Oyster Nutrition Facts

Calories in Oysters and Their Health Benefits

Oysters
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Oysters are good for you because they're high in several important minerals and protein, plus they're low in calories. They can be eaten raw, cooked or used in dishes such as oyster stew.

Oyster Nutrition Facts

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 6 medium (84 g)
Per Serving% Daily Value*
Calories 43 
Calories from Fat 13 
Total Fat 1.4g2%
Saturated Fat 0.4g2%
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.4g 
Monounsaturated Fat 0.2g 
Cholesterol 34mg11%
Sodium 71mg3%
Potassium 131mg4%
Carbohydrates 2.3g1%
Dietary Fiber 0g0%
Sugars 0.5g 
Protein 4.8g 
Vitamin A 1% · Vitamin C 0%
Calcium 5% · Iron 21%
*Based on a 2,000 calorie diet

One serving is equal to six oysters and has only 43 calories, about 5 grams of protein and about 2 grams of carbohydrates. They're also high in zinc, calcium, potassium, iron, magnesium, and vitamin B-12

Health Benefits of Oysters

Oysters have a lot of zinc, which is a mineral your body needs for many different biochemical processes to occur. They're also high in iron that your body needs to transport oxygen to all your organs and tissues. 

Raw Oyster Safety

Generally, raw oysters are safe to eat, but just as with the consumption of any raw fish or seafood, there is a possibility of food-borne illness. Raw oysters may be contaminated with Vibrio vulnificus, which is a bacteria related to cholera. Oysters harvested in warm water are more likely to be infected than oysters collected from colder water.

Eating raw oysters also puts you at risk of contracting hepatitis A, a disorder that affects your liver.

A healthy person who ingests the bacteria may suffer from abdominal pain, vomiting, and diarrhea. The infection can be severe in a person who has liver disease or is immunocompromised because the bacteria can get into the bloodstream and cause septicemia, which is fatal about 50 percent of the time.

If you've been told not the consume raw oysters, you must avoid them. The only way to kill the bacteria is through cooking. There are myths about adding lots of hot sauce or drinking alcohol while you eat raw oysters will kill the bacteria. But those myths are false.

Questions About Oysters

Are they aphrodisiacs?

Just about every list of aphrodisiacs includes oysters. While there's no evidence to support the idea that any foods will increase your sexual attraction, it is interesting to note that zinc is essential for men's sexual health, testosterone levels, and sperm production.

What's the difference between farmed and wild oysters?

There doesn't appear to be any difference as far as nutrition goes. Farmed oysters are grown in living conditions that are similar to wild oysters. Oysters are harvest in both Pacific and Atlantic oceans.

Will I find a pearl in my oyster?

No. The oysters that produce pearls that are used as jewelry aren't the same oysters you eat. 

Should I only eat oysters during months that have an R in them?

You can buy and eat oysters any time of the year. The months that don't have an R include May, June, July and August happen to be the warm months when Vibrio contamination is more likely. That was a problem many years ago when oysters weren't tested properly, but today the oysters you buy are safe year-round.

Selecting and Storing Oysters

Choose fresh oysters that have been harvested and processed according to safety guidelines. Look for a tag on containers or sacks of oysters. Throw away any oysters that have broken shells, and tap any open shells with your finger. A live oyster should close its shell when you tap it. If it doesn't close, then throw it away.

Fresh oysters should be refrigerated at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or lower until you serve them or use them in a recipe. When you cook fresh oysters, the shells should open up. Discard any oysters that remain closed.

Healthy Ways to Prepare Oysters

They may be served raw, usually sitting on one shell. You'll need to open them up by shucking them. You'll need a thick towel and an oyster shucking knife to open them unless you buy them already shucked. Oysters can also be smoked, baked, or used as the featured ingredient in dishes such as oyster stew.

Oyster Recipes

Try these nutritious recipes that feature oysters along with other healthy ingredients:


Sources:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Vibrio and Oysters." Updated May 16, 2016.

United States Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service USDA Food Composition Databases

United States Food and Drug Administration. "Fresh and Frozen Seafood: Selecting and Serving it Safely." Updated August 15, 2016.

United States Food and Drug Administration. "Raw Oyster Myths." Updated November 26, 2014.

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