The Health Benefits of Calamari

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If you tend to think squid belongs in bait shops rather than kitchens, you might reconsider. Calamari, another name for squid, is a good choice for your healthy lifestyle, whether you're interested in losing weight or just making sure you give your body the nutrients it needs.

Calories and Fat

Plain, uncooked calamari is exceptionally low in calories and fat. Sushi squid, without any additives, has a mere 26 calories per ounce, and less than half a gram of fat. However, if you don't fancy raw calamari, be careful about cooking methods. Calamari is often served fried, which makes it significantly less healthy. A 1 cup serving of breaded, deep-fried squid has 205 calories and 15 percent of the daily value for fat.


Calamari is a good source of protein. An ounce of plain squid offers 4.4 grams of protein, or about 9 percent of the daily value. Protein is well known for its role in building healthy muscles, but is also important to dieters because it helps keep your appetite under control. The body processes protein slowly, helping you stay full, according to the book "The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite."

Vitamins and Minerals

Calamari provides essential vitamins and minerals. A mere 1 ounce provides 9 percent of the daily value for calcium, 6.1 percent of the daily value for vitamin B12, 2.8 percent of the daily value for zinc, and 2 percent of the daily value for vitamin C. The Epicurious Food Dictionary also reports squid is a good source of phosphorus.

Low Mercury Content

In recent years, government agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency have expressed concern over the rising mercury content in fish and seafood. Mercury gets into the oceans as the result of pollution. However, not all fish and seafood are the same when it comes to mercury. The EPA reports that squid is one of the best fish to eat, since it tends to contain very low amounts of mercury.


Aphrodisiac Sea Foods

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If you are looking to improve sexual arousal -- yours or your partners -- try some aphrodisiac seafood. Aphrodisiacs are foods that can increase the potency of the male arousal and increase the cravings of women. These foods vary in origin, type and nutrition value, but each of them has the advantage of increasing sexual desire for each gender. Eating aphrodisiac foods may increase your sexual desire, potency and improve your mood.

Seafood Aphrodisiacs

The most well-known aphrodisiacs are oysters and clams. Other seafood items that can improve potency include lobster and scallops. In fact, the liver of the lobster is supposed to be a potent aphrodisiac. This section of the lobster, called the tomalley, is added to spicy foods as a condiment, as well as several snacks and side dishes.


Side Effects of Eating Raw Seafood

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Seafood and fish can be a part of a healthy and well-balanced diet. Seafood is low in saturated fat, rich in B vitamins, and a good source of protein and iron. Seafood and fish may include salmon, whitefish, tuna, herring, trout, mussels, oysters, crab, shrimp, scallops, clams, cod and lobster. When properly cooked, seafood is a good dietary choice. However, eating raw or undercooked seafood may pose potential side effects and health problems.

Thiamine Deficiency

According to MedlinePlus, eating a large amount of raw fish or shellfish can cause you to become deficient in vitamin B1, or thiamine, an important vitamin for proper digestion, kidney function and prevention of diabetes. MedlinePlus states that eating cooked fish and seafood is safe and does not affect your thiamine levels. This is because cooking can destroy and eliminate chemicals that pose a hazard to thiamine in your body.

Food Poisoning

Eating raw fish or oysters can contribute to food poisoning. Food poisoning occurs when you consume toxins, bacteria, or viruses from water or food that contains these harmful substances. Symptoms of food poisoning include nausea, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, headache, weakness, and nausea and vomiting.


Viral hepatitis occurs when your liver becomes inflamed. One possible cause of hepatitis is contamination by a water or food source. The University of Maryland Medical Center recommends that you avoid eating raw or undercooked fish and shellfish, especially when traveling, in order to reduce your risk of being contaminated with the hepatitis virus.


