Can vegetarians eat tuna

Pescetarians - no meat, but fish

Von, science journalist

Pescetarians are basically vegetarians who eat fish. While meat and poultry are not allowed in this type of diet, fish (pesce) is regularly served on the plate. Some pescetarians also eat seafood. Often the desire for a healthier diet, but also abuses in factory farming, are the reason for becoming pescetarians. Find out what to look out for.

What are pescetarians?

Do vegetarians eat fish? Not in itself, but in the case of pescetarians it is the only food that is produced by killing animals and consumed anyway. Most of the time, pescetarians make sure that it was caught in the wild and not bred on a mass scale.

The motivation for eating fish for vegetarians varies. Nutritional benefits associated with eating fish are often mentioned. Above all, the omega-3 fatty acids contained in fish are said to have a positive effect. They are supposed to stabilize the heart rhythm, have a positive effect on blood sugar control, reduce inflammation in the body and thus protect against diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.

How many pescetarians there are in Germany is difficult to say, as they are usually added to the "classic" vegetarians. The Vegetarian Association Vebu estimates that around 7.8 million people in this country are currently vegetarians.

Become a pescetarian

In principle, becoming a pescetarian is even easier than converting to vegetarianism. In addition to meat substitute products such as tofu schnitzel or soy sausages, the fish-eating vegetarians have the opportunity to spice up their plant-heavy diet with a little fish every now and then. Every pescetarian can decide for himself how much and which types of fish are consumed and whether shellfish and seafood are also eaten. There are no hard and fast rules.

Fish is an abundant source of protein and the amino acids the body needs. Pure vegetarians can use plant-based products to consume protein in sufficient quantities in the form of legumes, soy, nuts or cereal products. However, animal protein is easier for the body to process.

Those who are vegetarian or pescetarian tend to be more conscious of their diet, as typical “meat nutrients” such as zinc and iron have to be balanced in other ways. Products such as cola drinks or processed cheese are atypical, unless they are so-called "pudding vegetarians", who are not primarily concerned with improving and maintaining health when choosing their diet.

Pescetarians: advantages

According to studies, pescetarians live longer compared to the general population. This result could be due to the generally healthier lifestyle of the study participants, because many people who avoid meat live more consciously and suffer less from obesity and high blood pressure. They exercise more, drink less alcohol and smoke less.

Some scientists assume that humans ate fish very early in their developmental history, that is, that it corresponds to their original diet and thus to their biological needs.

Pescetarians: Cons

In order to live permanently as a pescetarian, you need some background knowledge about nutrition in order to avoid deficits. You should know about the protein content (biological value of various foods), as well as suppliers of critical nutrients such as vitamin D, B12, B2 or iodine. Precise knowledge is required, especially in the case of children and pregnant women, so that deficiency symptoms do not occur. It should also be noted that some fish species can be contaminated with heavy metals - but caution is advised not only for pescetarians.

According to a study by the University of Hildesheim, vegetarians are more likely to be depressed, suffer from anxiety disorders and psychosomatic complaints. However, the type of diet is more likely to be a consequence than a trigger of the disease.

Pescetarians: Conclusion

If you choose wholesome foods and reduce your consumption of white flour and sugar, regular fish meals and high-quality plant-based foods can definitely serve as permanent nourishment and even improve your health. As Pescetarians you have to deal with your diet a little more intensively and acquire special knowledge, but then you can benefit from the advantages of the otherwise meat-free diet.

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