This shellfish has plenty of healthy attributes—as long as you don’t douse it in butter or mayo. Here, how to keep it healthy.
Nutritional High Notes
A 3½-ounce serving of lobster has 89 calories, 19 grams of protein, and less than 1 gram of fat, making it a lean, low-calorie source of protein.
Like other shellfish, lobster is also packed with nutrients.lobster tail provides a significant amount of minerals, such as zinc, calcium, phosphorus, selenium, and potassium, as well as B vitamins,” says Faye L. Dong, Ph.D., professor emerita, department of food science and human nutrition, University of Illinois. It’s also a low-mercury type of seafood. Mercury (a heavy metal) in fish is a concern, especially for women of childbearing age and young children, because it can damage the brain and nerves.
Though it doesn’t contain as many of the healthy omega-3 fats as some other types of seafood, you’re still getting 83 mg in a 3½-ounce serving. “If you eat lobster one day a week and a fattier fish like salmon one or two times a week, you’ll have your omega-3 intake covered for the week,” says Eric Rimm, Sc.D., professor of epidemiology and nutrition, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
What About the Cholesterol?
Lobster gets a bad rap for being high in cholesterol. And compared with some other foods, it is. A 3½-ounce serving of lean top sirloin steak, for example, has 64 mg of cholesterol, and the same amount of lobster has 145 mg. But a serving of lobster actually contains less cholesterol than an egg, which has 187 mg. “Dietary cholesterol isn’t as important as was once thought,” says Rimm. “In the context of an overall healthy diet, dietary cholesterol is not strongly related to an increase in blood cholesterol or heart disease.”
Saturated fat is the more important thing to focus on when it comes to managing your cholesterol levels and risk of heart disease. And lobster has practically no saturated fat.
Eating a diet that’s high in saturated fat has been shown to increase overall cholesterol levels as well as negatively tipping the balance between “good” HDL and “bad” LDL cholesterol.
Tips for Healthier Lobster Meals
The real problem with lobster is how it’s typically served. “Dousing your lobster with melted butter is a quick way to more than double the amount of calories and fat you’re consuming,” Rimm says. Mixing it with mayonnaise and piling it into a doughy white roll isn’t much better.
Though these are the most popular preparations, “for most people they are a treat eaten only a few times a year,” says Michael Serpa, chef and partner at the Select Oyster Bar in Boston.
For frequent lobster eaters, there are plenty of ways to enjoy it while keeping it a healthy, low-fat food.
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