Pescatarian Diet: What You Should Know

By Neha Ghosh

Pescatarian diet is derived from the Italian word 'pesce', which means fish. As the name implies, the pescatarian diet includes fish and seafood served with vegetables, grains and pulses. The diet doesn't involve meat and dairy.

What Is A Pescatarian Diet?

To follow a pescatarian diet, you need to consume meals that include plant-based foods with fish or seafood. Fishes like salmon, tuna or trouts and seafood like shrimps, and oysters, etc. An ideal pescatarian meal consists of 50 per cent of vegetables, 25 per cent of seafood and 25 per cent of whole grains or other complex carbohydrates.

What Is A Pescatarian Diet?

What Foods To Eat On A Pescatarian Diet?

  • Whole grains and grain products
  • Legumes like beans and lentils
  • Tofu and hummus
  • Nuts and nut butters 
  • Seeds like flaxseeds, chia and hemp seeds
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Fish and shellfish

Most Read: 12 Health Benefits Of Eating Salmon Every Day 

What Is A Pescatarian Diet?

What Foods Not To Eat On A Pescatarian Diet?

  • Lamb
  • Pork
  • Turkey
  • Beef
  • Chicken

Why You Should Follow A Pescatarian Diet?

Noted studies have shown that following a pescatarian diet is linked to lower the risk of heart attack and type 2 diabetes due to the presence of omega-3 fatty acids in the fish. Omega-3 fatty acids boost heart health, reduce the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and help improve brain and eye health.

Fish is rich in nutrients and low in saturated fat which means that there is a reduction in fat and calories from your meal. This helps you maintain a healthy body weight, improve metabolic health, reduce blood pressure and obesity.

What Is A Pescatarian Diet?

Most Read: 10 Health Benefits Of Tilapia Fish 

Pescatarian diet is also known to lower mortality rates and prevent chronic diseases compared to the diets that include meat, according to a noted study. The study also revealed that if one is on a pescatarian diet, you will have low levels of blood cholesterol and a lowered risk of metabolic syndrome, compared to non-vegetarians. Researchers have found that people who follow a specific diet plan are more likely to stick to mindful eating practices, stay active and measure food portions.

What Is A Pescatarian Diet?

Tips To Follow A Pescatarian Diet

  • When preparing fish, the best cooking method is to grill or broil fish with healthy cooking oils. You can also steam the fish but avoid frying it.
  • Avoid fishes with higher mercury levels such as shark, bigeye tuna and swordfish. Consume fishes such as trout, herring, lobster and scallops. 
  • Use fresh fishes and seafood to get most of the nutrients. 
  • Incorporate rainbow-coloured fruits and vegetables like dark leafy greens, yellow and red bell peppers, oranges, blueberries, purple eggplant and mushrooms.
What Is A Pescatarian Diet?

Drawbacks Of The Pescatarian Diet

There are not many drawbacks for this diet, but one should be aware of the mercury levels in fishes. According to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), tilefish, shark, king mackerel and swordfish should be avoided, especially young children, women of childbearing age (16-49 years old) and breastfeeding women.

Pair fishes with dark green leafy veggies like spinach, kale, and broccoli to increase the intake of iron, because compared to meat products fish has a low level of iron. So if you are completely omitting meat from your diet, it's essential that you include green leafy vegetable to make up for the iron requirement.

If you are planning to follow this diet, ensure that your diet is healthy, balanced and provide you with the nutrition you require.

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