Are Shellfish Good For You?: The Nutritional Value of Clams

Schultzys01The nutrition found in clams is often overlooked, if even thought of at all. Most people wouldn’t consider me a health nut, but I’m in a very physical line of work. So it’s incredibly important to me to take care of my body and health. As a bayman for the past twenty-five years, I know that fresh shellfish are packed with protein and generally good for you. But as most of my knowledge comes from the sea, instinct and anecdotal information, I decided to test what I believed. I reached to friends who are health experts and spent time researching online to find out exactly what the benefits are of the product I catch day in and day out.

One of the better guides that I found can be viewed on this website. Even I was surprised to learn just how nutritious these little guys are. In one ounce of steamed or boiled clams, there are:

• 26 calories
• 0.34 grams of fat
• 0.89 grams of carbohydrates
• 12 milligrams of cholesterol
• 132 milligrams of sodium
• 4.4 grams of protein

To put that in better perspective, one cup of clams – about 12 medium size clams – packs in 1.8 grams of fat (very little of which is saturated), 4.8 grams of carbohydrates, 63 milligrams of cholesterol, 708 milligrams of sodium and a whopping 24 grams of protein.

It’s fair to say that the littleneck clams that we hand-harvest from the Long Island Sound boast a big helping of lean protein, which is something we all need in our diets.

Clams also contain Omega-3 fatty acids, which help to reduce the risk of heart disease by helping to breakdown triglycerides (fat in our blood). To boot, clams are mercury-free unlike many other fish in the sea.

Yes, clams are naturally high in sodium and also contain cholesterol…but everything in moderation, I say. You know what else is high in sodium? Most brand name cereals, spaghetti sauce and canned vegetables, just to name a few. It’s important to keep things in perspective and live in moderation. Not to mention (and this is where good old fashioned instinct comes into play) I trust the fruits of Mother Nature more than I would anything processed or manufactured. If it was here before we were, that’s good enough for me.

70s and sunny this coming weekend – my fingers are crossed that it holds up. I’ll be on the bay, doing my thing. Come on by the Port Washington Farmers Market from 8-12 on Saturday for your fresh bucket of tasty and nutritious clams, hand-picked by yours truly.

See you on the water. Buzz me later.

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