Oysters are a kind of bivalve mollusks that can be found in marine habitats like oceans and bays. Rich in health benefits, they are one of the most popular seafood options around the world.
Oysters belong to the Ostreidae family are commonly eaten as raw or cooked. However, the variety of these mollusks that come from Pteriidae family are not edible — they are the one that bear pearl.
While eaten as a delicacy, oysters have a lot to offer in terms of health benefits. They are highly nutritious and can be beneficial for your health if consumed in a proper way.
Continue reading to learn about the health benefits of oysters and how to cook them properly. This article also looks into some of the side effects that you need to be concerned about.
Nutritional Profile of Oysters
The hard, irregular-shaped shell protects the plump inner body of oysters. The meat is rich in vitamins, minerals, and other healthy organic components. 
According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, a 100 gram serving of wild eastern oysters offers the following nutrients:
Calories: 68 kcal
Fat: 3 grams
Protein: 7 grams
Thiamin: 0.15 mg
Vitamin B-12: 15.63 µg
Vitamin C: 3.8 mg
Zinc: 87.13 mg
Potassium: 244 mg
Sodium: 417 mg
Potential Health Benefits of Oysters
1. Oysters Can Aid in Weight Loss.
Oysters are high in nutrients and low in calories, which means they can ensure proper nourishment without increasing your weight. 
Compared to other food, such as chicken breast, oysters contain almost half the calories. It makes them an excellent choice to include in your diet if you want to shed some calories.
Besides, consuming oysters can stabilize your hunger and give you the feeling of fullness, which will eventually encourage weight loss. 
2. It Is Rich in Protein.
Oysters contain all the essential amino acids your body requires, which make it an excellent source of protein.
Apart from boosting weight loss, a high-protein diet can also regulate your blood sugar level. This is particularly helpful for those who have diabetes.
A review of nine trials, including 418 diabetic patients showed that following a high-protein diet could significantly reduce hemoglobin A1C level, which is a marker of blood sugar level in people with type-2 diabetes. 
If you are searching for an excellent source of protein, oysters could be a delicious option for you.
3. Oysters May Protect Heart Health.
Oysters are excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids that can reduce the content of bad cholesterol in your bloodstream.
Omega-3 fatty acids can decrease the chances of plaque accumulation by preventing the bad cholesterol from binding to the blood vessels and artery wall. 
Eighteen randomized control trials were held involving 1099 adults with type-2 diabetes. Results show that a high-protein diet could significantly decrease triglyceride levels, thus reduced the risk of cardiovascular disease. 
4. It Has Aphrodisiac Power.
Zinc deficiency can lead to complications like erectile dysfunction and impotence.
High in zinc content, oysters are quite famous as an aphrodisiac. It may treat sexual dysfunction in men.
A 2003 study published in the Congenital Anomalies shows that oysters extract could improve the reproductive function in zinc-deficient mice. 
Besides, oysters can be useful for embryonic development in women.
5. Oysters Can Boost Immunity.
Free radicals can attack the healthy cells of your body and mutate your DNA into cancerous cells.
Oysters have a significant amount of vitamin C and E, and other components like antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, which can help eliminate these free radicals. 
Apart from cancer, free radicals can also cause premature aging, heart disease, and general body disrepair. Antioxidants in oysters can fight the free radicals and boost your immune function. 
6. It May Increase Blood Circulation.
Oysters are rich in iron, offering more than 90% of daily requirements in each serving. 
Iron is known as the primary defense against anemia or iron deficiency. It’s the main component in the red blood cells formation in your body.
Iron found in oysters can help to supply fresh blood cells in your circulatory system, making sure that your organ systems can function efficiently.
7. Oysters Can Boost Bone Health.
The high level of zinc, calcium, phosphorus, iron, selenium, and copper help to improve your bone mineral density and protect you from conditions like osteoporosis.
These minerals are the key contributors to strengthen your bones.
According to the research published in the journal Bone and Mineral, the calcium supplement in oyster shell electrolysate may improve osteoporosis. 
8. It May Reduce Oxidative Stress.
Regular consumption may reduce oxidative stress, thanks to its unique antioxidant named 3,5-Dihydroxy-4-methoxybenzyl alcohol (DHMBA).
A test tube study conducted in 2015 show DHMBA could fight oxidative stress 15 times better than Trolox. It is a synthetic form of vitamin E that is mostly used to inhibit damage due to oxidative stress. 
Besides, DHMBA may protect your liver cells from damage caused by oxidative stress. 
Although the studies are currently limited in test tubes, researchers think that DHMBA may effectively prevent liver disease in the future. 
Potential Side Effects of Oysters
Although oysters come with numerous health benefits, you may have to take some precautions, particularly when you’re eating them raw.
- As oysters have high mineral content, you might suffer from toxicity or mineral overdose.
- Vibrio bacteria found in raw oysters may cause disorders like diarrhea, fever, and even septicemia — a severe blood infection. 
- Mollusks like oysters may contain harmful chemicals contaminants, such as mercury, cadmium, and lead.
- If you are allergic to seafood, consuming oysters can affect you as well.
Oysters are rich in nutrition that offer a number of health benefits. They contain a significant amount of minerals and vitamins that can improve your overall health in various ways.
However, eating raw oysters may cause some severe health damage due to a high amount of minerals and some harmful chemicals. Nutritionists suggest that you only eat them cooked.
You can enjoy the numerous benefits of oysters if you eat them responsibly and with delicacy.