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Oysters: Benefits, Risks and Concerns

What are Oysters?

Oysters are a type of shellfish that is considered a delicacy. They are also considered useful in increasing sexual arousal. It contains several compounds that may help in improving sexual performance.

Oysters are bivalve mollusks that have marine habitats such as seas and oceans. They are a vital part of the ecosystem that filters pollutants out of the water and provide habitat for other species.

Apart from aphrodisiac properties, these have a lot of other impressive benefits.

100 grams ounces of eastern oysters provide the following nutrients:(1)

  • 81 kilocalories
  • 9.45 grams of protein
  • 4.95 grams of carbohydrates
  • 2.30 grams of fats
  • 8 milligrams of calcium
  • 22 milligrams of magnesium
  • 162 milligrams of phosphorus
  • 168 milligrams of potassium
  • 112 milligrams of sodium
  • 16.6 milligrams of zinc
  • 16 micrograms of vitamin B12
  • 5.11 milligram of iron
  • 77 mcg of selenium
  • 3.77 milligrams of copper

Health Benefits of Oysters:

Oysters contain many vitamins and minerals that can be beneficial for health. These include:

  • Protein: Being rich in protein and low in calories, oysters can give a feeling of fullness. Research suggests a high-protein diet can be helpful in reducing obesity.(2) Also, protein is present in every cell and is required by the muscles, bones, and tissues.
  • Zinc: Zinc is known to support various functions in the body including immunity, wound healing, growth, and development.(3) It has an essential role to play in sexual function. This is why oysters are also commonly known as an aphrodisiac food.
  • Vitamin B12: This vitamin is essential for nerve function, brain function, and the production of red blood cells.(4) People with low levels of this vitamin may experience nerve damage and fatigue.
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids: These fatty acids play an essential role in heart health, brain function, and growth and development.(5) It reduces the risk of infection due to its anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Magnesium: This mineral plays a role in many functions in the body including regulating blood pressure, supporting the immune system, and nerve and muscle function.
  • Potassium: This is an essential micronutrient that supports certain processes in the body such as regulating blood pressure, heart muscles, and nervous system.(6)
  • Selenium: This is an essential trace mineral that plays a key role in thyroid function and metabolism.(7) It also has antioxidant properties and may be helpful in protecting against heart disease, cancer, and cognitive decline.

Apart from all the above minerals and vitamins, oysters are recently recognized to contain a unique antioxidant 3.5-Dihydroxy-4-methoxybenzyl alcohol (DHMBA). DHMBA is known to have powerful antioxidant effects. A study showed it to be 15 times more powerful than Trolox in protecting against oxidative stress.(9)

One test-tube study demonstrated that it protects human liver cells against damage and cell death caused by oxidative stress.(10) Another test-tube study found DHMBA to be effective in reducing LDL cholesterol oxidation which is linked with an increased risk of heart diseases.(11)

Risk and Concerns with Oysters

Apart from all of the above health benefits, there are certain concerns that include:

  • Shellfish Allergy: Some people can have allergic reactions after eating oysters. This may lead to nausea, vomiting, stomach ache, and shortness of breath.
  • Mineral Toxicity: Oysters are rich in many nutrients and eating too much of them can have negative effects that occur due to excess nutrients.(8)
  • Contaminants: Oysters, especially the raw ones may contain certain contaminants such as bacteria. For example, Vibrio bacteria may cause vomiting and severe illness in certain cases. This is why cooking oysters properly is very important.

Oysters can be included in the diet by taking them with pancakes and beer batter, adding them to risotto, eating grilled oysters, and eating chili-coated oysters with red onion salsa.

Oysters are an extremely good protein source and also contain omega-3 fatty acids and minerals including zinc, selenium, and iron. They should be consumed after cooking properly to prevent their harmful effects. Those allergic to them should avoid them completely.

Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:May 23, 2022

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