You might think that mussels are a bit of an odd food. Okay, so they aren’t exactly the most popular seafood option — and they’re also quite often served with a side of fries. But they’re actually packed with some pretty awesome nutrients!
If you haven’t tried them before, or maybe you just don’t know much about them, read on to find out more about the benefits of eating mussels.
Are Mussels Good for You? Here’s What They Do for Your Health
Maybe you’ve had them in a creamy sauce, with fries as an appetizer, or even just plain. Whatever the preparation, mussels are undeniably popular. You might have seen them on a menu or at the supermarket and wondered if they’re good for you. After all, mussels are seafood, which is usually high in protein and omega-3 fatty acids. However, there’s more to nutrition than just calories and vitamins. As with any food choice, it’s important to understand what they do – or don’t – offer before diving in.
What are mussels?
Mussels are aquatic, filter-feeding shellfish that belong to the family Mytilus. They can be found attached to rocks and seaweed in both marine and freshwater environments. They’re popular in European, Asian and South American cuisines, and can be eaten as a main course or side dish. They’re often served steamed or in a stew with other seafood. There are many varieties of mussels and they are often labeled by colour and size. Blue mussels and green-lipped mussels are commonly eaten.
Why are mussels good for you?
Mussels are packed with healthy nutrients and are a great source of protein, vitamins, minerals and omega-3 fatty acids. One serving, which is about 100 grams (3.5 ounces) and is usually a half shell, provides about 40% of your daily iron needs. Iron deficiency is a common problem, affecting up to half of all women. It can lead to low energy, poor concentration and irritability, as well as a weaker immune system. Mussels are also rich in vitamin B, folate and selenium, all of which are important for a healthy nervous system and immune system.
Selenium may also help lower cholesterol levels. Mussels are low in calories and fat, so they’re a great choice for weight management. They also contain high levels of protein, providing 9 grams per serving. Protein is important for muscle health and can help you feel full and satisfied after eating. One serving of mussels also offers over 100% of your daily vitamin B needs, which is important for proper brain function and energy production. Vitamin B also supports healthy metabolism, which is important for maintaining a healthy weight.
Are mussels healthy? The bad news
Mussels have a lot of healthy nutrients and nutrients, but they’re still seafood — which means they’re high in cholesterol and saturated fat. One serving of mussels provides over 100% of your daily cholesterol, and roughly 20% of your daily saturated fat. Those who are watching their cholesterol should focus on eating seafood that is low in fat. Research shows that eating seafood twice a week can significantly reduce your risk of heart disease, but you should opt for low-fat options whenever possible. The good news is that high cholesterol levels can be lowered through a healthy diet and regular exercise. Your doctor may even recommend taking a statin to reduce your cholesterol levels further.
Benefits of eating mussels
Besides the health benefits above, eating mussels can also: – Help improve your mood and fight anxiety – Vitamin B and iron are important for a healthy nervous system, and research suggests that mussels can have a positive effect on mood and anxiety. – Help reduce your risk of heart disease – Mussels are rich in heart-healthy minerals and vitamins, and have been shown to reduce cholesterol levels in some people. – Fight against infection – Like other types of seafood, mussels are a rich source of selenium, which has been shown to improve immune function and decrease the risk of infection.
How to make mussels even healthier
If you enjoy eating mussels, there are ways to make them even healthier. – Opt for low-sodium options whenever possible – Most commercially farmed mussels are high in sodium, which can lead to water retention and weight gain. – Pair them with a healthy side dish – Instead of eating them on their own, pair them with a salad or a serving of whole grains like quinoa. – Use healthy cooking methods – Steaming or poaching mussels is a low-fat and healthy cooking method, and can be paired with a side dish to make a complete meal. – Enjoy them in moderation – While they are a healthy choice, mussels are also high in cholesterol and fat. Enjoy them occasionally, and in small portions.
Mussels are a healthy choice for seafood lovers, providing you with a good amount of protein and vitamins, as well as powerful antioxidants. They’re also low in calories when compared to other types of meat, making them an ideal food to add to your diet. However, they’re also high in cholesterol and saturated fat, so it’s important to watch your portions and pair them with a healthy side dish or other low-fat food.