Health Benefits of Squids

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Health Benefits of Squids:

  1. Squids contain sufficient copper that fulfills the 90% of the body’s requirement. Copper, being a trace mineral, is essential for absorbing, storing and metabolizing iron and stimulating the formation of red blood cells.
  2. Individuals suffering from rheumatoid arthritis are often found to have low selenium levels in their blood. Since squids have an abundance of this mineral, it helps in relieving symptoms of arthritis and controlling damage caused by free radicals.
  3. Proteins, found in squids, are extremely beneficial for the healthy functioning of the human body. Consumption of snails is highly recommended in keeping the skin, muscles, hair and nails, in good shape.
  4. Frequency and duration of migraines are lowered due to the presence of vitamin B2 (riboflavin) in plentiful quantities, in squids. Research indicates that riboflavin supplements are a good remedy for the prevention of migraines.
  5. Squids contain large amounts of phosphorus, similar to fish and shrimps. This mineral is necessary for stimulating calcium and building the bones and teeth.
  6. A great source of vitamin B12, squids are known to lower homocystein levels in the body, which can otherwise increase the rate of strokes and heart attacks.
  7. Squids help in stabilizing sugar levels in the blood due to an increased supply of vitamin B3 to the body.
  8. Deficiency of zinc can lead to a range of infectious organisms damaging the body. However, squids which are rich in this component strengthen the immune system.

Seafood and Current Dietary Recommendations

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Food alone cannot make a person healthy, but good eating habits based on variety and moderation can help keep a person healthy and may even improve health. The U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services and Agriculture issued Dietary Guidelines in 2010 which are intended to help people maintain their health. The guidelines suggest that Americans should increase their seafood consumption and eat seafood twice a week. In addition, the omega-3 fatty acids found in seafood may provide other significant health benefits. In order to maximize the health benefits of seafood, healthy preparation methods, like baking, are recommended. Major conclusions in the 2010 dietary guidelines describe the steps that can be taken to help all Americans adopt health-promoting nutrition and physical activity including:

  1. Prevent and/or reduce overweight and obesity through improved eating and physical activity behaviors.
  2. Choose a variety of protein foods, which include seafood, lean meat and poultry, eggs, beans and peas, soy products, and unsalted nuts and seeds.
  3. Increase the amount and variety of seafood consumed by choosing seafood in place of some meat and poultry.
  4. Replace protein foods that are higher in solid fats with choices that are lower in solid fats and calories and/or are sources of oils.

Health effects of seafood

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Seafood is a natural part of a balanced diet. It contains high levels of several important nutrients ( and thus helps us maintain a good nutritional status, important for our health).

The importance of diet

Obesity and other lifestyle-related diseases are increasing in the western world. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has estimated that 80 per cent of cardiac infarctions, 90 per cent of diabetes type 2 and 30 per cent of cancer occurrences could be prevented with better diets, regular physical activity and not smoking. In Europe, more than 70 per cent of the most important risk factors associated with non-communicable diseases are related to our diet. These diseases are closely related to excess weight gain partly due to a high intake of e.g. sugar and energy dense foods , highlighting the importance of a healthy diet.

A varied and healthy diet is a prerequisite for good health. Fish and other seafood are an important part of a balanced diet and contribute to a good nutritional status. The Norwegian health authorities’ general recommendation is to increase the consumption of fish, both for dinner and as spread. This recommendation applies especially to those who currently eat no or very little fish as part of their diet. Children, young people, pregnant women in particular eat little fish. A good nutritional status is especially important for these vulnerable groups. Seafood contains high levels of many important nutrients that are not commonly found in other foods. It is an excellent source of proteins, very long-chain omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA), vitamin D, selenium and iodine. Fatty fish and certain fatty seafood products have the highest level of marine omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D in our diet.

Good for your heart health

We know quite a lot about the health effects of isolated nutrients present in fish, but less about the combined effects of nutrients in fish, i.e. how fish as food contribute to promote and maintain good health.. So far the documented beneficial effects of a high intake of fish are mainly related to the content of EPA and DHA, which make the veins more elastic, prevent blood clots, reduce blood pressure, stabilise heart rhythm and generally reduce the risk of a heart attack.

