The Good and the Bad of Eating Oysters

Raw, fried, or on the half shell—these are just a few of the many ways to appreciate these bi-valve mollusks known as oysters. But besides the tasty flavor, including oysters to your diet can also benefit your health as it is a great source of multiple nutrients. On the other hand, oyster lovers should also be aware of the danger of this type of seafood, which can be life-threatening to some.

Let’s look at both sides of the shell and find out the benefits and side effects of eating oysters.

Health Benefits of Oysters

Builds strong bones, muscles, skin, and cells. That’s from all the protein that oysters share to the body. Protein helps in the construction and repair of skin cells, and also provides collagen to the skin.

Boosts the immune system. Just a cup of raw oysters and you’ll gain 650 percent of the recommended daily value of zinc, so you’ll most likely be safe from colds and flus. Besides, zinc is a key mineral for men’s sexual health, and eating oysters can help save you from impotence.

Gives you energy. Oysters contain a high amount of B-12 as well as riboflavin and niacin, and these B vitamins help break down carbohydrates and turn them into energy.

Helps you lose weight. Eat as much as you want and still gain the fewest calories compared to other meat and seafood. Thus, adding oysters to your diet can help you shed off those unwanted pounds because you feel fuller without taking in all those calories.

The Side Effects of Oysters

Prone to bacterial infection. In the summer, the vibrio bacteria in warm coastal waters grow tenfold and can infect seashells. Although vibrio is present even in colder months, people with a weak immune system and also pregnant women can get sick from it. Thus, find out where the oysters were harvested because picking them at certain locations at certain times of the year can make them potentially dangerous. On the side of caution, eat properly cooked oysters as heat can destroy bacteria.

Contains high amount of sodium. If you have a heart disease or hypertension, slow down on your oyster intake because of its relatively high levels of sodium.

Leads to constipation. Despite the many nutrients found in oysters, fiber is not one of them. And as you very well know, fiber helps to ease digestion, and lack of which can lead to constipation.

Causes allergic reaction. Almost 5 percent of people around the world suffer from food allergies, and one of the food items they may be allergic to is shellfish. People who are sensitive to tropomyosin can get an allergic reaction from both raw and cooked oysters and experience rashes, swelling, and abdominal pain. In more serious cases, it can also lead to death.

Are you still up for endless servings of oysters? Join “a gastronomic celebration of oysters” at the Oyster Grand Tasting in Cape Cod in October. Book a room at Chatham Gables Inn and enjoy the food tasting made possible by award-winning chefs.