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Pescatarian diet and its health benefits

What is a Pescatarian Diet?

A typical Pescatarian diet is based primarily around a plant-based or vegetarian diet with the addition of fish and seafood, occasionally dairy and eggs. It somewhat mirrors the Mediterranean diet, as it is generally loaded with fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts and pulses, but excludes red meats and most animal products.

Several reasons may affect people’s decision to choose a diet, most people who choose a pescatarian diet do so for health benefits, environmental concerns or ethical reasons.

Health Benefits

There are many known health benefits of eating a primarily plant-based diet, the pescatarian diet boosts this with the addition of lean white fish meat and fatty acids such as omega-3. Seafood is also rich in several other nutrients including vitamin B12, zinc, and selenium. Increasing the daily intake of these can help increase energy levels, boost the immune system helping fight bacteria and bacterial infections, and is linked to good mental and thyroid health.

The omega-3 fatty acid is an unsaturated fat that is beneficial to people; with other omega-3’s integral to healthy living. Often vegetarians and non-fish consumers add omega-3 fatty acids to their diets, buying it over the counter in gel capsules. This can be avoided by eating a variety of fish, especially fatty fish which helps provide increased long-chain omega-3 fatty acid intake.

A Pescatarian based style of eating has shown an increase in weight loss and maintaining a healthy weight, reducing the risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and high blood pressure; all of which are risk factors of metabolic syndrome and heart disease. Metabolic syndrome is the medical term used for a combination of conditions such as insulin resistance, diabetes, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, cholesterol and obesity.

Flavonoids are natural compounds present in plants that have a range of anti-inflammatory and anti-diabetic properties. While plant-based diets are high in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties such as flavonoids; there is also evidence that omega-3s present in fatty fish may reduce inflammation.

Boost your lean protein intake

Eating a plant-based diet certainly has its benefits, one drawback, however, is the lack of sufficient protein. A high protein diet can be tricky to achieve with just plant proteins, especially if trying to avoid extra carbohydrates. This is avoided by including fish and seafood which have high-protein, lean white meat and omega-3 fatty acids. Examples of oily fish include salmon, mackerel, herring and fresh tuna.

 

In essence, people who include fish in their diet get leaner protein, omega-3 fatty acids and other nutrients; have better control over their weight; lower blood pressure; a lower risk of abnormal heart rhythms; and fewer fatal heart attacks than those who do not include fish in their diets.

 

Written by: Kyle Wilmot

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