Before I became immersed in health & fitness, I spent a significant amount of time working in bivalve aquaculture.
For all of you who are wondering what bivalve aquaculture is, it’s essentially the captive breeding of shellfish like clams, oysters and/or scallops for either species restoration or commercial purposes. Sounds a lot like agriculture right? Well that’s because it is.
Aquaculturists create “seeds” by spawning mature animals, caring for and feeding the immature “seeds” until they are big enough to be “planted” in a body of water, where they can further develop. This prior experience taught me the importance of shellfish, not only to our environment, but also to our health.
Shellfish are truly some of the most nutritious foods on the planet. I’ve been lucky enough to have access to a lot of fresh shellfish in my life, but temporal and geographic limitations can make that an impossibility for many people.
That’s why canned shellfish, like whole cherrystone clams from Trader Joe’s, are a godsend. I enjoyed the canned clams in a salad but you could always to do a low-carb version of linguine and clams by using zucchini noodles.
The can pictured above contains 1g of fat, 2g of carbs and 12g of protein. These canned clams also contain almost 40% of our recommended daily allowance of iron, a significant amount of vitamin B12 and several other hard to get minerals.
According to a prominent nutrition specialist (who I’ll get into more about in a minute), these nutritional benefits can also prevent several chronic health conditions that are affecting more and more people each year.
Functional medicine practitioner and ancestral nutrition expert Chris Kresser outlined in a recent episode of his podcast (link) that nutrients in clams and oysters, particularly zinc and several B vitamins, can help prevent health conditions like anxiety and depression. He even suggests that those on mostly plant-based diets should consider having two servings of shellfish like clams and oysters a week because their diets are usually deficient in the previously mentioned nutrients.
Even though I agree with this recommendation based on potential health benefits and bivalves perceived inability to suffer (no brain or central nervous system), I’m not going to tell people what they should and should not eat. I want people to be as a healthy as possible, but individuals’ dietary choices are their own. I’m simply here to provide you with knowledge about certain foods that you may not have been aware of. What you do with that knowledge is your decision.
If you are someone that incorporates animal protein into your diet, consider adding canned clams or oysters to your grocery list. If you are already a fan these shellfish feel free to send your favorite recipes to firstname.lastname@example.org. If there is anyone out there with a oyster Rockefeller recipe, please send it my way!