Oysters are small and delicious morsels that do not require chewing. This sea food is packed with high-quality nutrition that includes protein, minerals, antioxidants and vitamins. The remarkable nutrition facts of this superfood show its ability to protect against the risk of several diseases. In this article, we will review the oyster health benefits and risks of consuming oysters as well as the right cooking method to get maximum nutrition from them.
If you prefer watching video than reading, then here is a video about Oyster benefits for you.
What are Oysters?
Oysters are saltwater mollusks that have two valves in them. They are rigid shells that have no fixed shape. These shells hide and protect a plump inner meat of gray color. This meat is the most important part of the Oyster where lies all the nutrition.
These mollusks live in oceans and bays and forms an essential component of our ecosystem. They have the ability to filter out pollutants from the water and provide environment for other species to survive in water.
Types of Oysters
Before jumping straight to Oyster Health Benefits, lets learn some useful information about this delicious sea food. Oyster is a flavorful meat that comes in several different types. People from all parts of the world love this delicacy. Well-known for its aphrodisiac qualities, oysters offer a lot in terms of health advantages. Typically, there are five common types of oysters available in the market. These varieties impart a different taste based on the water in which they are cultivated.
- Atlantic Oysters are salty and crisp.
- European Flat Oysters have a smooth flat shell and lovely seaweed and sharp mineral taste.
- Pacific Oysters are small and sweet. They are the most popular and most cultivated oysters in the world.
- Olympia Oysters have got a mild, sweet and meaty taste.
- Kumamoto Oysters are very small, nutty and deep in shape and size.
All these varieties of oysters are graded and sold on the basis of their size. They come in different sizes that includes gallon, pint, 8-ounce and 12-ounce.
Nutrition Facts of Oysters
As Oysters are a massive storehouse of organic compounds, vitamins and minerals, they come with amazing health benefits. They have significant amounts of iron, protein, copper, zinc, vitamin D, Vitamin C, niacin, riboflavin and phosphorus in it.
Oysters are dense in a beneficial antioxidant and heart healthy cholesterol and polyunsaturated fats named “Omega-3 fatty acids”. These qualities make it not less than a superfood. Oysters also aids in boosting the overall health and functioning of the body.
100 grams of Atlantic oysters come with the following nutrients:
Protein: 6 grams
Fat: 2.5 grams
Thiamine or Vitamin B1: 6% of the Reference Daily Intake
Vitamin B12: 320% of the RDI
Vitamin D: 75% of the RDI
Niacin or vitamin B3: 6% of the RDI
Copper: 215% of the RDI
Magnesium: 13% of the RDI
Zinc: 590% of the RDI
Iron: 40% of the RDI
Selenium: 85% of the RDI
Phosphorus: 16% of the RDI
Manganese: 17% of the RDI
Low in calories and rich in nutrition, Oyster has high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids in it that aids in the regulation of inflammation. These fats reduce the chances of developing health conditions that includes Type 2 diabetes and heart ailment.
Let us see the role of different nutrients in that benefits your body
- Vitamin B12: This nutrient ensures sound functioning and maintenance of the nervous system of the body. It ensures healthy metabolism and growth of blood cells in the body.
- Zinc: This mineral boost immunity, cell growth and metabolism in the body.
- Selenium: It is vital for maintaining proper functioning of the thyroid gland and metabolic activities in the body. Selenium is a potent antioxidant, that prevents cellular destruction caused due to free radicals in the body.
- Vitamin D: Vitamin D is critical for promoting healthy immunity system, bone health and cellular growth in the body.
- This nutrient facilitates hemoglobin / red blood cells to transport adequate amounts of oxygen to each and every cell of the body.
In addition to essential minerals and vitamins, oysters are a great source of antioxidant. Selenium is a potent antioxidant that safeguards the body against the oxidative stress. This is a condition that occurs when excess amounts of free radicals get secreted in the body. It is the cause behind several types of life-threatening ailments in the body such as cancer, mental decline, liver ailments and heart disease.
