Yes, we will talk about oysters!
Of course, we know some of you relish them raw, others fried or served on the half-shell, and some more of you baulk at the thought of shovelling something slimy and briny down their throats!
Oysters are a generic name given to several families of salt-water molluscs that thrive in marine or brackish waters and several varieties of which are commonly used for human consumption.
But whatever love-hate relationship you may have with oysters, or whatever your culinary preferences, there are enough reasons to give them the admiration they deserve.
Low in fat and calories, protein-rich oysters, with their rich store of omega-3 fatty acids, iron, zinc, calcium, selenium and vitamins A, E, C and B12 provide a host of health and nutritional benefits.
Rich in Protein
We all know that protein is the building block of our body and it is absolutely indispensable for healthy muscles, skin and cells, tissue repair and immune system. A daily intake of protein is very essential because unlike carbohydrates, our body is incapable of storing protein.
Including oysters in your diet can do wonders for your daily protein requirement without shooting up your fat intake. A daily helping of oysters (a 6 ounce portion) can provide about 27% of our daily protein need.
Packed with Iron
Iron deficiency in the body causes a number of diseases, the most common being anaemia. Iron is very essential for your body to regulate your body temperature, strengthen the immune system and produce haemoglobin, which is the carrier of oxygen from the lungs to the body’s cells.
A medium-size or 50 gm oyster contains about 14% iron. Depending on whether you are a male or female and your age, you can include one serving of oysters in your daily diet.
Loaded with Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega 3 fatty acids, found mainly in fishes, is good for your skin, vision, heart, brain, joints and helps to lower LDL or bad cholesterol levels.
This essential nutrient can –
- Keeps your joints lubricated.
- Brings down the soreness in red and inflamed joints.
- It controls acne and is helpful for all types of skin.
- An adequate dose of Omega-3 replenishes the fat cells and keeps wrinkles at bay.
- Maintains the health of your liver, which affects the health of your eyes too. Omega-3 fatty acids help to convert the fat-soluble vitamins that are required to maintain the layers of membranes that protect your retina.
- Regulates your heartbeat, reduces triglycerides and even lowers blood pressure.
- Gives a fillip to HDL (or good cholesterol) levels and clears up clogged arteries.
- Boosts the brain. The immediate effect of opening up your arteries is to improve brain function.
The daily requirement of Omega-3 fatty acids is 1000 mg for adult female and 600 mg for adult male. In every 100 gm of oysters, that is about 6 small oysters contain about 740 mg of Omega-3.
Packed with Calcium
Every 100 gms of oysters contain about 62mg of calcium. Studies have shown that calcium requirement for adults, starting from 19 years of age is 1000 mg per day, with 2000 mg being the upper limit.
So, including oysters in your daily diet will add a certain percentage of your daily calcium requirement. Calcium not only gives you strong bones and teeth but helps in blood clotting, keeps your joints free of arthritis and inflammation, helps in muscle contraction and in the communication between your brain and nerves. It also regulates blood pressure and reduces the risks of colon cancer.
Loaded with Minerals
Oysters contain some essential minerals like zinc and selenium. Zinc is a nutrient that cannot be stored in our body and so, it has to be ingested on a daily basis. Zinc is essential to us to help maintain a healthy immune system, our olfactory and gustatory senses and to help fight illnesses and heal wounds.
The daily zinc requirement of our body is 8-11 mg and a single serving of oysters (6 medium oysters) contain 76.7 mg of zinc, which is more than 100% of what is required.
Selenium is required by the body in very small quantities to make antioxidant enzymes which are special proteins that play a role in preventing cell damage.
Loaded with Vitamins
Oysters are one of the foremost sources of a number of vitamins such as –
- Vitamin B12: This vitamin present in oysters is essential for producing red blood cells and DNA and maintaining healthy nails, skin and hair. It is also linked to a reduced risk of diabetes, depression, osteoporosis and some types of cancer.
- Vitamins C and E: They produce a powerful antioxidant activity and also help our cardiovascular system stay healthy.
- Vitamin A: It helps create and maintain healthy skin, teeth, mucus membranes and soft tissues.
The presence of these vitamins, calcium, iron, protein, and trace elements in oysters make them fall in the category of a super food!
However, oysters have to be eaten in moderation. It is best to consult your doctor to decide on the frequency or amount of consumption, because your medical conditions and the requirements of your body are unique.
Madhurima is a digital marketing specialist, editor and content marketer. She is also a published writer on the web. When she is not working, she is either travelling or writing her travel stories to share to the world. She believes in inspiring people to travel and shares her travel diary on her travel blog, mangoladydiaries.com.
Latest posts by Madhurima (see all)