Pescetarian Diet improves cardiovascular markers
by Sue Kira, Naturopath & Clinical Nutritionist
Client name and identifying information changed
When Emma first visited me, she was worried about her cardiovascular risk markers because her doctor told her that her bad (LDL) cholesterol was elevated, her good (HDL) cholesterol was low and she showed inflammation in her blood.
Her doctor wanted to medicate her because she had a significant family history of cardiovascular disease, but many from her family suffered terrible side effects from the drugs. She asked her doctor to give her time to first work on balancing things naturally. He gave her a three-month deadline.
Emma told me she didn’t want supplements and desired something that was sustainable and affordable, so we talked about her diet and lifestyle.
At that point, her diet was ‘reasonable’, except she ate a lot of bread for convenience, and a lot of red meat because her husband liked it. I asked if she would miss red meat if she didn’t eat it for a while and she said it made her feel a bit sick at times as she felt that she didn’t digest it well. I asked her if she liked fish and seafood and fortunately this was her favourite food. Her husband liked seafood, but loved his red meat more.
To keep things simple, I suggested a Pescetarian diet which could help to support her cardio markers. We discussed how it’s better if the family eats the same meal together, but she could always cook a piece of fish for herself and at the same time, a steak for her hubby to keep him happy. Also, if she did miss red meat, to eat it very occasionally but mainly stay with the Pescetarian diet to help her cardiovascular system. She was happy to do this.
It turned out that when she cooked her delicious seafood and fish meals that hubby wanted to eat them more often than not, which made life easier for Emma.
Emma stuck to her Pescetarian diet (which was also gluten and dairy free and low sugar) for three months without any bread or red meat. She had her markers tested again and found that her good fats were excellent, her bad fats low, and there was no inflammation in her blood. The doctor was pleased and happy for Emma to continue with what she was doing and he would re-check her blood in another three months to be sure that all was still good.
For the next three months Emma predominantly ate gluten free and dairy free Pescetarian food. She occasionally had a steak with her husband and some chicken. Although she wasn’t ‘officially Pescetarian’ anymore, Emma had a sustainable diet that suited her and her husband, while still keeping her cardio markers healthy.