4 Health Benefits of the Pescatarian Diet
The pescatarian diet consists of plant-based foods with fish and seafood as the main sources of protein. Pescatarians are like vegetarians, as they also consume a plant-based diet that consists of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and healthy fats, and avoid meat and poultry. This makes the pescatarian diet high in phytochemical and omega-3’s, which provides many health benefits, like lowering the risk of developing certain chronic diseases. Let’s take a look at some of those health benefits:
1. Reduces Risk of Heart Disease and Strokes
Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fatty fish like salmon, sardine, and mackerel, help reduce plaque build up that can occur in the arteries leading to heart disease and strokes. Omega 3s also help lower the chances of an individual getting arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat). Additionally, this type of fatty acid is great for heart health because it helps to reduce triglyceride levels in the blood, lower blood pressure, and decrease inflammation, which can harm the blood vessels that can result in a stroke or heart failure. The American Heart Association recommends eating fish rich in unsaturated fats (like omega-3s) at least twice a week to reduce the risk of heart disease.
2. Reduces Risk of Obesity
Practicing a pescatarian diet decreases the risk of becoming obese. Studies found that women who practiced a pescatarian diet gained 2.5 lbs (1.1kg) less each year compared to women who ate meat. It has been proven that people who practice a more plant-based diet don’t gain as much weight, indicating that lowering animal intake may be beneficial for weight management.
3. Reduces risk of Cancer
A diet that incorporates fruits and vegetables has been associated with lowering the risk of getting colorectal cancer. Research has shown that vegetarians have 22% less chances of developing colon cancer compared to omnivores. However, when fish is added to a plant-based diet, the risk of not developing colon cancer increases to 43%. By incorporating fish into a plant-based diet, the risk of colorectal cancer is reduced. This may be related to Omega-3 fatty acids anti-inflammatory properties.
4. Reduce the risk of Diabetes
Pescatarians have a lower chance of developing diabetes as opposed to omnivores. Practicing a plant-based diet corresponds with better blood sugar control, lowering cholesterol levels, and weight management. It also helps our bodies to be more responsive to insulin. This may be because a plant-based diet can help reduce body fat and less body fat allows insulin to function properly.
The Bottom Line
Practicing a Pescatarian Diet can be beneficial as this diet contains high levels of Omega-3 fatty acids, which can help fight against heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and obesity. A Pescatarian diet allows more flexibility in comparison with a vegetarian diet and has health benefits that can increase longevity.
If you are still unsure about starting the Pescatarian diet, speak with a registered dietitian to help you assess your questions.
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Written by: Dessa Soy, Wellness Workdays Intern
6. Mayo Clinic