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The Top 9 Clams Benefits: Why You Should Enjoy Eating Clams If You Aren’t Already!

The Top 9 Clams Benefits: Why You Should Enjoy Eating Clams If You Aren’t Already!

There are thousands of different clams across the world. Yes, you read that right — thousands! They come in many shapes and sizes, but regardless of the type of clam, they’re all pretty much delicious.

In addition to being tasty, clams are healthy and readily available in many places across the globe. Living in New England, I’ve had more than my fair share of clams and I’ve yet to be disappointed.

In this article, we’re going to cover the top 9 health benefits of clams, ranging from their positive impact on heart health and brain function, as well as how they’re low calorie and high in protein. Continue on to learn more about the top clams benefits!

We cover the following items in this post:

A Quick Overview of Clams

A man holding unopened clams in his hand explaining clams benefits

Clam is the common name for various types of bivalve mollusks. Bivalve mollusks are saltwater and freshwater animals with laterally compressed bodies and two-part hinged hard shells. Bivalve mollusks also include scallops, oysters, cockles, and mussels.

Clams can be found in almost every ocean and freshwater ecosystem across the globe, living in a variety of habitats including sand flats, mudflats, coral reefs, estuaries, and even some terrestrial environments.

Clams are broadcast spawners, which means they release eggs and sperm into the water, leading to external fertilization. Broadcast spawning is the most common reproduction method in the sea.

They’re filter feeders, meaning they filter water through siphons, absorbing nutrients from the water through their bodies and helping to maintain the ocean’s cleanliness in doing so!

The Nutritional Value of Clams

A bowl of cooked clams

Clams are packed with nutritional value. Like other shellfish options, clams are loaded with protein and related beneficial amino acids, they’re low in carbs and fats, and clams are generally a very healthy meal option.

A 100-gram serving of clams contains the following nutrients:

  • 2 g of fat
  • 67 mg of cholesterol
  • 1202 mg of sodium
  • 628 mg of potassium
  • 5 g of carbohydrates
  • 0 g of fiber
  • 26 g of protein

Vitamins and minerals:

  • Magnesium
  • Vitamin D
  • Calcium
  • Vitamin C (antioxidant rich)
  • Vitamin A
  • Iron
  • Cobalamin
  • Vitamin B6

The Top 9 Clams Benefits

Let’s dive into the top 9 benefits of eating clams.

  1. They’re good for heart health
  2. They’re a fantastic source of vitamins and minerals
  3. They’re high in protein and low in carbohydrates
  4. They assist in collagen synthesis
  5. Clams have choline
  6. Clams can improve thyroid health
  7. Selenium content may help against rheumatoid arthritis
  8. Potassium and its impact on lowered blood pressure
  9. They’re a great source of riboflavin

We are going to explore each of these factors in more detail below!

1. They’re Good for Heart Health 

Steamed clams on a plate

Shellfish like clams are often said to be good for your heart because they are low in saturated fats and contain omega-3 fatty acids. Clams are also low in calories, so it’s tough to overindulge.

2. They’re a Fantastic Source of Vitamins and Minerals

Clams are packed with vitamins and minerals. We noted almost all of them earlier in this article, but some of the most impactful are Vitamin C, Vitamin B12, Iron, Phosphorus, Riboflavin, Copper, Manganese, and Selenium. Most of these will be expanded on below.

3. They’re High in Protein and Low in Carbohydrates

Once cooked, a serving of clams will often contain around 20 g of protein, and usually only around 6 g of carbs. That makes clams an excellent option if you are trying to cut back on the carbs, but you need the protein to feel full.

Steamed clams are suitable for those following the Keto diet, and they can be a part of a weight-loss routine.

4. They Assist in Collagen Synthesis

Collagen is key to healthy hair, healthy skin, and the overall health of your cells. Unfortunately, it’s something that many people lack – but you can get it from eating clams.

The high levels of vitamin C in clams will also help your body to synthesize more collagen, making your skin look better and improving your immune system.

5. They Have Choline

Choline is a key nutrient that often gets overlooked, and it’s on the list of health benefits you will get from clams.

Choline is necessary for things like memory regulation, muscle control, mood balance, and overall brain function. Although your body can synthesize some choline, much of it is obtained from your food – and that means clams are an excellent addition to your diet.

6. They Can Improve Thyroid Health

A bowl of clam chowder, which has clams benefits

Clams are a source of many things that will improve your thyroid health, like selenium, iodine, and iron.

Omega-3 fatty acids are also present in clams, and these may help to improve thyroid hormone receptor sensitivity in the cells in your liver.

7. Selenium Content May Help Against Rheumatoid Arthritis

For those with Rheumatoid Arthritis, there is a chance that selenium may help. The research to date is inconclusive, however, it is known that clams have selenium, and those with Rheumatoid Arthritis have lower levels of selenium.

Winchester Hospital has noted that selenium may help ease the pain of arthritis.

8. Potassium and its Impact on Lowered Blood Pressure

Clams are an excellent source of potassium.

Per the CDC, an uptake in potassium can help decrease blood pressure for those with high blood pressure.

9. They’re A Great Source of Riboflavin

Riboflavin is a vitamin that assists in the growth, maturation, and function of your cells.

Clams provide roughly 1/3 of the recommended daily value of riboflavin, which is another strong component of heart health.

Steamed clams in a bowl with white wine poured in

Of course, if you’re eating clams for health reasons, you want healthy ways to cook them.

  • Many people simply steam clams and enjoy them as they are, and this is certainly an option. Slicing some garlic cloves and adding white wine to make a sauce will work well too.
  • Clams over a bed of risotto are hard to beat. Risotto is definitely a labor of love, but pairing clams, risotto, and some veggies of your choice can make a delicious and healthy meal.
  • Clam-stuffed mushrooms are always a crowd-pleaser and they’re easy to prepare! Grab some mini portobello mushrooms, fill them with clams, some Italian seasoning, garlic, thinly sliced onions, sherry vinegar, and breadcrumbs, and sprinkle some salty cheese on top.

Clam chowder is a popular recipe, but it’s one that you should be cautious of if you care about your health. It is packed with sodium, calories, and fat, so it should be eaten in moderation or avoided. However, it is delicious!

Can You Eat Clams Every Day?

We recommend that you don’t eat clams every day.

Varying your diet ensures you get a wide variety of health benefits and minimizes the risk of deficiencies or over-indulgences.

Furthermore, shellfish and seafood in general contain mercury. Too much mercury can lead to mercury poisoning, which may result in memory issues, anxiety, depression, and other unwanted symptoms. Pregnant women and young children are more susceptible to the negative impacts of too much mercury.

Remember, everything should be enjoyed in moderation!

Are Clams Anti-Inflammatory?

Yes! NIH conducted a study on the ‘Effects of Freshwater Clam Extract Supplementation’ and noted that “freshwater clams have potent anti-inflammatory activities, which was illustrated in a variety of inflammation model systems.”

Final Thoughts on The Health Benefits of Clams

Clams have many nutritional benefits and overall health benefits. They’re good for your heart, weight, thyroid function, and brain health. And they’re packed with vitamins and minerals that serve you well.

Clams are delicious, as they present a balance of salty and sweet flavors like other popular shellfish.

But, just like all other good things in life, clams should be enjoyed in moderation. The benefits far outweigh the cons of eating clams, but it’s still best not to overdo it.

Now, go out and enjoy some clams and let us know what you think!