What is the Mediterranean Pesco Diet? We asked a nutritionist


When you hear the word “diet,” calorie counting and dietary restrictions may spring to mind. But that’s not the case with the Mediterranean Diet, a meal plan that focuses on whole grains, fresh produce, lean meats, and healthy fats. Now, it’s time for you to meet its second iteration, the Mediterranean Pesco Diet, which is essentially the same as OG, except it prioritizes fish as the primary source of protein. We asked Dr. Felicia Stoler, DCN, dietitian, nutritionist and exercise physiologist, for all the details on the flexible diet. (Spoiler: It’s easier to stick with it than you might think.)

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“As the name suggests, the Mediterranean pesco diet focuses on protein from fish… in addition to nuts, seeds, legumes and other plants,” says Stoler. Those following the Mediterranean pesco diet can also eat dairy products (read: mostly low-fat dairy products, rather than hard cheeses and butter, which are high in saturated fat and sodium) and eggs, all like those of the standard Mediterranean diet. Like its predecessor, healthy fats, fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and plant-based foods high in protein are the bulk of what you will eat on the Mediterranean pesco diet.

To be successful without getting bored, it’s crucial to diversify the seafood you eat. “We always think of salmon, salmon, salmon, sometimes tuna; but there’s a lot in between, and different types of aquatic creatures have varying levels of nutrients, ”says Stoler. “In Europe, diets around the Mediterranean include seafood and fish such as sardines, anchovies, canned fish, salted fish.”

In other words, if you are fed up with eating salmon and shrimp every day and have no interest in casting a wider net (pun intended), the Mediterranean pesco diet can get old quickly, and you probably won’t. stick to it.

The Mediterranean pesco diet highlights fish as the primary source of protein, compared to chicken, beef, and pork. It’s great for people who already love fish, shellfish, and seafood in general. If you don’t, cutting yourself off from other animal protein would likely make sticking to the diet more difficult (and you might have a hard time staying full if you don’t eat other protein-rich, plant-based foods).

If fish isn’t your thing, the regular Mediterranean diet is probably a better choice for you (although they’re essentially the same, minus the pesco iteration having a specific source of animal protein). It focuses on foods that are found in the Mediterranean (as you might have guessed), so you will be able to eat a lot of products, grains, nuts, and other ingredients popular in Greece, Italy, Israel and the United States. Middle East. . We’re talking Greek yogurt, chickpeas, quinoa, nuts, feta, lots of olive oil, you see the table. Red meat is not totally off the table, but it is meant to be eaten sparingly; the same goes for refined sugars, saturated fats, and processed foods. You also need to be mindful of the carbohydrates you eat, being careful to choose complex carbohydrates (like barley, quinoa, and brown rice) over pasta, white bread, baked goods and the like, says David. Becker, certified cardiologist. at Chestnut Hill Temple Cardiology.

In the end, one diet is not necessarily better than another. “There are a lot of people, including myself, who think that encouraging a high consumption of fish [and] seafood, while excellent for health, is not sustainable, especially since we have overexploited the oceans and seas, ”says Stoler. “There are pollutants and contaminants in these waters, and the delicate balance of aquaculture is in danger, [as well as] the overall health of the planet. (On that note, keep in mind that buying farmed fish is a more sustainable choice than buying wild fish.)

So, before you focus on consuming seven fillets of salmon per week, consider the environment and additional sources of plant protein, like nuts, beans, and tofu.

Hellooo, omega-3 fatty acids, aka the essential fats that can lower your risk of heart disease and stroke, lower your blood pressure and triglycerides, and help reduce inflammation. Omega-3s are also rich in vitamin D and selenium, protect the heart from erratic heart problems, improve blood vessel function, and may even aid in prenatal and postnatal neurodevelopment.

Since our bodies do not produce omega-3s on their own, it is imperative that we consume them through food or supplements, and fish are abundant with them. One to two three-ounce servings of fatty fish per week can reduce your risk of fatal heart disease by 36%, says the American Heart Association (AHA). Here again, fish are far from the only source of omega-3. “Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in chia, nuts, hemp, seaweed oil and more,” says Stoler.

Fish has also been scientifically proven to do wonders for your brain. Research shows that eating baked or broiled fish at least once a week can significantly reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s disease, according to the Fisher Center for Alzheimer’s Research Foundation. Fish is also known to reduce the risk of many chronic diseases, lower triglycerides, reduce blood clotting, reduce the risk of stroke, and help fight irregular heartbeats, the Mayo Clinic explains. Because of all these benefits, it is recommended by the AHA that we have two servings of oily fish per week (either 3½ ounces cooked or ¾ cup of crumbled fish). With the Mediterranean pesco diet, you are likely to consume even more per week.

If you still need to convince, the Mediterranean diet may even possibly boost your mood, which means its fish-filled cousin can too. In a study carried out in 2017 by BMC Medicine, the researchers followed a group of people with depression for 12 weeks as they tried the meal plan. At the end of the study, most of the participants reported a major improvement in their symptoms. Scientists have also noted a link between fish and anxiety reduction. Although no definitive explanation has been found, researchers believe omega-3s can travel easily and positively to the brain with mood-regulating molecules and neurotransmitters, according to JAMA Network.

Fish and other popular Foods of the Mediterranean diet have also been shown to improve headache and migraines. If you suffer from chronic headaches, they can be triggered by nutritional deficiencies, says Maria Marlow, integrative health nutrition coach and author of The real guide to grocery shopping. More magnesium (found in leafy greens, beans, nuts, and seeds), riboflavin (found in broccoli, eggs, and almonds), and omega-3s can counteract these deficiencies.

And of course, a major benefit of this diet is that there is no need to count calories, and no food groups are totally off limits (although refined sugars are largely avoided, which is inherently good for your health). The Mediterranean pesco or the regular Mediterranean diet could be easy ways for you to eat more nutritious (or even possibly lose weight) without feeling like you’re starving yourself.

“There is no risk,” says Stoler, “but the underlying assumption is that an individual loves fish and seafood. I also look at durability, availability, price and budget. -the [pesco Mediterranean diet] may be more expensive and out of reach for people.

The TL; DR? If you love fish and seafood and can afford the proper groceries, the Mediterranean pesco diet might be right for you. Ultimately, it’s about finding a meal plan that works for your lifestyle, it’s crucial to truly commit to this new way of eating for the long haul and changing your habits for the better.

“I persist in suggesting that people develop eating behaviors that they can stick to with a priority on eating more plant-based. [foods] and less treated [foods], concludes Stoler. She also recommends paying attention to your portion sizes, eating foods that are closer to nature, and trying to cut down on food waste no matter what diet you are on.

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