How to eat a pescatarian diet?

In this brief guide, we will answer the query, “How to eat a pescatarian diet? “and will discuss the pros and cons of a pescatarian diet.

How to eat a pescatarian diet?

A pescatarian is a vegetarian who also consumes fish and other seafood, such as shrimp. Whole grains, nuts, legumes, fruit, and healthy fats make up the bulk of the diet; seafood is a major source of protein. Pescatarians are also ones who consume dairy and eggs.

In 2884 front- line healthcare workers from six countries (France, Germany, Italy, Spain, UK, USA), individuals who reported following plant- based diets and plant- based diets or pescatarian diets that were higher in vegetables, legumes and nuts, and lower in poultry and red and processed meats, had 73% and 59% lower odds of moderate- to- severe COVID-19, respectively (4).

A classic pescatarian one-day meal plan is as follows:

Breakfast: Sardines on crostini for breakfast

Omega-3 fatty acids are found in abundance in sardines. The pesto spread over the crostini is a good source of vitamin C and vitamin A since spinach is used. Vitamin C aids in the absorption of iron by the human body. This recipe calls for tinned sardines, although fresh sardines or anchovies may also be used. It’s a good idea to have a protein-rich breakfast to get your day started, and the pesto adds iron-rich greens.

Lunch: Traditional baked falafel

Protein and omega-3s are found in tahini, which is an excellent source of both. Protein and fiber may also be found in chickpeas, which are a rich source of both. The addition of a healthy Mediterranean salad may transform this dish into a substantial lunch option.

Dinner: Shrimp and grapefruit sauce served with roasted salmon.

Omega-3 essential fatty acids are found in salmon. Grapefruits, which have a strong citrus taste, are a great match for fish with a strong flavor. Additionally, the inclusion of grapefruit in this meal contributes to the two portions of the fruit that a person should have each day.

What Is Pescetarianism, and Why Do People Follow It?

Pescatarian diets are popular for a variety of reasons. Here are a few of the more prominent ones. 

The term “flexitarian” is used to describe omnivorous diets that incorporate high amounts of plant-sourced foods; moderate amounts of poultry, dairy and fish; and low amounts of red meat, highly processed foods, and added sugar. Vegetarian diets typically include plant-sourced foods, dairy, and eggs but exclude meat and fish; pescatarian diets are vegetarian diets that include fish; and vegan diets exclude all animal-sourced foods including fish, dairy, eggs, and honey (1).

Health Advantages

In addition to a decreased risk of obesity and chronic illnesses like heart disease and diabetes, plant-based diets have several established advantages. A pescatarian diet may provide many of the same health advantages as a vegetarian diet, according to a study.

It has been discovered that vegetarian women acquire 2.5 fewer pounds (1.1 kg) each year than meat-eating women. Those who made a move to a plant-based diet lost the least weight, indicating that cutting less on animal products may be beneficial regardless of your present eating habits.

According to another research, Pescatarians had a reduced chance of having diabetes at 4.8 percent, whereas omnivores have an increased risk of developing diabetes at 7.6%. In addition, comprehensive research looked at vegetarians and non-meat eaters alike. As compared to typical meat eaters, they had a 22% decreased chance of dying from heart disease.

Diets that exclude or reduce animal-sourced foods are typically associated with a reduced risk of premature mortality and noncommunicable diseases – cardiovascular diseases (such as heart attacks and stroke), cancers, chronic respiratory diseases (such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma) and diabetes – primarily due to improvements in cardiometabolic risk factors – insulin resistance/ type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, inflammatory markers, hypertension, and  dyslipidemia, and a reduced risk of certain cancers (e.g., breast, prostate, and colorectal). In general, the risk of diseases is lowest for vegans, followed by vegetarians, flexitarians, and finally, Western diets (1).

In another study of 10.6 years with 409,110 participants in the UK demonstrated that a lower risk of overall cancer and nine cancer sites was found for pescatarians compared with meat-eaters—kidney, lung, melanoma, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, colorectal (overall and for colon and rectum individually), bladder, prostate, lymphatic and breast. Some of the mechanisms that could explain the associations between vegetarian diet and cancer risk are the presence of bioactive compounds in plant-based diets, such as fiber, phenol, polyphenol, and sulphuric compounds, and other antioxidants compounds, including vitamins. These compounds have been shown to have anti-carcinogenic effects in experimental models and epidemiological studies (2).

