Posts Tagged 'pescatarian'

The Pros and Cons of a Pescatarian Diet

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In the spirit of Lent, it is tradition that Catholics are expected to refrain from meat on Fridays. The tradition eludes back to the significance of fasting in correspondence to Jesus’ sacrifice when he died on the cross. Technically, “warm-blooded” animals were considered to be off limits, because they were considered to be an animal that was “sacrificed its life for us,” explains Michael Foley, an associate professor at Baylor University and author of Why Do Catholics Eat Fish On Friday? The importance of consuming fish for sacred holidays also plays a role as to why it is implemented in tradition, even during pre-Christian times. In regard to being forced to avoid meat every Friday throughout Lent leading up to Easter, I was curious as to the benefits and disadvantages of maintaining a pescatarian diet outside of purely religious restrictions.

It is widely known that consuming seafood provides numerous health benefits when implemented into any diet. Fish, in specific, is low in fat, yet high in protein, which is loaded with omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids only do wonders for boosting the brain and helping encourage its development. It play a significant role, since our bodies are unable to produce these fats naturally and can’t live without them. It decreases our chances of dying from heart attack, by reducing inflammation, regulating the heartbeat, lowering blood pressure, relaxing the artery walls, and ensuring blood is less likely to clot. Heart problems are ranked as the most common way to die in the United States, with statistics showing that it is kills one in four people among men and women. Taking precautionary measures, is the best way to avoid falling into this common statistic and ensuring a longer, healthier life.

As for the disadvantages of a pescatarian diet, it is no surprise that is it will be more difficult finding ways to gain nutrients that meat is known to heavily provide. Pescatarians need to be more cautious in making sure they have enough protein, iron, zinc, calcium and vitamin B12 implemented within their diet. Making sure that pescatarains are consuming the correct amount tends to be a more difficult task due to how expensive they can be in the market. It makes sense since the world’s supply is so limited. According to Dr. David Jenkins, University of Toronto professor who is a Canada research chair in nutrition and metabolism, “If we continue to consume fish at our current rate “we’ll run out by 2050”. Farmed fish don’t always have the same benefits, due to having a bigger chance of catching disease, in comparison to wild fish who feed off of algae, as oppose to being fed fish meal. Mercury contamination is a bigger concern among larger fish, that is why it is advised to eat fish that lower in the food chain, such as sardines or anchovies, which rely on algae as a main source for their diet.

As you can see, not all diets are perfect. There will always be benefits and disadvantages, no matter how healthy the options may seem. It is a matter of choosing a diet that fits YOUR lifestyle. Most importantly, a diet that is easy to maintain that you know you are capable of keeping up with and having the constant motivation to stick with it.

 

Happy Lenten Season to All,

Diana Banzon


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