Enjoy the health benefits of oysters at San Francisco's Bistro Boudin Fresh from the Pacific at San Francisco’s Bistro Boudin Oyster Bar

These days, it seems everyone is touting a new “magic bullet” food or diet plan as a one-way ticket to a healthier life. Whether it’s kale and chia seeds, or gluten-free meal plans, fad diets and “superfoods” are everywhere. Often overlooked are the many health benefits of oysters, a delicious and plentiful food source.

Loaded With Vitamins & Minerals

A major benefit of oysters is that they happen to be quite nutrient dense. They feature an abundance of vitamins and minerals we need for optimum health. In fact, a mere 6-ounce portion of oysters contain more than recommended daily amount of zinc (28 mgs), iron (9 mgs) and selenium (131 mcgs). These minerals are vital to a properly functioning immune system and cell growth.

Oysters are also a great source of both vitamin C and B-12. A serving of oysters contains almost 14 milligrams of vitamin C (15% of the recommended daily intake for men and 18% of the recommended intake for women). The same serving also contains almost 10 times the daily amount of B-12. B-12 is vital for decreasing the risk of heart disease and stroke.

Low-Fat, High-Protein

Almost every serious athlete knows how important a low-fat, high protein diet is to overall health. A low-fat protein source helps build lean muscle and repair tissue, while helping the body shed excess body fat. Grilled or baked chicken and fish are staples of most high-protein diets. However, oysters are a great option for those looking to switch things up. A single serving of oysters has 16 grams of protein against 4 grams of fat, providing almost 30% of the recommended intake.


Added Bonus: Great For The Planet!

Aside from health factors, consider the impact food production and consumption has on the planet as well. Oysters (and oyster farms) just so happen to rate very high on the sustainability scale. Oysters naturally clean the water they inhabit, filtering out excess dead algae and nitrogen and making the water clearer and safer for consumption. The utilization cost of chemical filtration systems is between $500 and $1000 per pound of nitrogen removed. By contrast, oysters naturally complete the same job at a cost of just $5 per pound.

A Word To The Wise…

Although adding oysters to one’s diet provides plenty of upside, there are risks tied to excess consumption. A single serving of oysters contains 28% of recommended amount of cholesterol, which poses risks to those diagnosed with heart disease or high cholesterol. Due to high zinc content, over-consumption of oysters also causes zinc toxicity. Zinc toxicity is a classic example of “too much of a good thing.” While zinc is a vital mineral to our health, excessive absorption causes nausea, vomiting, and cramps

Given the many health benefits of oysters, why not treat yourself to bivalve binge? Share your thoughts on the health benefits of oysters in the comments or via social media.