Unlock the Benefits of a Pescatarian Diet

Photo courtesy Alaska Seafood

Did you know that 5% of the U.S. population identifies as a pescatarian? Pure and simple, these consumers are vegetarians who also eat seafood. The term pescatarian was coined in the early 1990s and is a combination of the Italian word for fish, “pesce,” and the word “vegetarian.” Vegetarians typically need to supplement with vitamins and minerals, however pescatarians benefit from a diet full of seafood that contain omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, selenium, Vitamin D and more.

There are many advantages to following a pescatarian diet: Omega 3s, DHA, and other nutrients have been shown to improve cognitive development and sleep in youth, optic nerve development in vitro, and adult heart strength. Recent research has also shown that increased seafood consumption can stave off depression and can reduce some symptoms in bi-polar adults. The nonprofit Seafood Nutrition Partnership has lots of research documenting the health benefits of increased seafood consumption on its website.

In addition to the health benefits, some pescatarians choose the lifestyle to reduce their environmental footprint or over animal cruelty concerns. And some people follow a pescatarian diet for religious reasons.

National Pescatarian Month is an officially designated month in October, according to the National Fisheries Institute’s “Dish on Fish” blog. The organization has information on following a pescatarian diet, including recipes, on its website.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends Americans eat at least two servings of seafood per week for optimum health, yet only 1 in 10 Americans follow this guideline. Retail seafood is expensive and can be hard to find in some communities. This is why SeaShare exists – to make sure food banks and feeding centers have access to this nutritious protein and supporting pescatarians everywhere.