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Is Shellfish Good for You?

seafood market shellfish counterHave you ever wondered if the lobster tail or crab legs you love to indulge in are good for you? Or, if there are any health benefits to eating a bowl of delicious mussels? If you have, we have good news. There are health benefits to all of these foods!

Even though the benefits of eating shellfish aren’t talked about as much as the benefits of fin fish, they are just as good for you.  If you are on a lean meat or low calorie diet, eating shellfish may be more advantageous than eating a rich fish like salmon or mackerel.

Shellfish are Perfect for a Low Calorie Diet

When you compare different types of fish, it is easy to see that shellfish are usually lower in calories. Blue crabs have the lowest amount of calories with only 90 calories in a 3 oz serving. Steamed mussels have the largest amount of calories with 150 calories in a 3 oz serving. The rest fall in between. In contrast, a 3 oz serving of Mackerel is 190 calories. Wild Alaskan King Salmon can have as much as 200 calories in a 3 oz. serving. A 3 oz serving of steak can have up to 230 calories. The low calories in shellfish make them a smart choice for anyone who is trying to reduce their intake of calories.

Shellfish are a Great Source of Lean Protein

Protein is an important nutrient because it helps our bodies build muscles through stimulating new cell growth. It also aids in the production of antibodies, enzymes and hormones. Shellfish are an excellent source of lean protein. Most types of shellfish have approximately the same amount of protein as other types of fish and meat at around 20 grams per serving but far less fat. Scallops offer the highest amount of protein at 29 grams per serving. Most shellfish have only 1 gram of fat per serving while other fish range from 4 grams to 15 grams.

Shellfish are a Good Source of Essential Nutrients

The key nutrients that many people hope to get from eating fish are omega-3 fatty acids. These essential amino acids have many benefits from improved sight to improved cardiovascular health. Fin fish aren’t the only seafood with these heart healthy fatty acids. Shellfish are also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids. Oysters, mussels and crab have almost as much omega-3 fatty acids content as herring and mackerel (which have the highest amount).

The nutritional value of shellfish doesn’t stop there. Shellfish are also rich in vitamin B-12, zinc and copper along with other minerals. Vitamin B-12, or cobalamin, is important because our bodies need it to fight cancer growth since it controls gene activity and ensures healthy cell behavior. It’s also important for red blood cell function and good nerve function. Zinc and copper are both used by our bodies to produce energy and supports the immune system. Eating 1 to 2 servings of shellfish a week can help you get many of the hard-to-find essential nutrients you need.

Popular Types of Shellfish

Lobsters

fresh seafood and lobster prepared to sell

Crabs

Prawns

Shrimp

Crawfish

Scallops

Oysters

Mussels

Octopus

Don’t feel guilty the next time you order shellfish! Like other types of seafood, shellfish are a smart addition to your diet. Eating 1 to 2 servings per week can improve your health.

Stop by our fish counter to pick up shellfish to make a heart healthy meal tonight!

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