The sea, as we know, is full of hidden mysteries and treasures. There are lots and lots of different types of seafood that you might be craving. One of these is clams. Did you know that there are about 150 species of edible clams in the world? Yes, pal! When cooked, their flavor will put you on cloud nine, but there is even more to them than meets the eye. Their health benefits are also wide-ranging and promote overall health. If you want to know more about this amazing seafood, feel free to keep reading this article.
What are Clams?
‘Clam’ is actually a common term that is used to define several types of bivalve mollusks. The term is usually applied to those who live as infauna, meaning they spend most of their lives partly buried in the ocean floor. Clams, as we know them, have two equal-sized shells that are linked by two striated muscles and have a great delving foot. Those clams used in the culinary field do not live as if they’re attached to a substrate, and they also do not live nearing the bottom of the sea.
Clams are a popular type of mollusk due to their chewy texture and salty taste. However, clams are also dense in nutrients. In fact, they contain a lot of vitamins, minerals and iron and are also good sources of lean protein due to their low fat content.
There are many types of clams available all over the world. However, most of the ones that we consume are those that are hollowed out in sandy water areas. While clams don’t have brains, there are some that can dig about an inch every second.
Fresh clams must be alive upon purchase and must have a fresh, but mild ocean smell. The shells must be firmly closed, or close up when tapped, because open shells are actually an indication that the clam has already died. Upon cooking, clams open up a bit, signifying that it is dead.
Types of Clams
Here are some of the more popular types of clams and where they can be harvested:
- Razor Clam: Atlantic and Pacific Coast
- Littleneck Clam: Pacific Coast
- Geoduck Clams: Pacific Coast
- Butter Clams: Pacific Coast
- Manila Clams: Pacific Coast
- Mahogany Clams or Ocean Quahogs: Ocean Waters, Gulf and Atlantic Coast
- Steamers or Softshell Clams: Near the shoes of Coastal Waters, Gulf and Atlantic Coast
- Quahogs or Hardshell Clams: Near the shoes of Coastal Waters, Gulf and Atlantic Coast
- Surf Clam: Ocean Waters, Gulf and Atlantic Coast
Nutritional Facts of Clams
One cup of clams (227 grams) contains:
|Polyunsaturated Fat||0.6 grams|
|Monounsaturated Fat||0.2 grams|
|Saturated Fat||0.2 grams|
|Total Fat||2.2 grams|
|Total Calories||703 KJ|
|Total Carbohydrates||5.5 grams|
|Vitamin B12||112 micrograms|
|Vitamin D||9.1 IU|
|Vitamin C||29.5 micrograms|
|Vitamin K||0.5 micrograms|
|Vitamin B6||0.1 milligrams|
|Vitamin E||0.7 milligrams|
|Vitamin A||204 micrograms|
Nutrition and Health Benefits of Clams
Here are some of the health benefits of clams:
- The fair amount of cholesterol in clams is beneficial in maintaining healthy cholesterol.
- The vitamin A content is necessary for maintaining healthy skin, improving vision and promoting bone growth and development.
- The rich potassium content of clams is good for maintaining blood pressure and regulating heart function, along with some other bodily processes.
- Iron levels in clams are much higher than in beef, thus making them essential for those with an iron deficiency.
- The protein levels are way higher than in red meat, thus making clams beneficial in building a much leaner body mass, especially for athletes.
- Clams serve as a good source of phosphorus for the overall body, making them good for the formation of bones and teeth. Additionally, it also helps the body utilize vitamins more efficiently.
- Clams are essential for heart health. This is because they are low in fat content and high in omega-3 fatty acids. This is one of the best health benefits of clams.
As you have read, not only are clams delicious, they are also oozing with so many health benefits!