Clams are ocean creatures that live inside shells. The meat inside the shells is considered a delicacy for many people and are often included in pasta recipes and soup recipes. In addition to being a low-fat addition to your diet, clams also supply a wealth of vitamins and minerals that can improve your health, as well as feed your skin, notes Allison Tannis in her book, "Feed Your Skin, Starve Your Wrinkles." Serve up some clams to get these key nutrients.
One of the most notable minerals in clams is chromium. According to Linda Page, author of "Cooking for Healthy Healing," you need sufficient amounts of chromium to regulate blood sugar and glucose. Chromium is also essential for regulation of your blood cholesterol levels, which can help protect the health of your heart. Getting plenty of chromium may also help you boost your metabolism and convert body fat into muscle. A serving of clams provides you with a healthy dose of this trace mineral.
Clams contain three important B vitamins: riboflavin, thiamin and niacin. You need plenty of these B vitamins in your daily diet because they help you convert the calories from your food into energy. Niacin, in particular, may have additional health benefits as well. According to MayoClinic.com, niacin has the potential to boost your HDL, or good, cholesterol, as well as help decrease your level of LDL, or dangerous, cholesterol. This can help lower your risk of heart disease.
Eating clams also supplies you with a healthy dose of iron. MayoClinic.com notes that iron is a mineral that enables your body to produce hemoglobin, the part of your red blood cells that transport oxygen to all the organs and systems that help keep you alive. A deficiency in iron can lead to anemia, which results in symptoms like fatigue and shortness of breath. A 3/4-cup serving of clams supplies you with a little more than 3 mg of iron.
Tannis notes that a serving of clams is also a healthy source of both vitamins A and C, both of which are essential for the health of your skin. Vitamin A also promotes healthy eyesight and vitamin C strengthens your white blood cells so you are able to fight off infections and illnesses. Clams also supply some potassium and magnesium, two nutrients important for muscle and heart health. Tannis adds that a serving of clams provides zinc and copper, which are also beneficial for your skin.
- "Feed Your Skin, Starve Your Wrinkles"; Allison Tannis; 2009
- MayoClinic.com; Niacin to Boost Your HDL, Good, Cholesterol; June 2009
- MayoClinic.com; Iron Deficiency Anemia; March 2011
- USDA Nutrient Database: Nutrient Data Laboratory