The healthiest choices for clams, mussels and oysters.
Shellfish isn’t just tasty, it’s good for you too. It’s high in iron, which transports oxygen around your body and vitamin B12, which helps turn food into energy. Oysters and clams are a good source of zinc, which supports your immune system. Shellfish does have around 50 mg of cholesterol per 3-ounce serving. But cardiologists agree that saturated fat is more detrimental to blood cholesterol levels than dietary cholesterol. And most shellfish offer some omega-3s, one of the types of fat that can actually improve your cholesterol. Unlike larger seafood species, shellfish are low on the food chain, so they don’t accumulate harmful contaminants like mercury.
There’s an old adage that says you should only eat shellfish in months with the letter “R” in them, as in, September through April, because the water temperatures are colder during those months. But that bit of kitchen wisdom is outdated because monitoring ensures that shellfish are not harvested during toxic algae blooms, which can occur in warmer waters.