Pescatarian Diet – Overview
The Pescatarian diet is a slight modification of the two famous plant-based diets, veganism and vegetarianism. Pescatarians primarily rely on fruits, grains, seeds, nuts, lentils, and vegetables, but the only source of animal protein comes from fish or other seafood. Pescatarians may or may not consume dairy and eggs, but they completely avoid meat and poultry.
Let’s look at some of the health benefits and possible concerns of adhering to a Pescatarian diet.
Benefits of Pescatarian Diet?
A vegan diet, coupled with a high protein source, is bound to be highly nutritious. Fish such as wild salmon, tuna, mackerel, and herring are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and are an excellent source of protein. This dietary style reduces the risk of developing chronic health conditions such as Type 2 diabetes and heart diseases. Omega-3 fatty acids help reduce cholesterol and play a significant role in improving your heart health.
A balanced pescatarian diet lowers of risk of obesity and helps reduce blood pressure. Apart from proteins and omega-3 fatty acids, fish also contain antioxidants that reduce the risk of various cancers. Various studies have proved a positive correlation between a pescatarian diet and lower mortality rates (due to chronic illnesses). Research indicates that people who adhere to a pescatarian diet have lower levels of bad cholesterol (HDL) and lower blood pressures than non-vegetarians. They also had a lower risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, and other metabolic syndromes.
Like all vegan diets, a pescatarian diet also needs to be balanced. Since the diet depends heavily on plant sources and fish, pescatarians are likely to develop an iron deficiency if they do not incorporate plant-based sources of iron. Therefore it is essential to incorporate fruits and vegetables rich in iron, including spinach, broccoli, and berries.
Some pescatarians consume eggs and dairy, while others don’t. As a result, they lack essential trace elements, including calcium, vitamin B12, and zinc. If you are transitioning towards a pescatarian diet, make sure you add a nutritional supplement that includes calcium, vitamin B12, and zinc.
One potential concern with adopting a pescatarian diet is mercury intoxication. Seafood in general and fish, in particular, contain unpredictable amounts of mercury, a heavy chemical that can be highly toxic for human consumption. The risk is much higher if you consume fish every day. As a rule, the general population should limit the intake of fish to four portions a week. Pregnant women or those trying to conceive should restrict fish intake to two portions a week as too much mercury can affect the fetus’s brain development.
A Pescatarian diet is one of the best variations of plant-based diets. It incorporates a lean source of protein that is rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Despite numerous health benefits, pescatarians may develop a few nutritional deficiencies such as iron and Vitamin B12 deficiency. In case of excessive consumption of fish, pescatarians may develop mercury intoxication.