The Health Benefits of Pescetarianism
OK, you probably already know that the health benefits of a pescetarian diet are considerable. It’s no secret. There’s something about fish that just seems to work for us in terms of looking, feeling and even thinking at our best. So, is it just ‘something in the water’ or are there good reasons as to why the pescetarian diet is so good for us? As a diet that focusses on the benefits of eating mainly fish (and veggies – but no meat or poultry), we thought it might be useful to back this widely accepted truth up with some hard facts. We’ll even hear from some knowledgeable pescetarian influencers on the topic.
The eagle-eyed amongst you might notice our logo uses an omega symbol. It’s no accident. The reason it’s there is to give a nod to the high Omega 3 content found in MOWI salmon. It’s a fatty acid that’s been proven to offer a whole host of unbelievable (but very real) health benefits. Omega 3 intake is linked to the reduction of major illnesses such as heart disease and strokes. This is because it helps to reduce triglyceride levels in the blood, lower blood pressure, and decrease inflammation. Each of these factors can harm your blood vessels meaning you’re more likely to develop the conditions mentioned.
That’s the heart, but what about the head? Well, omega 3 helps with brain function too. Although our bodies do produce some of it on their own, we get most of it from our diet. It’s thought that keeping topped up with omega 3 makes it easier for your synapses (connections within the brain) to communicate with each other.
That’s not all. It’s thought that the anti-inflammatory properties of Omega 3 can help lower the risk of cancer too. According to this study from Harvard, a pescetarian diet is potentially more effective (43% less risk) than going vegetarian (22% less risk), in relation to colorectal cancers.
If you’re a regular gym-goer you probably know about the importance of protein in your diet. If you don’t, protein is essentially the ‘building blocks’ our body uses to repair and strengthen cells found in muscle and bone. Protein is essential for everyone no matter your activity level, however if you’re hitting the weights rack or even just going for a light jog – the chances are you’ll need slightly more than ‘usual’.
How does this fit with a pescatarian diet though? Well most fish (and especially salmon) makes for an excellent source of protein. So not only is protein part of a healthy diet but it helps support a healthy exercise schedule too. Of course you could opt for a sugary protein shake or a dull, dry handful of nuts – but salmon’s so easy to cook into something delicious. Just take a browse through our recipe page if you don’t believe us.
Another great thing about following a pescatarian diet is that it mirrors the well-known Mediterranean diet. Although there are no concrete rules for the latter, it’s based around traditional foods that are eaten by those living in countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea (France, Spain, Greece, and Italy) and fish features heavily in it. Researchers have found that sticking to foods typical to this region makes for good general health and even a longer life expectancy than average.
Perhaps not a health benefit that comes directly from fish itself – but the fact that fish (and especially salmon!) is so versatile means that it can easily be paired with healthy foods. Steamed greens with a squeeze of lemon, nourishing grains, a whole host of different herbs and spices… it may be a ‘diet’ but there really aren’t many limitations with going pescetarian. Plus, with fish you get that ‘meatiness’ that veggie dishes lack. With salmon, you also get delicious smoked salmon slices or pre-cooked salmon fillets and flakes so they make it easy to liven up a brunch or lunch, picnic, lunch for work… the list goes on!
Don’t just take our word for it…
‘Including fish in a well balanced diet provides many nutritional benefits. The British Dietetic Association (BDA) suggest we should aim to eat two portions of fish per week, one of which should be oily fish, like salmon. Oily fish is rich in omega 3 fatty acids which have been associated with improved brain health and heart health. If you are not including omega 3 foods in your diet, supplementation should be considered.’ Sophie’s Healthy Kitchen
Thinking of going pescatarian?
We’d love to know how it works out for you if so. As you can see, there are plenty of great reasons to give it a try and see if you feel healthier for it. Remember, everyone’s health is unique to them and if you’re making a drastic change to your diet it’s always wise to consult your GP first to make sure it’s right for you.