A Concise Guide to Pescatarian Diet

Are you a vegan, but still nurture an appetite for seafood and delicious shrimps? Pescatarian diet is a perfect solution for you which offers various health benefits.

pescatarian diet

What is Pescatarian Diet?

Pescatarian diet is basically a vegan diet with inclusion of fish and seafood. The term “pesce” means fish in Italian and the dieticians opted for this term while naming this diet. Scientifically, this diet is also called “pesco-vegetarian”, and is included into the spectrum of vegetarianism.

This is specially a plant-based diet of whole grains, legumes, nuts, produce and healthy fats, with the tastefulness of seafood. “A pescatarian diet is one that prioritizes fish and seafood as the primary protein source,” says the Kansas City–based dietician Cara Harbstreet, RD, the author of The Pescatarian Cookbook: The Essential Kitchen Companion.

What to include in the Diet?

Each person’s Pescatarian preferences can vary”, Josh Axe, D.N.M., C.N.S., D.C., the founder of ‘Ancient Nutrition’ asserts. A healthy Pescatarian diet includes savory foods such as whole grains like farro and quinoa, olives, nuts, spicy peppers, vegetable oils, seeds, and other nutritious, heavy ingredients.

According to Harbstreet, the Pescatarian doesn’t stick to any rigid diet. While people following this diet avoid meat, they are not restricted totally from having a chicken breast in a family dinner. Here’s a list of food that is mostly recommended for a Pescatarian diet:


Freshwater fish such as trout or perch, saltwater fish like tuna or salmon, and shellfish like shrimp, clams, oysters can be included in the category of Seafood on a Pescatarian diet.


Grains are a rich source of fiber and nutrients which can make a perfect side dish. Whole grains are better choice as they provide more nutrients.

Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are the indispensable rudiments of a typical Pescatarian diet. You may include unlimited types of fruits and vegetables in the diet and take its advantages. Bright red, yellow, dark leafy greens, orange peppers, eggplant, blueberries, corn, kiwi, and veggies can be included in the diet to get amazing results.

Dairy products and Eggs

Most of the Pescatarians eat eggs and dairy and they are called ‘lacto-ovo-pescatarian’, technically.

What to avoid if you’re a Pescatarian?

You must avoid poultry, beef or bison, lamb, pork, deli meat, or bacon if you are a pure pescatarian.

Special health benefits of Pescatarian Diet

The pescatarian diet has many potential health benefits. They include:

  1. Heart health

Fatty fish increases long-chain omega-3 fatty acid in our blood. Omega-3 fatty acid is integral for healthy living. Eating fish helps in keeping the blood-pressure low, decreases the chances of abnormal heart rhythms and fatal heart attacks. Apart from fish, this diet includes plant foods which reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.

  1. Protection against Cancer

Pescatarian diet can protect us against diseases like colorectal cancers, that affect the rectum and colon. A study including diverse range of people found that this pseudo-veg diet offers protective effect against colorectal cancer, the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the USA.

  1. Diabetes and Inflammation

This plant-based diet reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome. Plant-based diet reduces inflammation, high in antioxidant agents, such as flavonoids. These natural compounds have a range of anti-inflammatory and antibiotic properties which helps reducing various kinds of health risks.

Disadvantages of Pescatarian Diet       

Pollutants and heavy metals have emerged as a global issue in the last few years. Almost 92 percent of the fish consumed by humans being marine fishes, there’s always a risk of contamination. Another fact is that nearly all fish in the sea is a source of mercury because of its omnipresence in the atmosphere. Therefore, people following this diet especially the pregnant women, nursing mothers, and young children should be careful while eating specific fish. Here’s a list you can have a quick glance:

Fishes with High mercury level

  • Shark
  • Sword fish
  • King mackerel
  • Tilefish

Fishes with Low mercury level

  • Canned light tuna
  • Shrimp
  • Salmon
  • Pollock
  • Catfish

So, is Pescatarian Diet worth the hype?

Dieticians highly recommend Pescatarian diet to people who loves seafood and plant-based foods. Keeping a selective mind while choosing the fish and the right cooking method, one can derive great benefits from Pescatarian diet.