Seafood is very tasty sautéed, roasted, baked, steamed or grilled, in paellas, tortillas or salads.
But versatility is not the only benefit that these invertebrates have, since they also have many health properties. Find out here which ones and what they are due.
What is shellfish?
Shellfish are invertebrate marine animals that are consumed throughout the world. Generally, they are divided into:
- Crustaceans: This category includes shrimp, crabs, prawns, or barnacles. They are characterized by having a soft white meat and with a slightly sweet flavor.
- Mollusks: This category includes clams, squid, mussels, oysters, and octopus. They are characterized by having a slightly salty flavor, firm texture and a creamy center, while the octopuses are fleshy and with a mild flavor.
By consuming shellfish you can guarantee yourself an important dose of proteins, vitamins, and minerals. Also, they are low in calories.
For this reason, experts recommend including them in the diet between 2 and 3 times a week. Its regular intake is also associated with many benefits:
Help control weight
For its richness in zinc, seafood is often pointed out as beneficial foods for people looking to maintain or lose weight. This is because zinc stimulates the production of a hormone called leptin.
This plays a key role in regulating appetite and fat stores in the body.
Regularly incorporating shellfish in the diet reduces “cravings” between meals thanks to the increased feeling of satiety.
- These are the healthiest fish
Another reason these foods are linked to better body weight control is that they are high in iodine. This is a mineral that helps control the amount of energy the body uses when it is at rest, in addition to influencing the activity of the thyroid.
Among the minerals that different types of shellfish have, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and zinc stand out. These are essential nutrients, among other things, to strengthen bone health.
A deficiency of these minerals can cause many of the symptoms of osteoporosis, such as loss of bone mass, strength and quality, and with it a greater chance of weakness, injury and fractures.
They protect the heart
A characteristic that seafood shares, like fish, is the high levels of Omega 3 fatty acids, a type of polyunsaturated fat, which, together with monounsaturated, makes up healthy fats.
Its regular consumption is linked to many benefits, highlighting cardiovascular health care, since it reduces the risk of arrhythmias, high levels of triglycerides, cholesterol and blood pressure, strokes and heart attacks.
Improve cognitive function
Due to its high levels of iron, consuming shellfish favors cellular oxygenation. This improves the functioning of the various organs of the body, including the brain.
Research shows that increased oxygen flow to the brain translates into better memory and concentration.
Seafood also contains an antioxidant called astaxanthin, which, according to available scientific evidence, improves cognitive performance, brain cell survival, and reduces the risk of inflammatory brain diseases.
Due to its important antioxidant effects, astaxanthin also benefits the health of the skin, specifically by delaying the appearance of different signs of aging, such as marks, wrinkles, or lack of shine.
There are even studies that found that astaxanthin can relieve eye fatigue, especially in people who spend a lot of time in front of screens.
Despite its many health benefits, experts caution that certain precautions should be taken when consuming shellfish.
In the first place, because they are part of the main allergenic foods (along with nuts, eggs, milk, peanuts, fish, soy, wheat and, the recently added, sesame).
This means that they are capable of generating a reaction that has its origin in immune mechanisms. Symptoms of an allergy can vary, but generally occur:
- Cardiovascular problems: arrhythmias or chest pain.
- Skin problems: edema, erythema or itching.
- Gastrointestinal disorders: diarrhea, stomach pain, edema of the oral cavity, nausea, burning or vomiting.
- Eye problems: edema or itching.
- Respiratory problems: asthma, edema of the nasal cavity and throat.
Tropomyosin is the protein responsible for shellfish causing allergic reactions.
In seafood you can also find different amounts of mercury, a substance dangerous to health as it can cause poisoning.
Until there is significant scientific evidence from human trials, people interested in using herbal therapies and supplements should exercise extreme caution.
Do not abandon or modify your medications or treatments, first talk to your doctor about the potential effects of alternative or complementary therapies.
Remember, the medicinal properties of herbs and supplements can also interact with prescription drugs, other herbs and supplements, and even alter your diet.
Sources consulted: Comprehensive Natural Medicines Database, US National Library of Medicine, Mayo Clinic, National Institute for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.