With the increasing consciousness regarding one health, many diets have been making appearances to cater to different dietary needs. Some of the most trending diets nowadays actually go back in history but were somehow discarded amidst the endless types appearing on the horizon every day. Today, there is a lot of fuss surrounding the pescatarian diet and its incredible health benefits.
This diet is being widely adopted by lots of people concerned about their well-being, especially vegetarians who would like to add a delectable twist to their meals. The pescatarian diet is basically the same as vegetarian but with the addition of seafood as the primary source of protein. So being a pescatarian means following a plant-based diet with a colourful blend of vegetables, fruits, grains, nuts, along with fish.
Seafood is known to be a rich source of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, along with other nutrients that nourish the body. It’s also known to positively impact your overall health, significantly contributing to your heart health as well as brain function. While the pescatarian diet offers a myriad of scrumptious seafood options, let’s not forget that it also leaves room for eggs and other dairy products.
Seafood has become the shining star in this dietary revolution with its rich protein content and omega-3 fatty acids, which are known to be great for the health of the heart and brain function. Pescatarians have the freedom to choose from all types of sumptuous seafood, whether it be the flaky goodness of fish, the succulent delicacy of shellfish, or even the tantalising allure of squid. And let’s not forget that eggs and dairy also make an appearance on their plates.
So, let’s take the time to delve into the alluring world of pescatarianism. We promise you a culinary adventure that will leave you more energised and healthier than ever.
The History of the Pescatarian Diet
The pescatarian diet is growing and may have been popular in the last few years, but this kind of diet actually goes way back in time. The oldest historical record of pescatarianism is traced back to the 13th century as a diet adopted by religious men.
Cistercian monks, a branch of Benedictines, used to consume fish and eggs copiously in the 13th century, given the dominance of fish farming at the time. In the 14th century, the pescatarian diet still reigned supreme; however, meat was permitted by Pope Benedict XII for four days a week as long as it wasn’t the fasting season.
Although pescatarians were believed to be a Christian diet since the early centuries, Jewish came into the picture claiming the diet to be their own. The members of the Liberal Judaism synagogue established The Pescatarian Society in 2015 in Manchester to prove their point.
This diet has also been quite viral in Asian communities, believing in the tremendous effects of seafood and eggs on one’s health. In the 2020s, the diet started earning huge popularity across the world, with many individuals adopting this lifestyle to reap its advantages.
How Is It Different From Being Vegetarian or Vegan?
Many people tend to confuse vegetarian and vegan diets, believing both are one and the same. Some also consider that the pescatarian diet is no different from the vegetarian diet except for adding seafood. Well, there are many half-truths in all of these statements, but let’s clarify the difference between all three diets.
A vegan diet is a genuinely plant-based way of eating, consciously avoiding any food derived from animals, including meat, poultry, eggs, fish, honey, and all dairy products. So it’s strictly vegetables, fruits, beans, legumes, and nuts.
On the other hand, a vegetarian diet shares similarities with a vegan diet by excluding all kinds of meat yet allowing the consumption of dairy products. In other words, a vegetarian consumes eggs, milk, and cheese but refrains from all types of meat, even fish.
Last but not least, the pescatarian diet is deemed a vegetarian diet but with the addition of all kinds of seafood, including fish, shrimp, squid, and more. It also allows the consumption of eggs and all dairy products. So other types of meat, like chicken, beef, and pork, are the only excluded items on this diet. This means it’s safe to say that pescatarians are actually a type of vegetarian.
By understanding these differences, you can have the needed information to make better decisions when it comes to adopting the right eating style that fits your life and caters to your needs.
7 Health Benefits You Can Reap From Following A Fish-based Diet
Reducing your intake of red meat is known to have significant health benefits. Yet, that’s not the only benefit you get from adopting a pescatarian diet; you also reap the benefits of eating lots of seafood. Here are the top health benefits associated with following a fish-based diet.
1. Gives Chronic Diseases A Wide Berth
The best part of embracing a pescatarian lifestyle is that you’d realise you become much healthier in time. Fish-based diets are proven to reduce the chances of chronic diseases, especially cancer, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart problems. It works wonders in making your body function optimally while keeping your organs safe and healthy.
2. Offers Greater Nutritional Value
Pescatarians get all the great nutritional value offered by a vegetarian diet since it’s packed with lots of greens and fruits. You will be getting most of your dietary requirements met, consuming enough fibre, calcium, sodium, and different vitamins and minerals. Even more, a pescatarian diet is often rich in protein compared to a traditional vegetarian diet, which is quite essential in building muscle mass.
