The 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 25 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 out 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.
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 Little Neck 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 break down 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.
In the 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 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Saturday for your fresh bucket of tasty and nutritious clams, hand-picked by yours truly.
See you on the water. Buzz me later.