A recent feature in Paleo Flourish Magazine puts the mighty bivalve in the spotlight. Paleo contributor Jeremy Hendon says that although he doesn’t really believe in Super-foods, “the Oyster comes pretty darn close”.
We concur. Let’s take a look at Jeremy’s top 5 cases for the oyster and share our thoughts on what makes for it’s Super-Food status…
1. They’re versatile.
“They can be served raw (usually sitting “on the half shell”, on one of its two shells), smoked, baked or as the main ingredient in oyster stew.”
We’ve made oysters the cornerstone of our menu. One of our favorite ways to eat fresh oysters is naked on the half-shell, but the culinary possibilities have inspired us to experiment with a whole range of healthy and hearty dishes including fresh salads, savory curries, sandwiches, Asian fusion, and beyond. If you are among the uninitiated and are little intimidated by oyster, you’ll be more than pleasantly surprised by our delicious creations.
2. Oysters are a sustainable seafood.
“Farmed oysters account for 95% of the world’s total oyster consumption, but unlike farmed fish, they get what they need from their source of seawater and don’t require feed sources like soy or fishmeal. They minimally impact their environment and many farms are well-managed and sustainably operated. Always select fresh oysters that have been harvested under safety guidelines (look for a tag on the container or sack).”
From an environmental perspective, oysters are not only sustainable but are largely responsible for creating a positively contributing to the growing demand for environmental remediation. A single oyster is a mighty filtering machine, pumping approximately 50 gallons of seawater through its body every day and in the process, removing algae and other nutrients, making the water cleaner for other marine life.
As a renewable fertilizer, the ground shell of an oyster can be used as an additive to the garden, improving soil health. Aside from being an essential source of micro-nutrients, oyster shells are high in potassium; very important if you need help getting your plant to stand up, which brings us to the next point…
3. They’ve been helping folks get their sexy on through the ages.
“These legendary aphrodisiacs are rich sources of zinc, a key mineral for male sexual health, testosterone levels and sperm production. Zinc is also vital for other aspects of our health, playing an important role in our senses of taste and smell and enriching our hair, skin and nails.”
One of our favourite points of discussion. Earnest research and field trials into the matter are regularly conducted by our management and staff, and have returned conclusively positive results on boosting libido, virility, and general perkiness of mind and body.
Although the skeptic may find such anecdotal accounts quasi-scientific in nature, as a recent article points out, “…there is some truth to the aphrodisiac rumors. A study presented to the American Chemical Society revealed that oysters contain two amino acids that raise levels of the sex hormones testosterone and estrogen. Although it isn’t clear exactly how estrogen improves libido, increased levels of testosterone have a positive effect on sexual response.”
4. Locally Grown and Harvested
“Because oyster populations exist naturally around the world (except for polar regions), it’s easier to harvest native species in any location. This helps lower the risk of non-native species contaminating the waters in geographic areas worldwide.”
It’s important to note that the appearance and flavour of your oysters will vary by the region, as will the proper conditions for harvest. For a quick look at the different species, their flavour, and harvesting tips, check out this awesome oyster infographic.
On Vancouver Island, there are several local oyster farmers to choose from. Our preferred supplier is Effingham Oysters, a highly reputed purveyor of fresh farmed oysters, located just up the coast from our restaurant.
5. Nutritional Health Benefits
“Oysters contain significant amounts of vitamin B-12, iron, calcium, magnesium and potassium in each serving (about six medium raw oysters or 3 ounces of canned).”
The health benefits of fresh oyster is really incredible and we can’t say enough about it. In addition to being a source of a whole range of essential nutrients, oysters are loaded with zinc and selenium, which promotes immune protection, increased metabolism and overall mental alertness and virility.
Oysters are also an environmentally friendly source of protein and contain rare amino acids that have recently been credited to producing aphrodisiac effects in both men and women.
For those readers compelled to seek out additional oyster nutrition facts, we recommend the following resources:
So in short, the oyster is healthy, versatile, sustainable, local, and undisputedly sexy. We think the culmination of these points make the oyster a candidate for ultimate super food status, and Jeremy suggests, a Paleo all-star.
Do you have an oyster-gasmic story or other super food experience that you’d like to share with us? Let us know: leave a comment and join the conversation!
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