipids and also lowered blood pressure.
Compared to an omnivore, a pescatarian diet has less saturated fats, cholesterol, and sodium. As a pescatarian consumes more fiber and heart-healthy polyunsaturated fats, they also tend to get more bone-building calcium in their diets than vegans, vegetarians or omnivores.
Can Lower Risk of Some Chronic Conditions
When following a pescatarian diet, you may also lower the risk of being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. One study estimates it can reduce risk by 24 to 49%.
May Lower Cancer
While there is no conclusive proof yet, scientists believe that there may be a link between cutting out red meat or strictly limiting it, lowering the chances of getting cancer.
Why Choose a Pescatarian Diet?
Many people that choose to go on a pescatarian diet do so for its health benefits. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends eating at least two fish meals a week to consume the large amounts of omega-3 fatty acids that promote healthy cardiovascular systems. Omega-3 is also an excellent anti-inflammatory, and many chronic inflammatory diseases can be linked to other severe conditions such as cancer, arthritis, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.
Another reason may be personal. Perhaps you decided to choose a pescatarian diet to help lower the planetary toll and unfair treatment of farmed animals. A person may feel that land animals raised for food sources use too many natural resources, adding to today's pollution.
What Do You Eat On a Pescatarian Diet?
The pescatarian diet allows for a bit of flexibility in comparison to strictly vegan or vegetarian. While you should avoid red meat, you can eat fish and seafood. Some of the most typical foods that you may choose to eat when starting this diet include:
- Beans and legumes
- Nuts and seeds
- Whole Grains (whole-grain pasta, bread, and brown rice count as well.)
Are Some Fish and Seafood Better Suited to a Pescatarian Diet?
The AHA recommends opting for fatty fish. Fatty fish includes:
- Alaskan salmon
- Rainbow Trout
- Striped Bass
- Wild Alaskan pollock
- Arctic char
Of course, these are only recommendations. The best choice for your pescatarian diet will be the fish and seafood you enjoy creating, and that has the flavor and texture that suits your preference. Fattier fish tend to be a bit oilier, and those oils can contribute to a more robust fish taste and smell, which may not be suitable for everyone's palette. Like tilapia and cod, whitefish is far milder in flavors and might be a better preference for those not a fan of overly fishy tastes.
Additionally, if at all possible, you should be choosing sustainably sourced fish whenever it is possible. By doing so, you can help maintain and preserve one of the planet's most efficient protein sources while ensuring over-fishing and extinction can be prevented.
What Should You Avoid on A Pescatarian Diet?
A pescatarian diet means that you will either be cutting out red meat entirely or severely limiting it. So the essential things which you should avoid are:
- Deli meats
Should People Take Supplements on a Pescatarian Diet?
As a pescatarian diet is very well-rounded, focusing on plant foods and the recommended amount of seafood intake, you should be getting adequate nutrition. However, like anything that can significantly change your health—including a diet—you should speak to your doctor beforehand about going on a Pescatarian diet. That way, if you have any concerns about eliminating red meat while on this diet, you can be referred to a registered dietitian to see if you need to be examed for any nutrient deficiencies or need additional nutrients to ensure your best health.
Should you try this diet?
If you don't have any allergies to seafood or fish? Absolutely! Especially if you enjoy creating dishes from and eating fish, shellfish, and lots of plant-based foods into your diet already. If so, the pescatarian this diet may be a perfect option for you.
Many of us may be under the misconception that trying to purchase foods to eat while on a pescatarian diet are too expensive. In reality, like any protein-based diet, it rounds out to be roughly the same price and can be as convenient and affordable. Fish and plant-based foods tend to cook faster, meaning you can have dinner on the table more quickly than you could with poultry, beef, or pork.
If you're ready to try the pescatarian diet and are looking for the largest selection of the freshest fish and seafood on the market today with delicious flavor and a stock of rarer choices? Then Wholey's is ready to help you! Shop our Fresh Seafood section today for crab, lobster, fresh fish, smoked fish, shellfish, squid, octopus, alligator meat, caviar, frog legs, turtle meat, seafood packages, and so much more! Let's help you get dinner on the table quickly and easier tonight.
- Dietary Oily Fish Intake and Blood Pressure Levels: A population-Based Study. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1111/jch.12684
- Cardio-Metabolic Benefits of Plant-Based Diets: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5579641/