Meat-free diets are not always meat-free. Well, that is if you count fish, squid, or lobster as meat. An alternative plant-based diet exists: pescatarianism.
UNFAMILIAR to the average person, and most assuredly not often spoken of, this diet includes seafood to the plant-based diet. In essence, this is a vegetarian diet with an exception.
Pescatarian foods include:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Dairy products
- Aquatic-animal meat
Reasons for this lifestyle choice
Reasons for this lifestyle choice may vary from one person to another.
Many want to make the move away from meat consumption, so opt for the pescatarian diet to begin with; they plan to gradually let go of all animal-based foods (this includes sea creatures). Others do not like meat.
Ecological reasons, however, is common across all meat-free diets. For those who are anti-cruelty, the diet offers the scientific argument that fish do not possess the ability to experience physical pain.
The value of following a pescatarian diet
Just like with other plant-based diets, the pescatarian diet boasts health advantages. In this dieting choice, seafood contributes largely to nutrition in comparison to a vegetarian diet.
Besides fish being rich in omega 3 fatty acids and protein, more nutrients exist in other seafood.
Nutritional gains from seafood:
Consuming reduced portions of red meat minimises the risk of heart disease. This diet, too, has the added value of protection against cancers of the rectum and colon.
Because of the presence of omega 3 fatty acids – being an unsaturated fat – this diet offers anti-inflammatory value. Furthermore, following the pescatarian diet reduces the risk of high blood pressure and Type 2 diabetes, among other health benefits.
In addition to this, antioxidants are a general advantage of plant-based diets.
The downside, however, is the lack of iron intake. Adding foods that contain iron, such as spinach, is important for healthy living as a pescatarian.
Since fish are known to possess mercury, it is important to watch your weekly intake by limiting it to four portions, as advised by the NHS.