Whether you like them raw, baked, boiled, grilled or fried, oysters are a nutritional powerhouse! I posted my recipe for oyster stew last week which will definitely become part of my menu planning. But, as I thought about the expense of oysters, I decided to do some research and find out exactly how good oysters are for you.
Here are some benefits of eating oysters:
1. Oysters contain more zinc than any other food.
Zinc is necessary for proper growth and development, strengthens the immune system and promotes healing.
2. Oysters are heart healthy.
They are high in omega – 3 fatty acids, potassium and magnesium which can help reduce your risk of heart attack, stroke and lower blood pressure.
3. Oysters can help you lose weight!
They are low in calories, low in fat and a good source of protein which makes you feel fuller after eating.
4. Oysters are a good source of other essential nutrients.
These include vitamins A, E, and C, zinc, iron, calcium, selenium, and vitamin B12.
5. Oysters can help improve your energy.
They are a good source of iron which helps the body transport oxygen to individual cells giving you more energy.
6. Oysters can help lower your cholesterol.
A study done by the University of Washington found that eating oysters can help raise the HDLs (good cholesterol levels) and lower the LDL’s (bad cholesterol levels).
Other interesting tidbits about oysters:
1. Oysters taste better in cooler weather.
Spawning, which occurs in the warmer months of May, June, July and August, affects the taste. They are not bad, just not as tasty as in the cooler months.
2. Oysters are considered to be an aphrodisiac.
American and Italian researchers found that they were rich in amino acids which trigger increased levels of sex hormones. Their high zinc content aids the production of testosterone.
3. Oysters can be safely eaten in non “R” months.
The rule of thumb before refrigeration was not to eat oysters in months whose names have no “R”. This would be May through August when the hot weather would not allow for safe storage of the oysters. Thankfully, for all us oyster lovers, refrigeration makes it possible to eat them all year round!
4. Oysters are good for your garden.
Oyster shells are high in calcium which helps balance your soil’s pH. Calcium also helps build strong cell walls which leads to healthier plants. BUT – don’t just throw your oyster shells in the garden though, they should be ground – or you could just purchase the ground oyster shell lime at the local garden center.
5. Oysters can contain harmful bacteria.
Be sure of your source! Oysters are filter feeders meaning that they concentrate anything present in the surrounding water. In the gulf coast area, there would occasionally be warnings (after heavy rains causing the potential for water contamination), not to eat the bay seafood.
6. Shucking (opening) oysters is a competitive sport.
Shucking oyster competitions are held worldwide. There is even a Guinness World Oyster Opening Championship in Galway, Ireland.
7. Eating oysters is environmentally friendly.
They are on the Seafood Watch list as a “best choice”. This means that seafood in this category is abundant, well-managed and caught or farmed in environmentally friendly ways.