To people who’ve tried them, mention of oysters either inspires a weird, displeased expression or one of pure rapture. I’m in the latter group. To me, the health benefits of oysters are a wonderful bonus.
I adore oysters raw, steamed, fried, or added to other recipes. Their flavor depends on the region where they’re harvested but they always have a mildly salty undertone. Texture depends on how they’re prepared – and it’s probably the one thing that holds them back from being as popular as shrimp or clams.
I’ve tried oysters from many regions but I fell in love with those from Prince Edward Island, a tiny province off the eastern coast of Canada. Malpeques are affordable, light-bodied, and clean. A bit of sweetness with a tang of brine, they’re simply delicious.
Aphrodisiac Benefits of Oysters
Most people have heard that oysters boost your sex drive. Scientists with Barry University and the Laboratory of Neurobiology in Naples verified this rumor in 2005 when they presented their research to peers. They credited improved libido to the high zinc content and the presence of a rare amino acids in the mollusks.
D-aspartic acid (D-Asp) and N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) are uncommon amino acids when it comes to natural foods. You won’t find them in vitamin supplements.
Injecting these substances in laboratory rats showed measurable improvement in sex hormones in both genders. There was improved testosterone production in male rats and improved progesterone production in female rats.
The zinc content of oysters (some of the highest found in nature) is also a huge benefit. Zinc deficiency has been linked to erectile dysfunction, flagging libido, and infertility in men. This essential mineral is also helpful to the overall health of ovaries.
There’s one small caveat. For your libido, you have to eat them raw. Heat preparation drastically reduces the presence of these amino acids.
Weight Loss Benefits of Oysters
These underappreciated little gifts from the sea are one of the most nutrient-dense foods you can eat. Their low caloric (less than 50 calories for 6 medium raw oysters) content doesn’t diminish their powerful vitamin, mineral, and omega-3 fatty acid content. They’re naturally low-fat and low-cholesterol. They’re higher in sodium than most nutrient-dense foods but eaten in moderation as part of an overall healthy eating regimen, oysters shouldn’t cause a problem.
Heart Health Benefits of Oysters
Omega-3 fatty acid content in oysters (and other delicious seafood) is outstanding for your heart. It’s been shown to reduce LDL “bad” cholesterol and help prevent it from forming plaque on arterial walls.
The presence of substantial potassium, vitamin E, iron, and magnesium in oysters is also great for the hardest working muscle in your body. These nutrients help to lower blood pressure naturally and keep your blood vessels and membranes supple and relaxed. They also help improve circulation and help in the production of red blood cells.
Oysters are a great part of a heart-healthy diet!Oysters are a great part of a heart-healthy diet!Click To Tweet
Powerful Energy Benefits of Oysters
Seriously. Oysters are packed with good stuff. Everything from your bones to your immune system utilize what they offer. That means better, more efficient energy from head to toe.
- Zinc (500% of your daily requirement)
- Protein (30% of your daily requirement)
- Iron (90% of your daily requirement)
- Omega-3 fatty acids
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin B12 (300% of your daily requirement)
- Vitamin D (one of the few food sources)
This combination of vitamins and minerals (a rare combination) boosts your overall energy but also helps your system repair damaged tissue, improve muscle strength, and helps you produce new cells more efficiently.
Basically, oysters are a truly “complete” food that is going to give you the fuel you need to keep going all day. If you already enjoy them, even better!Oysters are a “complete” food that is going to give you the fuel you need to keep going all day!Click To Tweet
An Awesome Ocean Filtration System
Recently, the general public found out how that oysters benefit the environment as well! They naturally filter out dead algae and excess nitrogen, making water remarkably cleaner in their neighborhood. Harvesting them responsibly means they can keep doing their job of making ocean water cleaner. They’re so good at this job that scientists are studying them for sustainable ways to filter drinking water that involves fewer chemicals.
A Few Words of Caution
If you have a shellfish allergy, oysters must be avoided entirely! They will stimulate the same allergic reaction as other foods in this family. If you’ve had a reaction to shellfish in the past, please do not eat lobster, shrimp, sea snails, oysters, clams, mussels, scallops, or crayfish.
Also, though Casanova was rumored to consume 50 raw oysters every morning for breakfast (what originally started their aphrodisiac reputation), that’s honestly too much. All foods should be consumed in moderation with a balance of other foods. Eating so many could give your body too much zinc and sodium.
Oysters take on the qualities of where they live just like every food taken from the land or sea. Quality is important. I tried the Prince Edward Island oysters (along with another from Maine that was also delicious) at my favorite farm-to-table restaurant which adheres to the strictest policies regarding food sourcing, quality, and preparation.
Other than that, you should definitely give these tasty mollusks a try.
The health benefits of oysters make them a great choice for your body…but you might be like me and make that face of pure happiness when you taste them.