I’m a huge seafood lover, and at the top of my list are shellfish. Sure, I love having a nice salmon filet just like the rest of you, but I’m a big fan of filling my belly with delicious sea creatures like lobster (when I can afford it!) or having some shrimp.
As covered in the two linked posts in the previous paragraph, shellfish are pretty amazing nutritionally. They are dense in lean protein, though are very low in fat. This makes them a great choice to fill your belly so you don’t overeat on other more unhealthy options while having a delicious dish and not going overboard on calories.
What Health Benefits Do Shellfish Have?
Outside of being high protein, low calorie, there are a number of other health properties that make shellfish a necessity in your diet. I will note, however, how you prepare and serve shellfish dishes can ruin all the benefits. For instance, drowning your lobster tail in butter!
Before I get into that, let’s define shellfish. They are split into two categories:
With that out of the way, let’s get into what adding these to your diet can do for you.
Low in Fat
This was already said above but deserves repeating. And again, worth repeating, how you prepare these dishes is very important to the nutritional value of the meal. You can steam or boil shellfish, as opposed to frying them, to keep the cholesterol level down. Deep frying these foods can more than triple the number of calories per serving.
High in Protein
Shellfish are a great source of amino acids that make proteins in your body. This particular class of seafood is a great dietary source of lean protein. Unlike other proteins, shellfish lack connective tissue that makes it easier to digest.
While there is the stigma of staying away from cholesterol to keep your heart healthy, there is such a thing as “good cholesterol” and “bad cholesterol”.
Shellfish have a moderate to high amount of dietary cholesterol (HDL), which is healthier than saturated fat cholesterol (LDL).
The cholesterol in shellfish does not raise your total cholesterol level as much as saturated fats do, keeping your heart health in check.
Rich in Nutrients
There are so many essential vitamins and minerals found in these delicious sea creatures, it’s almost like taking a multivitamin supplement. One serving of shellfish can provide you with a healthy dose of the following:
All of these nutrients play vital roles in many body functions, not to mention your overall health in general. Zinc plays a key role in the healing of wounds, while iron can combat anemia. Your immune system is strengthened by copper, as well as providing a boost of energy.
As the daily recommended value for each of these minerals is rather small, in terms of milligrams, a serving of any shellfish can easily provide you with your daily nutrition of these minerals.