Concerns about the environment

The global food production accounts for up to 30% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, 60% of biodiversity loss, and 70% of freshwater use and has a significant impact on soil quality, deforestation, eutrophication (the leaching of nutrients from land into water leading to increased plant and algae growth in estuaries and coastal waters), and climate change. The negative impact of food production on our planet is likely to increase as the population grows and as demand for animal-sourced foods increases (1). 

To raise animals, there is a significant environmental impact. Livestock farming accounts for 15% of all human-caused carbon emissions, according to the United Nations. To put it another way, fish and seafood production produces less carbon dioxide per pound than the production of any animal meat or dairy.

Compared to persons who consume at least one serving of meat a day, those who eat fish produce 46 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions.

Reasons of morality

Choosing to be a vegetarian might be motivated by a person’s belief in the value of animal life. Pescatarians may also be affected by this.

Some of the reasons why individuals avoid eating meat are based on morality:

·         Opposing slaughter: They don’t want to eat animals that have been killed for their meat.

·         Animal cruelty: They don’t support industrial farms that grow animals in horrible circumstances.”

·         Workers’ conditions: They refuse to patronize industrial farms that use terrible labor practices.

·         Humanitarian reasons: It is for humanitarian grounds that they oppose the use of land and resources to grow grain for animal feed when there is so much hunger across the globe.

Some of these ethical problems may be addressed by cutting out land animals from your diet. There are also issues with farming and overfishing.

There are a few downsides to following a Pescatarian diet

Like many things in life, there is a limit to how much of a good item you should consume. Fish and seafood aren’t the only ones who suffer from this. For example, tuna, swordfish, and tilefish all have moderate to high mercury levels.

Mercury, a toxic heavy metal, is particularly harmful to infants and children. As a result, the government advises that small children and women who are pregnant or nursing stick to mercury-free seafood. Salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines, and lake trout are all low-mercury options for Pescatarians.

Studies have shown that unsupervised pescatarian diets are associated with an increased risk of energy or nutritional deficiencies compared with flexitarian diets (1). One deficiency is iodine. Iodine is a trace element which is essential for the production of the thyroid hormones, therefore adequate iodine intake is important to avoid thyroid dysfunction and maintain normal physiological functions of the body. Iodine deficiency has re-emerged as a public health problem in women of reproductive age in the USA, Australia, and Europe, including Norway, which has been corroborated in a number of studies lately. A study showed that about half of the vegans (54%), vegetarians (51%) and pescatarians (46%) had total 24-h intakes of iodine below estimated average requirement of 100 g/day, which may increase the risk of iodine deficiency (3).

Click here to learn more about what Pescatarians can eat. 

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we answered the query, “How to eat a pescatarian diet? “and discussed the pros and cons of the pescatarian diet.

References

  1. Moreno, Luis A., et al. Perspective: Striking a Balance between Planetary and Human Health—Is There a Path Forward?. Adv Nutr, 2022, 13, 355-375.
  2. Parra-Soto, S., Ahumada, D., Petermann-Rocha, F. et al. Association of meat, vegetarian, pescatarian and fish-poultry diets with risk of 19 cancer sites and all cancer: findings from the UK Biobank prospective cohort study and meta-analysis. BMC Med, 2022, 20, 79. 
  3. Groufh-Jacobsen, Synne, et al. Vegans, vegetarians and pescatarians are at risk of iodine deficiency in Norway. Nutrients, 2020, 12, 3555.
  4. Kim, Hyunju, et al. Plant-based diets, pescatarian diets and COVID-19 severity: a population-based case–control study in six countries. BMJ Nutr Prev Health, 2021, 4, 257.
  5. Fox, Nick, and Katie Ward. Health, ethics and environment: A qualitative study of vegetarian motivations. Appetite, 2008, 5, 422-429.

Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.