Vitamins B12, Vitamin D and zinc exhibits antioxidant effects, that boosts the protective advantages of oysters. People who consume an antioxidant rich diet are protected against heart disease, specific types of cancers and diabetes.
Protein: Oysters is an excellent source of superior-quality lean protein. It is a complete protein source that comprise of nine important amino acids that is needed by your body on a daily basis. High protein diet leads to greater loss of weight in the body.
Addition of protein to your snacks and meals help in controlling blood glucose and reducing hemoglobin A1c and triglyceride levels in the body. It promotes fullness and aids in healthy weight reduction in the body. This makes oysters a healthy inclusion for people suffering from obesity, cardiac disease and diabetes.
Oyster Health Benefits
There are plenty of reasons why you should incorporate oysters in your diet. Firstly, they taste delicious and can be enjoyed in various forms. Secondly, they are rich in nutritional content and are linked to several types of health benefits. Here is what the research talks about the therapeutic benefits of this seafood.
1. Weight Loss
The exquisite flavor of oysters is enjoyed mostly in the form of a main course, or as an appetizer. It is a low calorie and high protein meat that gives you a sense of satiety, reduce food consumption and helps in shedding off unwanted weight from the body.
Protein helps in impacting various appetite hormones and, in turn, reduces consumption of calorie dense foods that have less nutritional content in it. This lean source of meat also has minimal amounts of carbs and fats in it that makes it a great alternative to unhealthy red meat.
2. Heart Health
Compared to other animal-based foods, oysters have substantial amounts of healthy fat or omega-3 fatty acids that is good for your heart. This compound works by lowering the possibilities of accumulation of plaque in the blood vessels. The high vitamin E content boosts cell health and protect against heart ailment. In this way it enhances cardiovascular health of a person.
3. Blood Pressure
Oysters are a good source of magnesium and potassium that aids in bringing down high blood pressure. The rich content of iron helps in building more red blood cells in the body, enhances metabolism, blood flow and prevents anemia. With better circulation of blood, the different cells of the body get adequate amount of oxygen and nutrition.
4. Bone Strength
Oysters have plenty of healthy minerals that helps in making your bones strong and dense. Presence of phosphorus, calcium, zinc, iron and selenium aids in the improving durability of bones in the body. These components suppress the buildup of osteoclasts that causes loss and breakdown of bones. High calcium and protein content in oysters helps in protecting your body from osteoporosis.
Oysters are loaded with effective antioxidants like Vitamin E and Vitamin C that protects the cells from destruction due to free radicals induced oxidative stress in the body. In this way, eating oysters reduce possibilities of premature aging and heart ailment. These antioxidants, along with zinc, helps in strengthening the defense system in the body.
Oyster health benefits are not limited to heart and bones but it is also considered an ideal nutritional supplement that boosts your sexual powers. Due to high zinc content, oysters are recognized as an effective aphrodisiac that enhances masculinity and sexual drive in men.
7. Prevents Anemia
Compared to other seafoods and plant-based foods, Oysters have more iron and vitamin B12 that prevents the chances of iron deficiency in the body. Presence of vitamin B12 also reduces the oversizing of blood cells in the body that is referred to as “macrocytic anemia”.
Possible Risks involved in consumption of Oysters
Though Oysters presents impressive health advantages, eating them in raw form can pose you series of side effects.
- Raw oysters can get contaminated with bacteria named Vibrio vulnificus 12 that is known to cause cholera. When bacteria are ingested, it can result in food-borne illnesses such as vomiting, diarrhea, fever and abdominal pain. The infection can turn out to be devastating in people who already suffer from liver disease or have compromised immunity system.
- This bacterium gets into the blood and can lead to a serious form of blood infection, “septicemia”, that can even take the life of a person. When you eat it in undercooked or raw form, you are at a risk of contracting a viral disorder named hepatitis that can impact the liver.