Good for your heart health

We know quite a lot about the health effects of isolated nutrients present in fish, but less about the combined effects of nutrients in fish, i.e. how fish as food contribute to promote and maintain good health.. So far the documented beneficial effects of a high intake of fish are mainly related to the content of EPA and DHA, which make the veins more elastic, prevent blood clots, reduce blood pressure, stabilise heart rhythm and generally reduce the risk of a heart attack.

Other health effect from seafood

Epidemiological studies have shown an association between seafood consumption and a lower prevalence of depression. This indicates that consuming seafood result in lower risk of depression. Consumption of fish and other seafood is also important during pregnancy and foetal development, including foetus growth and neurobiological development.Most studies have involved pure fish oil or capsules containing various fish oils or pure EPA and DHA. By contrast, very few intervention studies have explored the health effects of a regular intake of fish and other seafood. Hence NIFES aims to study the overall health effects of seafood intake in relation to obesity, diabetes type 2 and mental health.


Cholesterol & Seafood

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It is important to keep your cholesterol at a healthy level. Eating foods with too much saturated fat can raise blood cholesterol and have adverse effects on the health of the body. Seafood naturally contains cholesterol, but the amounts and effects may not be as scary as people think. You can enjoy all types of seafood in your diet and still maintain good cholesterol levels.


Some types of seafood have positive effects on cholesterol. Fatty fish, such as salmon or mackerel, increases HDL levels in the blood. HDL is known as “good” cholesterol because high levels help lower your risk of coronary artery disease. Other fish, such as sardines and tuna, contain beneficial omega-3 fatty acids and lower triglyceride levels in the blood as well. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), including seafood in your diet may help to prevent cardiovascular disease.


Shellfish is often avoided by many because of the misconception that it raises bad cholesterol levels. According to a study at the University of Washington, shellfish pose no danger to cholesterol levels. This study found that some of the most commonly eaten shellfish, including oysters, crabs, clams, shrimp and mussels, showed no evidence of raising cholesterol levels. Crab and clams actually lowered the LDL levels (bad cholesterol). Mussels and oysters also lowered LDL, while raising HDLs. Fish and seafood contain a small amount of cholesterol, but are also rich in healthy, unsaturated fat and low in saturated fat, the type of fat that tends to raise blood cholesterol..


Seafood is a part of a healthy balanced diet. The AHA recommends that no more than 300 mg of cholesterol per day is healthy for adults. Most of the commonly eaten seafood selections are well below this parameter. For example, 3 oz. of lobster contains 61 mg of cholesterol; 3 oz. of crab contains 80 mg of cholesterol. There are 166 mg in a serving of 15 shrimp, and 48 mg in a serving of five mussels. Six oysters contain 58 mg of cholesterol, and a serving of four scallops has less than 34 mg.

Considerations and Warnings

You can increase the amount of cholesterol in your seafood by how you choose to prepare it. Deep frying, and using butter and sauces will increase the cholesterol content of seafood or any other food. Try broiling, grilling or baking when preparing seafood and cook with very little oil.

The key to maintaining healthy cholesterol levels in any food is moderation. If you eat an excessive amount of seafood containing cholesterol, your cholesterol intake from other foods should be modified so that you don’t exceed the recommended 300 mg per day.
Courtesy: Niya Mclver/ Photo Credit:  IvanMikhaylov/iStock/Getty Images

How to Reheat Seafood Safely

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Seafood makes for a delicious and healthy meal, and cooking enough for leftovers ensures you can enjoy your dish without having to make it from scratch. Eat leftovers within four days of when the meal was prepared to prevent food poisoning or other food-borne illnesses. The key when reheating seafood is to prevent it from becoming too dry while ensuring it tastes as good as it did initially.


