If you’re an avid lover of seafood, then you know it’s a great source of protein, loaded with vitamins, minerals, and low in calories. Mussels a type of sea mollusk are nutritious and loaded with potential health benefits. We’re going to talk more about the benefits of mussels, if they are good for you, and why you may want to select them as your next appetizer.
What Are Mussels
There are many types of mussels, both freshwater and saltwater, but the variety that is most popular or that you’ll find at your favorite seafood restaurant, is the blue mussel. Mussels have many beneficial components, such as healthy poly-unsaturated fats (PUFAs) as well as EPA, DHA, lean protein, vitamins, and minerals.
According to the USDA Food Central Database, 100g of cooked Blue Mussels contains
- Calories: 172
- Protein:24 grams
- Carbs: 7 grams
- Fat:5 grams
- Vitamin C: 22% of the DV
- Magnesium: 9% of the DV
- Vitamin B6: 5% of the DV
- Vitamin B12 (cobalamin): 850% of the DV
- Iron: 37% of the DV
- Manganese: 268% of the DV
- Selenium: 120% of the DV
- Zinc: 20% of the DV
3 Mussel Benefits
1. High In Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 also known as cobalamin, is an essential vitamin that aids in red blood cell formulation, energy, and mood. Studies have shown that Vitamin B12 may support bone health and prevent osteoporosis. An observational study with 110 patients with celiac disease found that Vitamin B12 is a significant determinant in bone mineral density [R].
Vitamin B12 has also been shown to have a role in serotonin metabolism, a hormone responsible for regulating mood. Therefore, Vitamin B12 deficiency could lead to depressed mood state [R].
2. High In Protein
Mussels, like other types of seafood, is high in protein. Protein is a critical macronutrient which is responsible for building muscle mass, maintaining your muscle, and aiding in the muscle recovery process after exercise. Protein is also low in calories, with only 4 calories per gram, and does not spike blood glucose levels, making muscles an ideal food source for body recomposition, (losing body fat and gaining muscle mass).
Just a handful of mussels on your dinner plate is going to provide 24g of protein per 100g serving. More protein in your diet will help maintain lean muscle mass, improve metabolism, and help maintain a healthy weight and body composition.
3. Rich in Omega-3
Mussels are rich in healthy fats, specifically monounsaturated (MUFA) and polyunsaturated (PUFA) fatty acids along with docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA).
Studies have shown that seafood and scallops can have a positive effect on heart health. The human body requires both groups of essential fatty acids (omega-3 and omega-6) to survive, however the typical modern-day diet, is much higher in Omega-6 fatty acids than Omega-3. Since they are essential, omega-3s must be obtained from your diet or through supplementation.
Omega 3 fatty acids have been clinically proven to improve cardiovascular function by improving hypertension, raising HDL (good cholesterol) and lowering LDL (bad cholesterol). Omega-3s also aid in lowering blood pressure and combating inflammation within the artery walls.
Several large-scale studies have found lowered risks of heart disease amongst those with higher omega-3 in their diets. A study of more than 63,000 participants found that individuals with higher amounts of omega-3 fatty acids in their diet, had a 17% reduced risk of cardiovascular events and mortality rates [R].
Omega-3 have also been found to improve joint health. Because omega-3s fight inflammation, their role in rheumatoid arthritis has been extensively studied. Several large-scale studies have found that EPA and DHA can help in reducing joint pain, inflammation, as may improve mobility [R].
Mussels and other seafood mollusks contain a high amount of beneficial fatty acids and can help in maintaining heathy heart and joint function.
Are Mussels Good For You: Takeaway
Whether you throw them in a tasty Paella or as an appetizer at your favorite sushi restaurant, mussels are a solid choice when it comes to overall nutrition and macronutrient makeup. Loaded with healthy fats, lean protein, essential vitamins and minerals, and low in calories, they can help in building more muscle, losing body fat, and improving overall health and wellness. The bottom line, is that mussels are not only good for you, they are great for you.
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