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Pescetarian Life

Vitamins and Minerals

The foods which make up the pescetarian and/or the ovo-vegetarian diets provide all the necessary vitamins and minerals for the development and maintenance of a healthy body and mind.

Common Sources of Vitamins

  • Vitamin A: egg yolks, cheese, cream, cod or halibut oils, sardines, kale, carrots, parsley, spinach, sweet potato, dried apricots, watercress, broccoli, mango, tomatoes, cabbage, peas
  • Beta carotene: dark green, yellow, and orange fruits and vegetables such as carrots, pumpkin, cantaloupe, peaches, apricots, spinach, broccoli
  • Thiamin (B1): Yeast, wheat germ, pasta, fortified breads and cereals, peanuts, soybeans, fish, dried beans and peas, sunflower seeds, brazil nuts, whole grains, oatmeal, hazelnuts, brown rice, rye, millet, buckwheat, walnuts, garlic, pumpkin seeds, potatoes (Caution: B1 is rendered virtually useless when consumed in conjunction with caffeine, alcohol, overcooking, excess sugar, raw fish, red cabbage, currants, and antacids)
  • Riboflavin (B2): Eggs, nuts, legumes, green leafy vegetables, dairy, fortified cereals, almonds, wheat germ, broccoli, asparagus, halibut, sunflower seeds, parsley, millet, whole wheat bread, soy flour
  • Niacin (B3): Eggs, fish, legumes, nuts, whole grains, avocados, almonds, buckwheat, potatoes, small amounts are also found in tea and coffee
  • Vitamin B5: Yeast, peanuts, wheat germ, nuts, egg yolks, peas, nuts, oatmeal, sunflower seeds, legumes, mushrooms, sweet potatoes, broccoli, brown rice, avocados, cauliflower, kale, blackeye peas, whole wheat, seafood (fish, lobster)
  • Vitamin B6: Nuts, eggs, fish, sunflower seeds, wheat germ, fortified cereals, bananas, lima beans, buckwheat flour, blackeye peas, brown rice, chickpeas, potatoes, spinach, avocados, kale, brussels sprouts, prunes, sweet potatoes, oranges
  • Vitamin B12: Eggs, dairy, seafood, insects (termites in particular produce very high amounts).
  • Folic Acid/Folate: yeast, spinach, asparagus, lentils, garbanzo beans, lima beans, whole wheat bread, pasta, rice, blackeye peas, wheat bran, kidney beans, mung beans, walnuts, kale, beet greens, mustard greens, salad greens, peanut butter, broccoli, barley, brussels sprouts, almonds, oatmeal, cabbage, eggs, avocado, green beans, oily fish, dates, bananas, blackberries, potatoes
  • Biotin: yeast, whole brown rice, peanut butter, walnuts, barley, pecans, oatmeal, blackeye peas, almonds, cauliflower, mushrooms, wheat bran, lentils, eggs, wheat germ, oily fish, avocado, raspberries, artichokes
  • Vitamin C: citrus fruits, strawberries, broccoli, cantaloupe, tomatoes, guavas, blackcurrants, red bell peppers, kale, parsley, green sweet peppers, brussels sprouts, mustard greens, mango, watercress, cauliflower, cabbage, papayas, spinach, elderberries, turnips, peaches, asparagus, green onions, oysters, lima beans, blackeye peas, green peas, radishes, raspberries, yellow summer squash, sweet potatoes, loganberries, new potatoes, lettuce, bananas, kiwi, honeydew, pineapple, cranberries, rutabaga, kohlrabi
  • Vitamin D: Fortified products (dairy, cereal, orange juice), oysters, fish, sunlight
  • Vitamin E: Vegetable oils (especially corn, soybean, and safflower), margarine, wheat germ, nuts, green leafy vegetables, sunflower seeds, almonds, blackberries, oatmeal, sweet potatoes, whole grain rye, asparagus, spinach, avocado, broccoli
  • Vitamin K: Dark green leafy vegetables, cauliflower, cabbage, spinach, cereals, soybeans, potatoes, chick peas, brussels sprouts, tomatoes, runner beans, broccoli, soybeans, olive oil, canola oil
Common Sources of Minerals
  • Calcium: Green leafy vegetables, tofu, beans, chick peas, sunflower, sesame, and flax seeds, brazil nuts, almonds, figs, dried fruits, blackstrap molasses
  • Chromium: Whole grains, nuts, spinach, mushrooms, broccoli, apples
  • Copper: Seeds, nuts, whole grains, beans, mushrooms
  • Flouride: tea, apples, spinach, kale, city water
  • Iodine: Sea salt, Iodized salt, sea plants
  • Iron**: Green leafy vegetables, legumes/beans, seeds, white fungus, nuts, dried fruits, prune juice, watermelon, sea plants, cream of wheat, spinach, whole grains, bran flakes, blackstrap molasses, eggs, sweafood
  • Magnesium: Spinach, brown rice, almonds, nuts, legumes, broccoli, wheat germ, bran, whole grains, dried figs, oatmeal, green leafy vegetables, bananas, peanuts
  • Manganese: Whole grains, whole cereals, brown rice, wheat germ, oatmeal, almonds, nuts, seeds, legumes, black beans, kale, spinach, avocados, strawberries, pineapple
  • Molybdenum: Beans, cereals, breads, spinach, strawberries
  • Phosphorus: Grains, baked goods, nuts, almonds, dried beans, lentils, peas, peanuts, brown rice, avocados, spinach, vegetables, yeast
  • Potassium: Bananas, raisins, potatoes, sweet potatoes, winter squash, cauliflower, spinach, tomatoes, avocado, kiwi, dried fruits, melons, oranges, grapefruit, strawberries
  • Riboflavin: Yeast, whole grains, beans, wheat germ, broccoli, mushrooms, spinach
  • Selenium: Whole grains, brazil nuts, kidney beans, yeast
  • Zinc: Whole grains, pumpkins seeds, legumes, peas, lentils, garbanzo beans, soy products, sunflower seeds, nuts, yeast, wheat germ, maple syrup, spinach, collard greens, corn

