Fish and the Mediterranean Diet

So you likely know that the Mediterranean Diet encourages consumption of fish. This is because fish is such an incredibly health-promoting food! 

In addition to reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases, fish is often sited as a great source high-quality protein. It contains essential amino acids necessary for muscle growth, repair, and overall body function.

The question is: how much fish should you eat? What is the optimal recommendation for how much fish to consume for great health?

Another very important question is: what should you do if you can't eat fish (due to allergy or preference) or you just don't want to?

We have all the answers for you! Read on.

HOW OFTEN: The Mediterranean Diet suggests consuming fish two to three times per week.

WHAT: All fish is included in this recommendation, but the Mediterranean Diet specifically mentions fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, sardines, or trout. These fish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for heart health and brain health and for reducing overall inflammation.

HOW: We recommend choosing a variety of fish to ensure a diverse nutrient profile and minimize exposure to potential contaminants.

In my family, our weekly rhythm looks like: tuna for lunch once per week, salmon for dinner once per week, and either cod or shrimp for dinner once per week. Sometimes we switch it up (I love smoked salmon for breakfast!) but that's our normal schedule. Having a plan can make a huge difference in actually increasing your intake of fish!

RECIPES: Looking for fish recipes? Check out our Website!

But wait! What if you don't eat fish? Or if you have an allergy and you can't eat fish?

The Mediterranean Diet encourages consumption of fish and other seafood because of the amazing health benefits.

However, not everyone can eat fish! And some people just don't want to.

You want to be healthy but not eat fish. So, what do you do? We're here to help!

Fish provides lots of benefits, but we'll focus on four primary healthy nutrients in this article: Omega-3s, protein, Vitamin D, and Vitamin D12.

See below for our list of alternative foods you can include in your diet to ensure you still get these essential nutrients.
Whether you eat seafood or not, these are great foods to add to your diet!

Omega-3 fatty acids sources (important for brain & heart health):

Protein sources (important for muscle & bone health):

  • Meat and poultry
  • Beans (black beans, kidney beans, chickpeas, lentils)
  • Tofu & edamame
  • Nuts and seeds (almonds, peanuts, sunflower seeds)
  • Quinoa, farro

Vitamin D sources (important for bone health & immune support):

  • Exposure to sunlight (for natural vitamin D synthesis)
  • Fortified milk, plant-based milk, or orange juice
  • Egg yolk

Vitamin B12 sources (important for energy & mental function):

  • Meat and poultry
  • Dairy products
  • Eggs
  • Nutritional yeast

So now you know how often to consume fish or seafood, what kind of fish is recommended. You also know what foods to eat instead if you can't or don't eat fish.

Hopefully you can breathe a bit easier knowing that you can have a healthy diet without any seafood at all.

Know someone who is curious about fish? Send this article to them! And don't forget to join our email list, where we discuss all things Mediterranean Diet.

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