Some people swear by them, but not everyone can appreciate the salty, chewy texture of a fresh baked clam. An integral ingredient in New England Clam Chowder, this edible mollusk can also be enjoyed steamed, baked, sauted, poached, or fried up in a pan. Whether or not you like their taste, they have some pretty impressive credentials when it comes to health and nutrition. What are the health benefits of clams?
Health Benefits of Clams: They’re Low in Fat
Three ounces of cooked clams is a dieter’s delight with only 126 calories and 2 grams of fat. Even better is the fact that they’re high in omega-3 fatty acids which are so important for a healthy heart. Despite the fact that clams have cholesterol, there’s only 57 milligrams in a three ounce serving. With it’s low fat content, it’s still a heart healthy choice; but be sure if you turn it into clam chowder that you go light on the butter and cream!
Health Benefits of Clams: They’re High in Protein
Why not take a break from eating red meat and enjoy this lean protein source for a change? Each three ounce serving of clams has a whopping 22 grams of protein with very few calories and little fat. If you’re an athlete with high protein requirements, clams offer an excellent protein source for building lean body mass.
Health Benefits of Clams: They’re Rich in Iron
If you’re iron deficient, clams are a better choice than beef. One three ounce serving of clams has 24 mg. of iron – more than what’s found in beef liver or steak. Of course, too much iron can be a problem particularly if you’re a male or post-menopausal women so don’t overindulge on them if you have normal iron levels. Clams are also good sources of selenium, zinc, and copper.
Health Benefits of Clams: Vitamin Content
Clams are an exceptional source of vitamin B12, a vitamin that’s important for a healthy nervous system. Vitamin B12 deficiency can cause an array of problems including Alzheimer’s like symptoms, problems with balance, loss of feeling in the hands and feet, depression, and anxiety. Clams are an excellent way to help keep the brain, spinal cord, and peripheral nerves working properly by supplying them with the B12 they need. Clams are also a good source of vitamin C which is important for strong connective tissue and a healthy immune system.
A Word of Warning
Clams are nutritious, but eating raw clams is risky. Raw clams can be contaminated with a bacterium called Vibrio vulnificus which can cause serious illness in people with underlying medical problems. Play it safe and enjoy your clams cooked.