Fish, in general, brings about some fantastic benefits to the body, but shellfish in particular, has some unique advantages of its own. From lowering blood cholesterol to supporting the joints, there are many ways in which shellfish could potentially improve your health.
Lowers Blood Cholesterol
Foods that are high in omega-3 fatty acids but low in saturated fat are fantastic for the heart, and seafood falls into this category. Studies have shown that certain shellfish, such as clams, crab, mussels and oysters, are even able to lower the blood’s cholesterol levels, by decreasing the way in which it is absorbed into the body, while also protecting the heart from disease.
The omega-3 fatty acids in seafood are extremely beneficial to the joints, and fish has been proven to help with conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. While some shellfish, such as scallops and mussels, are high in purine and will only exacerbate arthritic conditions, there are others, including crab, lobster and oyster, that will help to soothe any aching joints.
High Concentrations of Zinc
Certain types of shellfish are absolutely packed with zinc, with oysters in particular, having the highest concentration of zinc in comparison to every other food out there. Zinc is a hugely important mineral within the body, and is needed to regulate cell production within the immune system. By adding oysters to your diet, you will be giving your immune and digestive systems a massive boost, while also reducing stress, increasing energy, and controlling diabetes.
In addition to zinc, shellfish contains several other essential nutrients that the body needs in order to thrive. From iodine that protects the thyroid gland to selenium that helps to prevent cancer, the nutrients found in shellfish have some fantastic health benefits. Shellfish is also a great source of many vitamins, especially vitamins A and D, and also contains large quantities of potassium.
Low in Calories
Most shellfish is low in calories, but still contains high levels of protein and other nutrients. For this reason, they are a great food for those who are trying to manage their weight but still want to be consuming adequate quantities of other nutrients.
The main downside to shellfish is that they tend to cause the worst allergic reactions when compared to other seafood, with around seven million Americans currently allergic to shellfish. There is also the risk of consuming contaminants, which come into contact with the fish in the water, although this is relatively simple to avoid by paying attention to updated health advisories. Food borne illnesses are also a concern when it comes to shellfish, but, again, this can be avoided by ensuring that your shellfish is cooked through, and always purchasing it from a reputable source.
Just like with all of the other foods you eat, shellfish, and other seafood, should be eaten in moderation, but can really contribute to making your diet much healthier. Different types of shellfish have their own unique levels of nutrients and minerals, and bring different benefits to the body, so if you are hoping to target a specific issue, it would be well worth researching shellfish in more depth.