Oysters are large, flat shellfish. Humans can eat some types of these sea creatures, either cooked or uncooked, and many consider them a delicacy.
Oysters refer to several edible, marine, bivalve mollusks that belong to the Ostreiden family. Two common types are Pacific and Eastern oysters. They play an important role in the ecosystem – they improve water quality by filtering pollutants from the water and help create suitable habitats for fish, invertebrates and other shellfish.
Oysters have an irregularly shaped shell that contains the inner body, also known as meat. While many people are aware of the reported aphrodisiac properties of oysters, they are also highly nutritious and can offer some health benefits.
This article discusses the nutritional benefits of oysters, their health benefits, and possible risks and concerns when consuming oysters.
According to the Department of Agriculture, 100 grams (g) of raw Pacific oysters contains:
Oysters are nutritious and contain many vitamins and minerals that can provide health benefits. Some examples are:
- Protein: Oysters are a high source of protein and relatively low in calories, which means they can help people feel full. Research suggests that eating a higher protein diet can help reduce obesity. Protein is present in every cell, while adequate intake is essential for keeping muscles, bones and tissues healthy.
- Zinc: Supports various functions in the body, such as immunity, wound healing, and growth and development. The substance also plays a role in sexual function, which is why many people consider oysters an aphrodisiac.
- Vitamin B12: AB vitamin, which is important for nervous tissue health, brain function, and red blood cell production. When vitamin levels are low, nerve damage and fatigue can occur.
- Omega-3 fatty acids: There is evidence that these fatty acids may play a role in heart health, brain function, and growth and development. They also have anti-inflammatory properties and can help reduce your risk of heart disease.
- Iron: This mineral is vital for the proper functioning of hemoglobin in the blood. It’s also important for growth, neurological development, and the production of some hormones. Further research suggests that low iron levels may contribute to sexual dissatisfaction, which in turn suggests potential sexual benefits.
- Magnesium: This mineral has many functions in the body, including muscle and nerve function, regulating blood pressure, and supporting the immune system.
- Potassium: An essential macromineral that supports important processes in the body, such as the functioning of the kidneys, heart, muscles and the nervous system.
- Selenium: An essential trace element that plays a key role in thyroid function and metabolism. It also contains antioxidant properties that can help protect against cancer, heart disease, and cognitive decline.
While oysters can offer many health benefits, they can also raise some potential concerns, such as:
- Shellfish allergy: Although it is more common to be allergic to crustaceans than molluscs, people can still experience allergic reactions after consuming oysters. Symptoms can vary from person to person and can include vomiting, stomach pain, and shortness of breath.
- Pollutants: Oysters, especially when raw, can contain contaminants such as harmful bacteria. For example, they can contain Vibrio bacteria, which can cause diarrhea, vomiting, and in some cases serious illness. Cooking with the right techniques can kill harmful bacteria.
- Mineral toxicity: Oysters are rich in many important minerals. While supplements are more likely to be toxic, consuming too many oysters can also have similar negative health effects when people consume too much zinc and selenium, according to an older study.
People can prepare oysters in a number of ways, such as: B. steam, boil, fry, roast and bake. When ordering at a restaurant or cooking at home, it is important that a person cook them fully before consuming them.
While some people like to eat raw oysters, it can be dangerous. Eating raw or undercooked oysters can increase your risk of foodborne illness. Oysters containing bacteria do not usually look, smell, or taste any different from other harmless oysters. Hence, proper cooking is the only way to kill the harmful bacteria.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provide the following instructions for safely cooking oysters:
- Before cooking, discard any shellfish with open shells.
- Cook the oysters until the shells open.
- Either cook the oysters for another 3-5 minutes or place them in a hot steamer and cook for another 4-9 minutes.
- Only eat oysters that open during cooking and discard any that do not fully open after cooking.
Alternatively, for shelled oysters, people might consider the following cooking methods:
- Fry the oysters in oil for at least 3 minutes at 190.5 ° C
- Grill 3 inches before the heat for 3 minutes
- bake at 450 ° F (232.2 ° C) for 10 minutes
People can include oysters in their diet in a number of ways. Some options can be:
- Leek, celery and oyster broth
- Rockefeller oysters
- Oysters with pancetta
- Oysters poached in red wine sauce
- grilled oysters with parmesan cheese
- Oyster risotto
- Oysters in beer batter
- Champagne gratin made from oysters
- Oysters with spinach
- chilli coated oysters with red onion salsa
Oysters are bivalve molluscs that are highly nutritious and can offer some health benefits. They’re a good source of protein, contain omega-3 fatty acids, and are high in minerals like zinc, selenium, and iron.
However, raw or undercooked oysters can contain harmful bacteria that can make people seriously ill. Therefore, health experts recommend fully cooking oysters before consuming them.