When it comes to oysters, you either love them or hate them. Oysters provide a ton of great health benefits, especially for those looking for high protein, low calories foods to help with weight loss, muscle gain, and body optimization. We’re going to cover the nutritional benefits of oysters and the advantages that these briny little morsels can provide for reaching your health and fitness goals.
What Are Oysters
Oysters are a large flat shellfish and one of the most popular food choices when it comes to seafood. Considered a delicacy, like lobster oysters are a bivalve mollusk that belong to the Ostreidae family. Chockfull of essential vitamins and nutrients, Oysters are packed with protein and provide numerous health benefits from minerals like zinc, copper, selenium, vitamin B12, Vitamin D, and Iron. Oysters are also a great source for omega-3 fatty acids, and antioxidants.
Oysters contain many valuable vitamins and minerals, such as selenium, potassium, magnesium, zinc, and copper. Like most seafood, such as lobster, shrimp, scallops, and fish, oysters are high in protein, low in calories, and rich with essential omega-3 fatty acids.
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According to the USDA Food Central Database, 100g of Raw Pacific Oysters contains
- Calories: 79
- Protein: 9 grams
- Carbs: 4 grams
- Fat: 3 grams
- Zinc: 555% of the Daily Value (DV)
- Vitamin B12: 538% of the DV
- Copper: 493% of the DV
- Selenium: 56% of the DV
- Iron: 40% of the DV
- Manganese: 20% of the DV
- Phosphorus: 12% of the DV
- Vitamin E: 9% of the DV
- Riboflavin: 9% of the DV
- Calcium: 7% of the DV
Oyster Nutrition Benefits
1. Rich With Zinc
One of the great benefits of oysters is that they are rich with zinc, accounting for 555% of the daily recommended value. Zinc is a mineral involved in maintaining the homeostatic integrity of human bodily functions, including immune efficiency and human metabolism. Zinc is also a cofactor for numerous enzymes including DNA and RNA replication protein structure, and protein synthesis.
Studies have found that zinc plays an integral biological role in enhancing natural testosterone levels, supporting immune system function, treating the common cold, and upper respiratory infection, and aiding in wound healing.
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2. Packed With Protein
Oysters are packed full of protein, which is a valuable macronutrient needed to build muscle mass and aid in weight loss. Protein has a greater thermic effect, meaning it naturally takes more caloric energy to burn it when you’re eating it. This process is collectively known as the thermic effect of food. Oysters contain 9g of protein per 100g serving. Protein also aids in the muscle protein synthesis or the muscle building process, supporting your health and fitness goals.
3. Contain Unique Micronutrients And Antioxidants
Oysters contain a unique antioxidant called 3,5-Dihydroxy-4-methoxybenzyl alcohol (DHMBA). DHMBA is a phenol that contains powerful antioxidant properties. Studies have shown that DHMBA is nearly 15 times more powerful protecting against oxidative stress than Trolox, a synthetic form of Vitamin E, and can help reduce oxidation and buildup of LDL cholesterol [R].
Another study suggests that DHMBA might be useful in the prevention and treatment of liver diseases by involving an oxidation process [R]. DHMBA is a recently discovered compound and antioxidant isolated from the Pacific oyster (Crassostrea gigas), and more studies need to be conducted for further investigation into the therapeutic applications of DHMBA.
4. Bone Health
Oysters contain key micronutrients that can benefit bone health, such as vitamin d, and high levels of calcium phosphorus, zinc, iron, copper, and selenium. A recent study on bone growth revealed that both oyster extract and taurine, a main component of oysters, can improve various bone parameters including bone volume/tissue volume, trabecular thickness, and trabecular number and can increase growth plate thickness in an in vivo mouse model [R].
Epidemiologic studies have also shown a positive correlation between consumption of shellfish and bone mass density. A study which included over 10,000 survey participants, showed a positive correlation between the consumption of fish and shellfish and bone mineral density (BMD) of the total femur, femoral neck, and lumbar spine in Koreans, with a lower risk of osteoporosis [R].
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Oyster Benefits: Takeaway
Although oysters are perhaps one of, if not the most polarizing food, if you love them, they can provide you with stockpiles of potential health benefits. Oysters, are rich in essential vitamins and nutrients, not to mention they’re a great choice if you’re looking to keep that lean physique and keep off any extra lbs. Studies have shown that oysters benefit bone health, weight loss, and overall quality of life. If you’re feeling like you need a change to your weekly meal prep, or want to have a fancy dinner, oysters are a great catch.
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