Oysters are packed with nutrients. They’re especially high in the following vitamins and minerals:
Vitamin B12. This nutrient is critical for nervous system maintenance, metabolism, and blood cell formation. Many people, especially older adults, are deficient in this vitamin (1).
Zinc. This mineral plays a vital role in immune system health, metabolism, and cell growth. A 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving of oysters provides over 600% of the RDI (2).
Selenium. This mineral maintains proper thyroid function and metabolism. It also acts as a powerful antioxidant, helping prevent damage to cells caused by free radicals (3).
Vitamin D. Vitamin D is essential to immune health, cellular growth, and bone health. Many people are deficient in this vitamin, especially those living in colder climates (4).
Iron. Your body needs iron to make hemoglobin and myoglobin, proteins that carry oxygen throughout your body. Many people don’t get enough iron through their diet (5).
Oysters are packed with protein
100 grams of oysters is delivers around 7 grams of this filling nutrient. Oysters are also a complete protein source, meaning they contain all nine essential amino acids your body needs. Adding protein sources to meals and snacks can help promote feelings of fullness and encourage weight loss.
Protein-rich foods stabilise hunger by increasing levels of fullness-promoting hormones like peptide YY and cholecystokinin (CCK) (6). Higher-protein diets have been proven effective in boosting weight loss and lead to greater weight loss than low-fat diets or higher-carb diets (7). Following a high-protein diet may also benefit blood sugar control, particularly in people with diabetes. For example, a review of nine studies demonstrated that high-protein diets significantly reduced levels of hemoglobin A1c — a marker of long-term blood sugar control — in adults with type 2 diabetes (8). What’s more, high-protein diets may reduce heart disease risk factors in those with type 2 diabetes. A review of 18 studies in people with type 2 diabetes found that high-protein diets significantly reduced triglyceride levels — a major risk factor for heart disease (9).
Nutritional Breakdown of 100 grams of oysters
Protein: 7 grams
Fat: 3 grams
Vitamin D: 80% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)
Thiamine (vitamin B1): 7% of the RDI
Niacin (vitamin B3): 7% of the RDI
Vitamin B12: 321% of the RDI
Iron: 37% of the RDI
Magnesium: 12% of the RDI
Phosphorus: 14% of the RDI
Zinc: 605% of the RDI
Copper: 223% of the RDI
Manganese: 18% of the RDI
Selenium: 91% of the RDI
Oysters and your immune system
After the year we've had I'm sure we are all doing our best to ensure our bodies and immune systems are in tip top shape. Oysters are rich in zinc, which strengthens your immune response by helping white blood cells reproduce more rapidly. White blood cells, or leukocytes, are the primary specialised cells of your immune system and they contribute by destroying disease-causing microorganisms. More specifically, zinc stimulates your thymus gland to produce thymulin, which boosts the action of T4-helper leukocytes, according to the book “Biochemical Pathways." Zinc also enhances the actions of antibodies, making them more efficient at warding off infection.
Oysters are highly nutritious shellfish that offer a wide array of health benefits. They’re packed with high-quality protein, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants — all of which are essential for maintaining a happy and healthy body. High-protein diets that include oysters may promote weight loss, improve blood sugar control, and reduce heart disease risk factors in people with type 2 diabetes. Specifically high in zinc which aids in having a healthy and robust immune system. I know you didn't need an excuse to eat more of our oysters, but it's always nice to be informed.