Scallops are mollusks, like clams, oysters, and mussels. Scallops' nutrition and health benefits are really impressive, and that’s why many believe that they are a great health food.
What’s so unique about scallops is that they are one of the few bivalve mollusks that can truly swim. These shellfish are found in several parts of the world.
What’s more, their demand is rising from a global perspective.
So, what are scallops, and why do they deserve a place in your regular diet?
Everything You Need to Know About Scallops
Scallops are a kind of shellfish that are eaten throughout the world. They are bivalve mollusks since they have two shells. These amazing creatures are found in many waters all over the world.
Calico scallops, bay scallops, and sea scallops are the three types of scallops that are eaten in the United States.
Sea scallops are large, approximately 1.5 inches in diameter, whereas bay scallops are small, approximately half an inch in diameter.
Bay and sea scallops are found in the Atlantic Ocean off of North America, whereas calico scallops are found in the Gulf and Atlantic coasts. Many people consider scallops as a seafood delicacy.
Scallops Nutrition Facts
Scallops boast an impressive nutritional profile and are one of the world’s healthiest foods.
One ounce (28 grams) of scallops contains:
- Calories: 31.4
- Protein: 6.5 grams (g)
- Carbs: 0 g
- Fat: 0.4 g
- Omega-3 fatty acids: 111 milligrams (mg)
- Vitamin B12: 0.4 micrograms (6 percent of the daily value (DV))
- Potassium: 133 mg (4 percent of the DV)
- Magnesium: 15.4 mg (4 percent of the DV)
- Calcium: 32.2 mg (3 percent of the DV)
- Iron: 0.8 mg (5 percent of the DV)
- Phosphorous: 94.6 mg (9 percent of the DV)
- Copper: 0.1 mg (4 percent of the DV)
- Selenium: 7.8 micrograms (11 percent of the DV)
- Zinc: 0.8 mg (6 percent of the DV)
Scallops Nutrition: Health Benefits of Scallops
Besides being delicious, scallops contain a host of nutrients that promote your health in powerful ways.
Scallops are high in protein and low in calories and may help you if you are trying to reduce your weight.
According to research, you may lose weight by decreasing your total calorie intake and moderately increasing your protein intake.
It’s important to remember that protein plays an important role when it comes to losing weight.
This essential nutrient helps you feel satisfied and full for a long period of time, which can lead to a decrease in overall calorie intake. In addition to that, protein may boost your metabolism, helping your body burn more energy.
In fact, according to a study, test subjects who ate a diet high in protein lost 5 percent more of their weight, compared to their counterparts who consumed a diet low in protein.
Not only that, but subjects on a low-protein diet also gained their weight back.
Be a healthier you
Scallops are packed with heart-healthy nutrients like potassium and magnesium.
These two nutrients help relax your blood vessels. Additionally, a diet containing sufficient amounts of potassium and magnesium may protect you from heart disease and reduce your blood pressure.
On the other hand, low blood levels of magnesium have been associated with heart problems such as high blood pressure and atrial fibrillation.
Atrial fibrillation is a rapid and irregular heart rate that can cause heart failure, stroke, and blood clots.
Various other studies also confirm this association.
One such study found that individuals with low magnesium levels (below 0.80 mmol/L) had a 36 percent and 54 percent higher risk of death from heart disease and heart attacks.
Be super strong
In addition to containing heart-healthy nutrients, scallops also contain nutrients that are essential for your nervous system and brain like zinc, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamin B12.
Getting sufficient amounts of vitamin B12 may help decrease your risk of Alzheimer’s and other mental conditions. In addition, this nutrient also helps keep your nervous system healthy.
On the other hand, low levels of this vitamin may negatively affect your brain function.
According to one study, children born to mothers who had low levels of vitamin B12 during pregnancy had impaired brain function nine years later.
These kids took 20 seconds longer to finish cognitive tests than children of women with adequate levels of vitamin B12.
Another study found that supplementing with B12 can enhance brain function and decrease homocysteine levels by 30 percent. It's important for you to know that too much homocysteine leads to a greater risk of mental impairment.
Besides vitamin B12, zinc also plays a crucial role in your brain health.
A rat study found that a 20 percent reduction in zinc blood levels caused memory and mental problems comparable to those linked to Alzheimer’s disease.
Like vitamin B12 and zinc, omega-3 fatty acids also contribute to the development of your brain.
On the other hand, low levels of omega-3 fats can cause mental problems. One study found that newborns who don’t get sufficient omega-3 fats through the diet of their mothers may be vulnerable to developing psychiatric issues and attention deficit problems.
Feel good inside and out
Looking at the scallops nutrition profile, they are a great source of minerals, such as copper, zinc, and selenium. And these minerals are important for your body and health.
You should know that an adequate intake of selenium helps boost your immune health and thyroid function.
On the other hand, zinc is essential for healthy growth and brain function. And copper may offer protection against heart disease and diabetes.
Scallops Nutrition: How to Enjoy Scallops
Scallops are versatile, buttery, tasty, and easy to prepare. Here are some of the delectable ways to enjoy this shellfish.
- Add bay scallops to your gazpacho for extra nutrients and flavor.
- Saute scallops with scallions, shiitake mushrooms, and ginger.
- Skewer cherry tomatoes, leeks, and marinated scallops, and broil in your oven. When finished skewering, brush with garlic-infused olive oil.
- Serve cooked scallops with a salsa prepared from ginger, jalapeno peppers, cilantro, and diced papaya.
A Few Concerns
While scallops nutrition is quite impressive, there are a few concerns to keep in mind.
These shellfish may accumulate arsenic, cadmium, mercury, lead, and other heavy metals depending on their environment. And these heavy metals may pose a risk to your health.
Also, scallops can lead to allergic reactions in individuals suffering from shellfish allergies. Besides, pregnant women, older people, nursing women, and kids should avoid these shellfish.
However, overall, scallops are considered safe.
Scallops Nutrition: Should You Eat Scallops?
Unless you fit into one of the above categories -- yes. Scallops are rich in protein and nutrients that boost your brain and heart health. What’s more, they are low in calories, making them ideal choices for individuals who are on a weight-loss diet.
In fact, these shellfish make a delicious and healthy addition to your dishes.
While scallops are considered safe to eat, some individuals should restrict or avoid consumption of scallops due to the accumulation of heavy metals and allergies.
Do you know any other health benefits of scallops? And did you find our scallops nutrition guide helpful? Let us know in the comment section below.
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