Step 1

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step 2

Place the leftover seafood in a casserole dish. Grease the dish with butter, olive oil or non-stick cooking spray if you are reheating fish or something that typically sticks to the pan when cooking.

Step 3

Cook the seafood for 12 to 15 minutes, turning it once halfway through the cooking process. Cooking times may vary depending on the amount and thickness of your seafood; thicker or stuffed fish may take up to 20 or 25 minutes, whereas something thin like calamari strips may finish reheating in 10 minutes. Keep an eye on your leftovers to avoid overcooking them.

Step 4

Remove your leftover seafood from the oven when it is hot all the way through. The USDA recommends reheating leftovers to an internal temperature of 165 degrees. Serve immediately.


Step 1

Place 1 tablespoon of butter or olive oil into a skillet and warm on the stove over medium heat.

Step 2

Put your leftover seafood into the skillet and sauté for three to five minutes on each side. Thinner or smaller amounts of food will take less time to cook than thicker foods.

Step 3

Watch the leftovers cooking in the pan to avoid burning your meal. Turn the seafood over halfway through cooking.

Step 4

Remove the seafood from the pan when it is browned on both sides and hot all the way through. Serve while hot.

Seafood Diet Plan for One Week

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Regularly eating fish and shellfish provides lean protein and high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, which reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. A seafood diet uses fish and shellfish for your primary protein sources -- if this is something you're interested in, try it for a week to see if it's right for you. Always consult your doctor before dramatically changing your diet. The Food and Drug Administration urges women who are or may become pregnant, young children and nursing mothers not to eat fish that are high in mercury. These varieties include shark, swordfish, mackerel and tilefish.

Flavorful Seafood Breakfasts

Egg-based breakfasts typically go well with fish and shellfish. For something quick, try scrambled eggs with salmon or crab meat and a couple handfuls of leafy greens. Serve the scramble on whole-grain toast or in a tortilla for a more filling breakfast. An English muffin with a fillet of tilapia or cod and a slice of low-fat cheese is another tasty seafood breakfast, as is an egg casserole with shrimp or scallops. If you have leftovers from a seafood-based dinner or lunch, don't hesitate to reheat them, add a slice of toast or a piece of fruit and call it breakfast.

Fishy Lunch Options

Salads and sandwiches are healthful lunches that work great with seafood. For example, have an arugula salad loaded with vegetables and toss it with scallops, steamed prawns or oysters. Alternately, make a creamy seafood salad with beans, corn and plain yogurt to use as a sandwich filling. Fish fillets of any variety paired with a few fresh vegetables make tasty fillings for sandwiches, wraps and pitas. Another lunch to try is steamed fish over rice or another whole grain and seasoned with lemon or lime juice.

Simple Seafood Dinners

Pastas, soups and stir-fries are excellent seafood-based dinners, and most don't require a lot of time to prepare. Try pasta in low-fat Alfredo sauce tossed with cod, founder, scallops or sole. You can also make a big batch of clam chowder or jambalaya soup as dinner for the next several days. A stir-fry with almost any kind of seafood and fresh vegetables served over cooked whole grains is another easy choice. Have a banana or a handful of berries for dessert to help make your meals balanced.

On-the-Go Seafood Snacks

Seafood snacks aren't as uncommon as you might think. For example, fish jerky is tasty, portable and available in a wide range of flavors and varieties. Canned seafood like oysters, tuna, sardines and herring make nutritious snacks as well. If you're preparing snacks for a crowd, try shrimp cocktail, muscles or oysters.

Sample Seafood Menu

You don't need seafood in every meal of the day, every day of the week. To minimize your mercury intake, focus on low-mercury seafood that like salmon, shrimp, canned light tuna, pollock and catfish. A sample day on the seafood diet could start with a spinach and Swiss cheese omelet and a banana for breakfast, and then a snack of salmon jerky. For lunch, you could have a chickpea salad tossed with tomatoes and mangoes, and then for dinner a bowl of clam chowder with a slice of toast and fruit salad for dessert.

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