Lately I have realized that I subconsciously avoid any food with meat and I prefer eating fish or seafood.
As I have continued following the pescetarian life-style, I wanted to make sure I wasn’t missing anything important, so I made a research about pescetarian diet and its pros and cons.
Who is a pescetarian?
The word “pescetarian” is a mixture of the “pesce” (“fish” in Italian) + tarian (short for “vegetarian”).
Sometimes you will find this term written as “pescatarian”.
A pescetarian is a person who mostly follows a vegetarian diet but also adds fish and seafood to it.
Even though the red meat is a source of iron, protein and other vitamins, many people associate the red meat consumption with the higher risk of the development of cardiovascular diseases and even cancer. Besides red meat is quite heavy for the stomach to digest it.
Chicken meat is easy to digest, but it is healthy only if we talk of organic stock. It can be even dangerous to eat non-organic chicken because of the hormone levels and other nasties injected in the meat.
Anyway, most of people I know refuse from eating meat because of ethical reasons as they are against slaughtering animals for food.
At the same time many people find a vegan or a vegetarian diet too limited or too strict (for example, vegan and vegetarians can lack Vitamin B12, proteins, zinc, etc), this way pescetarian life-style is a very good option for them.
Why is being a pescetarian beneficial for you?
There is one very important advantage in adding fish to your daily menu.
It is a very rich source of Omega 3 fatty acids. These fatty acids are very important for the healthy eye sight and nervous system.
They act as the anti-inflammatory agents in your body fighting with chronic diseases such as arthritis, and they also make your skin and hair look healthy.
Fish is a natural source of protein which you might be afraid to lose if you refuse from meat products and besides the fish protein is easily digested by the human’s body.
Omega 3 fatty acids defend your brain from Alzheimer’s disease as the docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) decreases the chances of developing dementia lately.
The vitamin D contained in fish will help you to fight with the early signs of depression.
Cons of being a pescetarian.
The cons are connected not with the fish meat itself, but with the chemical composition of the certain fish meat.
Some fish meat contains the high mercury amount and once this mercury gets accumulated in your body, it can cause irreversible changes to your nervous system, so it is very important to choose fish with the low levels of mercury.
Please strictly AVOID using this kind of fish for your pescetarian menu: tuna (ahi, albacore, bigeye, yellowfin), shark, mackarel (king, spanish, gulf), tilefish, orange roughy, swordfish, marlin, grouper, sea bass, bluefish.
Feel SAFE to add this fish and sea-food to your pescetarian menu: salmon, herring, crab, crawfish, catfish, clam, butterfish, anchovies, croaker, flounder, mackarel (atlantic, chub), oysters, pollock, perch, trout (rainbow, freshwater), sardines, shrimps and scallops, telapia, squid, mullet.
Please check the full list composed by the US Drug and Food Administration for the high and low level mercury fish here.
Pregnant women should be specially careful with the choice of fish as the high mercury level can lead to the delays in the fetus development.
If you are pregnant and consider to be a pescetarian, please check the following advice from the US Drug and Food Administration here.