A diet consisting mainly of plant foods has a number of health benefits that can be enhanced by eating fish and fish products. Research has shown that eating less meat can contribute to a longer life. In this article, we’ll look at what exactly a pescetarian diet is and what benefits it has for your health.
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What is meant by the term “pescetarian diet”?
The term “pescetarianism” was coined in the early 1990s and is a combination of the Italian word for fish, “pesce,” and the word “vegetarian.”
A pescetarian diet is one that is free of red and white meat and includes fish and seafood, as well as plenty of fruits and vegetables. There are many reasons why people give up meat and poultry but continue to eat fish. Some people choose to add marine products to their vegetarian diet to combine the health benefits of a plant-based diet with the heart-healthy fish. For some, it may simply be a matter of taste.
It is a largely plant-based diet with whole grains, nuts, legumes, vegetables and healthy fats, with seafood and fish playing an important role as the main source of protein. Many pescetarians also eat dairy products and eggs. Choosing pescetarianism is a flexible option because it allows you to change vegetarianism. It adds the lean protein and omega-3 fatty acids of seafood and fish to the health benefits of vegetables, fruits and whole grains. Balanced pescetarianism is full of nutrient-dense, fiber-rich foods and can be classified as a semi-vegetarian diet, meaning that plant-based foods are prominent, but animal products are sometimes included in the form of seafood and fish.
This type of diet is often compared to the Mediterranean diet, as fish is an important source of protein in both diets. Both emphasize nutrient-dense ingredients, such as lean protein and vegetables.
Pescetarian diet: health benefits
There are many health benefits to adding fish to a vegetarian diet. Incorporating seafood, including fish, crustaceans and mollusks, into a vegetarianism can provide beneficial nutrients and variety. Shellfish, for example, are very rich in vitamin B12 and selenium, as well as manganese and the other B vitamins. White fish such as cod and flounder, for example, do not provide much omega-3 fatty acids but are a source of extremely lean protein . Cod is also an excellent source of selenium and a good source of phosphorus, niacin and vitamins B6 and B12.
Improves heart health
Eating fish, especially fatty fish, leads to an increased intake of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids. They are an unsaturated fat that can be beneficial to people, and are essential for a healthy life. People who eat fish have lower blood pressure, lower risk of cardiac arrhythmias, and fewer fatal heart attacks than people who do not have fish in their diet.
Aside from fish, the pescetarian diet consists mainly of plant foods. People who eat plenty of vegetables and other plant foods have a lower risk of coronary heart disease and lower blood pressure.
May prevent cancer
Pescetarianism may also protect against colorectal cancer, which is cancer that affects the colon and rectum.
Protects against diabetes and prevents inflammation
A plant-based diet may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome includes conditions such as insulin resistance, high blood pressure and obesity.
There is also evidence that the omega-3 fatty acids found in fatty fish can prevent inflammation.
Healthy skin and hair thanks to omega-3
The benefits of omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil for skin health have already been observed. Fish also contains rich amounts of vitamin A, which plays a crucial role in skin health – various skin problems such as dry skin or even inflammation can be reduced.
Omega-3 fatty acids can not only protect skin cells, but also strengthen hair and hair roots. They can also slow down hair loss and improve hair density.
Pescetarian diet – environmental aspects
Livestock farming has a high environmental cost. According to the United Nations, livestock contributes to 15% of all man-made carbon emissions. Fish and seafood production, on the other hand, has a smaller carbon footprint than animal meat or cheese production.
What can pescetarians eat?
There are no restrictions on the fruits and vegetables that can be included in this diet plan. Eat the rainbow and take plenty of fruits and vegetables to get all the health benefits: dark leafy vegetables , bright red, yellow and orange peppers, eggplant, corn, blueberries, kiwi and other fruits and vegetables you can eat every day.
We’ll give you some advice on what to buy if you’re a pescetarian:
- Dark leafy vegetables (spinach, kale).
- Vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts)
- Fresh and frozen fruits (grapefruit, oranges, berries, bananas, apples)
- Healthy fat sources (avocados, walnuts, almonds, chia seeds, olive oil)
- Whole grains (100% whole wheat bread, brown rice pasta, quinoa)
- Vegetable protein and legumes (tofu, soybeans, black beans, lentils, chickpeas)
- Canned or packaged fish (tuna, sardines, anchovies, salmon, herring)
- Fresh or frozen fish (halibut, cod, salmon, snapper, sea bass)
- Dairy products (cheese, yogurt, milk)
Some people who choose not to eat meat find pescetarianism easier than a pure vegetarian diet because they get enough protein every day by eating seafood and fish. By replacing meat meals with fish meals, you are likely to cut calories and fat from your diet and achieve and maintain a healthy weight.