What is the healthiest diet? If you’re looking to cut down on meat consumption—but becoming vegetarian or vegan feels like too big of a jump—a Pesco-Mediterranean diet might be your best bet.

The mostly plant-based diet can still satisfy your animal protein fix, while offering a host of benefits to promote a healthier lifestyle.

So what’s in a Pesco-Mediterranean Diet and is it really the best choice for your health?

The Healthiest Diet

A Pesco-Mediterranean diet is essentially the Mediterranean diet combined with fish and seafood as your main animal food sources. A Mediterranean diet (made mostly of plant-based foods, with olive oil being the primary source of added fat) is based on the traditional cuisines of Greece, Italy and other countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea, the Mayo Clinic explains.

A typical Mediterranean diet pattern entails the following key aspects, according to the Mayo Clinic. The foundation of a Pesco-Mediterranean diet usually consists of:

• vegetables,
• fruits,
• nuts,
• seeds,
• legumes,
• whole grains,
• extra-virgin olive oil,
• fish,
• seafood and
• fermented dairy products.

Pesco-Mediterranean Diet Health Benefits

• As it entails eating more fish and seafood, the Pesco-Mediterranean diet reduces your meat consumption, including red meat and processed meats, which are both “pro-inflammatory” and raise “bad” LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol levels.

• Red and processed meats are a significant source of saturated fat. Processed meats tend to be high in sodium and other additives that may dilute nutritional quality.

• On the opposite spectrum, fish intake, often attributed to the healthier fats, have been shown to decrease coronary artery disease and sudden cardiac death and may also benefit other systems in our body such as brain health and lowering cancer risk.

• Fatty fish (such as mackerel, herring, sardines, albacore tuna and salmon) are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are polyunsaturated fats that help fight inflammation in the body.

• Consuming red and processed meat in greater quantity and/or frequency has been linked to a greater risk of cardiovascular disease and colon cancer.

• The Mayo Clinic says the omega-3 fatty acids found in fatty fish help reduce triglycerides (a type of fat in your blood) and blood clotting as well as the risk of stroke and heart failure.

Click here to read more about the world’s healthiest diet.