3. Reduces the Likeliness of Developing Cancerous Cells
Again, pescatarianism goes a long way in keeping cancer diseases at bay. Fish are known to be laden with lots of nutritional value that keeps one’s body and mind healthy. However, one of this diet’s most incredible benefits is the absence of red meat, mainly processed ones like hot dogs, pork, sausages, hamburgers, corned beef, and canned meats. These kinds of meat have been directly linked to the increase in cancer diseases, especially colorectal cancer.
4. Offers Longer and Better Quality of Life
We’ve repeatedly mentioned that fish and other seafood are laden with great components nourishing the body. However, another great advantage of adopting the pescatarian diet is a longer life, much better quality, and fewer chances of ailments. Several studies have proven that fish-based diets considerably reduce the risk of premature death compared to diets packed with red meat.
5. Lowers Blood Pressure and Improves Heart Health
Fish is known to be packed with protein and healthy fats, especially the renowned omega-3 that offers tremendous health benefits. Consuming enough omega-3 has proven to have a lot of advantages to your heart and blood pressure. It helps regulate heart rhythms, lower the risk of heart attacks or strokes, and regulate blood pressure.
6. Keeps Your Skin Healthy
Omega-3 may be great for your heart and blood pressure, but it also works wonders when it comes to skin and hair. Having enough omega-3 in your bloodstream keeps your skin looking supple and moisturised while giving your hair the shine it needs. It is pretty hydrating in that it banishes any chances of dryness, keeping your skin looking young, radiant, and healthy.
7. Is Far More Sustainable
This point, in particular, may not be considered a health benefit, but it also gives the pescatarian diet enough credit for keeping the environment healthy. Fish are known to be more sustainable compared to mammals and birds, which goes a long way in keeping the planet healthy.
4 Common Drawbacks of Pescatarianism
The pescatarian diet offers a wealth of advantages akin to its plant-based counterpart. By adopting this diet, individuals can enjoy a leaner body composition, mitigate the risk of heart disease, and experience reduced inflammation. The beauty of this dietary approach lies in its versatility, wherein one can choose from an array of proteins. Nevertheless, it’s essential to acknowledge that, like any lifestyle choice, the pescatarian diet does present a few drawbacks.
1. Lack of Iron
Maintaining optimal iron levels is crucial for our overall health and well-being. However, if you’ve decided to eliminate red meat from your diet, you might be wondering about the potential risks of iron deficiency and anaemia. This condition arises when the body can no longer produce an adequate number of oxygen-carrying red blood cells. Fortunately, even without consuming red meat, numerous alternative sources of iron are available to you.
2. High Mercury Accumulation
Mercury, a toxic metal, poses a potential threat to our health when consumed in certain types of fish like swordfish, tuna, and tilefish. Yet, it is important to note that not all seafood is contaminated. Luckily, the FDA assures us that the amount of mercury found in most fish is generally not hazardous for the majority of individuals. Nevertheless, children below 11 and pregnant or breastfeeding women should limit their tuna intake to no more than one serving per week.
3. You Can Still Be Unhealthy
Vegetarians often bear the stereotype of being the healthiest individuals on Earth. With pescatarians following a diet similar to vegetarians but with the addition of fish, one would expect the same level of health benefits. However, the reality is that it is easy to fall into an unhealthy vegetarian diet by prioritising less nutritious options such as pasta, white rice, processed bread, fruit juice, and soda. Let us uncover the truth behind sustaining a wholesome vegetarian lifestyle.
4. Seafood Can Be Pricey
If you’re a seafood lover, you’ll understand the high price tag that often accompanies certain types of seafood. However, due to its mercury content, there’s no need to indulge in lobster daily, especially if you follow a pescatarian diet. Fortunately, there’s a splendid solution that saves your wallet and ensures your health. There’s a plethora of affordable seafood options, such as catfish, mackerel, and sardines.
Now that you have gathered a wealth of information about the pescatarian diet, it’s time to embark on a conscious journey and determine if this lifestyle is suitable for you. It’s crucial to acknowledge that all diets come with their unique challenges, but let’s shift our focus to the incredible health benefits that await. By embracing this seafood-rich approach, you can unlock a whole new realm of wellness possibilities.