- There is a possibility that antibiotics can interact with high content of zinc present in the oyster. Due to this reason, it is advised to always maintain a gap of few hours from the time you eat oysters and take antibiotic medications.
- People who have existing illnesses such as diabetes, steroid dependency, HIV, alcoholism, hemochromatosis, cancer and specific type of bowel, or stomach ailment diseases should never eat undercooked oysters. This seafood in raw form is also not ideal for consumption by pregnant or lactating mothers.
- In addition to bacteria, these mollusks may have chemical contaminants, that includes heavy metals such as cadmium, mercury and lead in it. If these toxins get ingested, then it can lead to life-threatening illnesses in the body.
- Some people can experience Shellfish allergies that are initiated by coming in contact to oysters. Some of the symptoms are eczema, hives, anaphylaxis. If you observe any of these symptoms then you should get yourself checked by a doctor.
As oysters are rich in zinc, consumption of it in large amounts can lead to buildup of minerals in the body. This exceptionally high levels of zinc can lead to zinc toxicity that cause low levels of iron and copper in the body as zinc competes with these minerals for absorption.
Safe Way to Consume Oysters to obtain Oyster Health Benefits
As we have seen that Oysters if eaten raw can pose a lot of health risks. So, it is essential that you thoroughly cook them to destroy harmful bacteria contained in it. If you want to get Oyster health benefits then it is very important that it is cooked and consumed in correct way.
Open the Oyster by using a shucking knife and a thick towel and cook it. To save your time and energy, you can easily buy shucked Oyster at local stores.
You can choose your own method of cooking. Some of the delicious and healthy ways to eat them is in smoked, fried, baked, grilled, or steamed form. Steaming is by far the best way to eat Oysters as it locks in all the healthy fats and nutrition in it.
Now let us see some tempting and easy ways to add oysters to your meal:
- Add thoroughly cooked oyster meat to your pasta dishes.
- If you want to eat them in fried form, then coat raw oyster in bread crumbs and fry them. Coconut oil is a healthy preference when it comes selecting the oil for cooking.
- Add them to your stews and soups. To add some flavour, you can even season it with some fresh herbs.
- Steam your oyster and top it with butter and lemon juice to make it more flavorful.
- Cut oyster in two equal halves and dip it in your choice of marinade. Now roast them on the grill.
Though you may find oysters delicious and super healthy, do not over-eat them. Practice moderation. You can eat them regularly, but do not rely only on it for your daily nutrition. Include other foods like chicken, eggs, fish, etc. in your diet to get complete nutrition.
How to Buy the Right Oysters?
To get the maximum benefit from oysters, you need to buy the best quality oysters. Here are a few guidelines that will help you get the right one.
- Always consider a reputable brand
- Only buy the ones that comes with closed shells.
- According to the FDA, oysters that do not open at the time of cooking needs to be discarded.
- Do not cook several oysters at one time. This is because overcrowding can result in undercooked oysters that can cause health hazards.
- Choose fresh oysters that are grown and processed in adherence to safety guidelines. Look for an authenticity stamp or seal on it before buying it.
- Store fresh oysters in refrigerated at around 40 degrees Fahrenheit or less till the time you do not cook it, or add it to your dishes.
- At the time of cooking them, ensure that the temperature is kept at 145 degrees. Once cooked, you can store the dish in the freezer, or refrigerator.
Oysters is a type of nutritious shellfish that offers a wide range of health benefits. Raw oysters could be potentially dangerous due to high concentration of harmful bacteria in it. It is therefore important to cook them in the right way to avoid infection. If you love seafood, then try adding these nutrient-dense and delicious mollusks to your diet to obtain oyster health benefits.
If you liked this post, then do share it with your friends on social media. Also, you can write to us any of your queries, suggestions and comments. We will be happy to address them soon.