**Note: Heme iron vs. non-heme iron

Heme iron comes from animal products, whereas, non-heme iron is found in plants.

The human body regulates non-heme iron absorption, keeping us safe from the ill effects of iron overload. Heme iron is less easily regulated, and as such, can be problematic as it is absorbed faster, and in higher quantities, than non-heme iron. It is because of this bulldozer effect that most people are under the impression that iron from meat is superior, however, more is not always better.

Unlike other nutrients which are discarded through urine/faeces when not needed, iron sticks around and is stored by the body. Women are able to release some of the excess stores through menstruation, however, this advantage is lost once menopause occurs. Excess iron is one of the culprits behind several degenerative diseases, including, but not limited to, arthritis, diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.

From Iron metabolism, free radicals, and oxidative injury (Emerit, 2001):

"In developed countries, few, if any, people die of iron deficiency, but an excess of iron storage could impose additional risks on many types of diseases. In American males, the iron stores increase almost linearly with age. Females, after menopause, accu- mulate iron at a rate comparable to that of males. It has been suggested that it is this difference in levels of stored iron that accounts for the gender difference of the mortality statistics for ischemic heart disease."

Iron accumulates in the brain as people age and is often implicated in neurodegenerative disease as a result. Iron chelation was found to reduce age related memory disfunctions.

Iron: The Double-Edged Sword

Iron encourages the formation of cancer-causing free radicals. Of course, the body needs a certain amount of iron for healthy blood cells. But beyond this rather small amount, iron becomes a dangerous substance, acting as a catalyst for the formation of free radicals. Because of this, research studies have shown that higher amounts of iron in the blood mean higher cancer risk.

Once iron is absorbed by the digestive tract, the body stores it. Most of us accumulate much more iron than we need. In spite of the advertising from iron supplement manufacturers, "iron overload" is much more common in America than iron deficiency. The reason is the daily diet of red meats, which contributes much more iron than most people can safely handle over the long run. A diet of grains, vegetables, fruits, and beans provides adequate iron, without the risk of overload.

It is easy to check whether your body has accumulated too much stored iron. The following set of tests will check for both iron deficiency and iron overload. The more general hemoglobin and hematocrit tests are not sufficient. Although general guidelines are given here, the tests should be interpreted by your doctor:

  • Serum ferritin (normal values are 12-200 mcg/l of serum)
  • Serum iron
  • Total iron binding capacity (TIBC)
Doctors divide the serum-iron value by the TIBC. The result should be 16 to 50 percent for women and 16 to 62 percent for men. Results above these norms indicate excess iron. Results below these norms indicate iron deficiency. A further test sometimes used to check for iron deficiency is the red cell protoporphyrin test. A result greater than 70 units is considered abnormal. If two of these three values (serum ferritin, serum iron/TIBC, and red cell protoporphyrin) are normal, iron-deficiency anemia is not likely. Serum iron and TIBC should be measured after fasting overnight.

Unfortunately, the body has no way to rid itself of excess iron. Believe it or not, the only way to predictably reduce excessive iron stores is by donating blood. So this altruistic act can have health benefits for the donor as well.



Disclaimer: The information contained in this Website is provided for general informational purposes only. It should not be relied upon as medical advice.

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