Pescatarian comes from the Italian term, “Pesce” meaning fish. This term combines with the vegetarian, thus pescatarian. It is also written as pescetarian but still has the same meaning. Technically, pescatarian is usually defined as “pesco-vegetarian,” and classified under vegetarianism. Today we will be discussing the Pescatarian Diet, hope you enjoy this post!
In short, pescatarian refers to a vegetarian who includes fish and other seafood in their vegetarian meals, excluding meat.
Components of Pescatarian Diet
Fish and Seafood
Pescatarians avoid eating any animal-based foods such as pork, beef, chicken, and other kinds of poultry. They include seafood and fishes like tuna, sardines, salmon, whitefish, trout, fish roe, caviar, and even fish eggs into their vegetarian diet. They also eat shellfish such as prawns or shrimps, crabs, lobster, crawfish, clams, oysters, scallops, mussels, octopus, and squid. These ingredients can be prepared and cooked in any way that you want as long as it does not include any animal meats.
Vegetables and Fruits
Vegetables and fruits are the main ingredients for pescatarians, just like vegans and vegetarians. Their diet is primarily plant-based such as whole grains, legumes, seeds and nuts, and plant-based proteins like tempeh and soy.
Try this pescatarian fruit salad recipe.
Eggs and Dairy Products
Some of the pescatarians also include eggs in their diet, just like any other vegetarians. Such is a personal choice basing on their views and values about dairy products. So when preparing a pescatarian meal for a pescatarian, it is advisable to ask.
Some snack foods do not do not contain animal products like cakes, ice creams, cookies, and potato chips. Pescatarians need to watch their intake of saturated fats even though they avoid animal-based foods.
Try this simple recipe for pescatarian snacks.
Benefits of Pescatarian Diet
#Gives us Omega-3 Fatty acids
Most of the people around the world overeat of Omega-6 taken from vegetable and seed oils, farm-raised animal products, and some plant foods. The Omega-3 fatty acids neutralize Omega-6 that free our body from risks of inflammation due to imbalanced ratio. These fatty acids are known to be anti-inflammatory, while Omega-6 are proinflammatory. We need to have both, but generally, people are deficient in Omega-3.
Having Omega-3 in our body may help improve our mental function and heart condition, reduce triglyceride levels, alleviate fertility and reproductive health, and decrease risks of diabetes condition.
#Promotes Healthy Heart
DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (Eicosapentaenoic acid) from fish and seafood are vital to heart health condition because they regulate inflammation. The systemic inflammation refers to the immune response of the body that escalates the development of white blood cells and other compounds to combat infections and other health threats. Thus, heart disease may be caused by inflammation from fatty materials that accumulate within the walls of arteries.
Taking at least 200 mg to 500 mg a day of EPA and DHA helps lower risks of heart problems and deaths from these heart illnesses. Adding fish and seafood into the vegetarian diet is believed to control heartbeats, lower blood clot accumulation, reduce triglycerides, lower levels of cholesterol and blood pressure, and reduce risks of stroke and heart attacks.
Omega-3 from fish and other seafood is essential because of its ability to combat inflammation. Some studies claim that inflammation causes diseases, thus, reducing the level may lower risks of illnesses such as cancer, deterioration of mental function, and cardiovascular problems.
Polyunsaturated fats have two types: Omega-3 and Omega-6 that help control inflammatory conditions that cause several health problems which includes severe ones like cancer, asthma, arthritis, and rheumatoid. We can get enough Omega-3 from Pescatarian meals, while we can have Omega-6 from eating vegetables, nuts and seeds, vegetable oil, and the animals that eat seeds. Processed foods are rich in Omega-6, and modern lifestyle makes these processed foods easy and convenient, and therefore, we need to have Omega-3 from fish and other seafood to neutralize Omega-6, thus, reducing inflammation.
Pescatarian diet with Omega-3 is also believed to aid individuals who are going through chemotherapy or other treatments for cancer may help firm muscle mass and control inflammation that caused those severe diseases including cancer.
#Promotes Weight Loss and Healthy Weight Management
Several studies cited how low intake of Omega-3 may cause weight gain and obesity. The study also reveals that individuals who eat more of plant foods are likely to have lower BMI because they consume fewer amounts of saturated fats and calories.
Studies have shown that eating more carbs particularly refined carbs found in pizza, bread, pasta and the like and a lesser amount of calories from healthy fats and protein. This eating habit can lead to unstable blood sugar level, overeating, and problems in controlling levels of insulin.
Healthy fats and proteins are essential in making us “feel full,” and the nutrients that are in fish and other seafood may help us reduce our cravings for more foods. Health professionals recommend that regardless of our diet, we must eat more of vegetables and fruits, get quality proteins and healthy fats, fiber, nuts and seeds, and phytochemicals if we want to lose weight and maintain healthy weight condition.
#Helps Combat Deterioration of Mental Processes
Omega-3 with its DHA is vital for maintaining cognitive functions as we grow in age. A study showed that elders with low intake of Omega-3 tend to have cognitive problems like Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. In pregnancy, low Omega-3 intake has high risks for having children with trouble in learning and low memory test scores.
#Combats Depression and Mood Swings
The Pescatarian diet may help treat symptoms of ADHD, anxiety and depression. Health professionals recommend that eating anti-inflammatory foods may help fight mood swing, anxiety, and depression. These anti-inflammatory foods will aid in neutralizing and synthesizing moods and stress responses. We can get these foods with anti-inflammatory substances through lean proteins, healthy fats, and unrefined carbs, Vitamin B, foods with magnesium, calcium, and most especially Omega-3 fatty acids.
Right Fishes and Seafood for Pescatarian Diet
Farm-raised fish are the better choice because they have lower levels of toxins and chemicals compared to fish-farming centers. Farmed-fish have lower DHA and EPA compared to the freshwater fishes and seafood.
We recommend that following types of fish and seafood include in your pescatarian diet: Salmon, sardines, mackerel, trout, bluefin tuna, herring, whitefish, anchovies, sablefish, and those fish eggs called caviar.
Health experts suggest eating fish and seafood at least two to three times every week. Or, eat three 6-ounce servings of fatty fish every week to get sufficient anti-inflammatory Omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA that our body needs.
Caution is also needed:
Overeating fish with its proteins and healthy fats may also pose risks to our health because they may contain pollutants and mercury. Considering where the fishes are caught, they may be contaminated with pollutants like polychlorinated biphenyls or PCB, perfluoro octane sulfonate or PFO, and dioxin. Some types of fish and shellfish like sea bass, shrimps, swordfish, and albacore tuna have low mercury.
FDA warns pregnant, nursing mothers and young children to avoid eating tilefish, swordfish, shark, and king mackerel. They should also restrict their intake to 12 ounces every week of catfish, canned light tuna, pollock, shrimps, and salmon.
Try another simple recipe for pescatarians.