What Are Clams?
Members of the invertebrate class, Bivalvia, are generally called “clams”. They are mollusks with bivalved shells (two shells), and there are over 15,000 of them in existence, with about 500 in fresh water, while others live in seas. More studies are showing how nutritious clams are. Although they can be salty and quite chewy, they remain nutritious. Clams contain protein, carbohydrates, iron, potassium, selenium, vitamin B12, and they`re low in calories. In order not to ruin these nutritional contents, ensure you don`t cook clams in oil or butter. As you read, you will discover an ideal way to cook clams. Here`s how clams can benefit your health.
Health Benefits of Eating Clams
Prevents Neurodegenerative Disorders
Clams provide nutrition for the brain, hence preventing neurodegenerative disorders. Their vitamin B12 content, in particular, prevents Alzheimer’s disease and some other neurological diseases.
Regulates Blood Pressure
The potassium content of clams ensures vasodilation and the regulation of blood pressure levels. Regular consumption of clams will increase your potassium level and help you achieve healthy blood pressure levels. You just might need to consider eating this amazing seafood.
Promotes Immune Function
Zinc is essential in promoting immune function. It also enhances some biochemical processes such as phagocytosis, detoxification, and the production of white blood cells. Zinc is usually lost through body fluids such as sweat and semen. It is quite important to renew lost zinc by consuming clams often.
Would you believe that clams contain more iron than beef? A three-ounce serving of clams enriches you with 24 mg iron, way more than your 8 mg daily need. Iron maintains hemoglobin production, hence ensures the circulation of oxygen around the body.
Improves Heart Health
Clams are rich in omega-3 fatty acids; you can get 140 mg of this nutrient from a 3-ounce serving of clams. Omega-3 fatty acids support blood vessel flexibility and reduce the risk of atherosclerotic plaques which attach themselves to the blood vessel walls where they may obstruct blood flow and eventually cause heart attacks and strokes.
Prevents Rheumatoid Arthritis
Selenium deficiency is one of the causes of rheumatoid arthritis, an auto-immune disorder which occurs as a result of low-grade chronic overstimulation of the immune system. This may cause it to misfire and attack cells of the sufferer`s body, thereby deviating from its function of detecting foreign pathogens.
Clams are rich in selenium; hence they produce antioxidant enzymes which inhibit inflammatory damage which the immune system causes to joints.
Improves Thyroid Health
Clams, like many other species of seafood, are rich in iodine which is essential for the production of thyroid hormone. This is vital in the regulation of metabolic processes. Clams are also rich in copper, which like iodine, also aids the production of thyroid hormone.
Aids Collagen Synthesis
Collagen is essential for maintaining the structural integrity of the joint, mucous membranes, skin, and some other cells. People who consume vitamin C regularly don`t have issues with collagen production. Clams are rich in vitamin C, hence they aid collagen synthesis.
Improves Male Fertility
Zinc and selenium are essential for male fertility. They promote sperm motility and testosterone synthesis. They also reduce the risk of producing deformed sperm.
Tips for Cleaning Clams
Now that you know some of the health benefits of eating clams, you might want to give it a try. However, it is important that you have some knowledge of cleaning clams before attempting to eat them. Let`s talk about how to clean clams.
- Use a stiff brush to scrub the external part of the clams thoroughly.
- Immerse clams for some hours in a salt water solution of 1/3 cup of salt to a gallon of water.
- Add about half a cup of cornmeal to eliminate dark matter and sand from the clams` stomachs.
How to Cook Clams
You know how to clean clams; what`s next? Cooking them, definitely! Let`s discuss how to cook clams.
Using the steam method to cook clams is quite effective for the small and medium-sized ones. Let`s get talking!
- 1 pound clams
- 1/4 cup white wine
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon butter
It will take about five minutes to cook cleaned clams with this method.
- Preheat a large saucepan to medium heat, melt the butter in it and stir the garlic in.
- Cook the garlic until it has a tan color. Be careful not to overcook or burn it. If you do, dispose of everything, and restart the process.
- However, if you neither overcook nor burn it, consider it fit for consumption.
Side Effects of Eating Clams
People who consume clams in excess are at risk of overdosing on selenium. Excessive consumption of selenium may cause fatigue, stomach upset, irritability, and nerve damage. Any consumption which exceeds 40mg of selenium daily is an overdose. You might want to consume clams in moderation.
Vitamin B12 Overdose
Vitamin B12 supports the production of amino acids and hemoglobin, however, an excessive intake of it may put you at risk of diarrhea, rashes, itching, or peripheral vascular thrombosis — a blood vessel disease. Moderation is key in consuming clams.
Excessive consumption of iron may cause diabetes, liver damage, stomach issue, Alzheimer`s disease, heart disease, and certain cancers. You might need to consume clams in moderation, especially if you already derive some amount of iron from other sources.
26 Facts about Clams
- Freshwater clams can survive in an aquarium.
- The three main types of clams are soft-shelled, hard clams, and surf clams.
- There are over 15,000 species of clams, however, they`re not all edible.
- There are over 150 edible species of clams.
- Clams feed on plankton.
- Clams live upside down in the sand.
- The giant clam can weigh over 400lb and live for over 100 years.
- Clams are one of the most sustainable seafood resources in the U.S.
- It takes about three years for a clam to mature to market size.
- A clam can live for up to 35 years.
- Clams don`t have brains, eyes, noses, or ears.
- Clams love mudflats, coral reefs, and deep oceans.
- Clam flats are areas that are populated with clams.
- Clams feed less during the winter because they need less energy.
- Clams love to be in groups, close to one another.
- Native Americans used clam shells to make spoons, scrapers, knives, and hoes.
- No two giant clams have the same colors and patterns.
- Some clams can survive for years without being in the water.
- You can tell the age of a clam from the growth lines on its shell.
- The clam farming industry has an income of over $50 million annually.
- Early American colonists used salted clams for bait.
- If you are digging for clams yourself, ensure you avoid Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP) — a marine biotoxin.
- Red tide increases the risk of deadly toxin dwelling in water.
- You might need to check with your local marine fishery government agency to be sure that it is safe to clam in the water you intend.
- You can eat small clams raw after cleaning them.
- The larger the clams, the tougher the meat.
Now That You Know…
You have seen the health benefits, side effects, and loads of other details about clams. With moderate consumption, you may have no issues eating clams. If you encounter an allergy or strange reaction of whatever form, do speak with your doctor.