Mussels belong to the family of marine bivalves. In a narrower sense, only a certain genus of the family, Mytilus, is called mussels. Representatives of this group live all over the world’s oceans.
Some of them (Mytilus, Perna, Crenomytilus) are important fisheries targets, along with representatives of another family of bivalves – oysters (Ostreidae). The shells of these mollusks are symmetrical and can close very tightly.
Nutritional value of mussels
100 g of mussels contains only 77 kcal, so mussels are often included in the diet of those who want to lose weight or carefully monitor their weight. The nutritional value of mussels is as follows: 100 g of mussels contain 11.5 g of protein, 2 g of fat, 3.3 g of carbohydrates, 82 g of water, 0.4 g of fatty acids, 16 – 18 µg of vitamin E, 2 -2.5 mg of carotenoids, 1.3 – 1.5 mg of mineral elements.
Mussels are characterized by a large amount of selenium. 100 g of mussels contain 67.2 micrograms of selenium, which is more than the recommended daily intake (55 micrograms for adult men and women).
Mussels are also an excellent source of vitamin B12. 100 g of mussels contain 20.4 micrograms of vitamin B, which is equivalent to 340% of the daily value.
Useful properties of mussels
Mussel meat is a pure, high-quality protein. It is rich in phosphatides, which have a positive effect on liver function. These mollusks are quite fatty, they contain useful polyunsaturated fatty acids that improve brain function and restore visual acuity.
Eating this mollusk reduces the risk of cancer and is also an excellent tool for the prevention of arthritis. Mussels are also famous for their ability to strengthen the immune system.
Moreover, mussels are a natural antioxidant, as they contain vitamin E, as well as vitamins B and D, trace elements, and biologically active substances.
It is recommended to eat mussels in case of various blood diseases – they stimulate the process of hematopoiesis (they contain a large amount of vitamin B12), as well as in areas with increased radiation.
Ways to cook mussels
Very often, mussels are cooked on a hot metal sheet or a fine grill set on charcoal. Mussels are also used to make a kind of barbecue by stringing marinated meat on wooden skewers. Salads are made from mussels, they are pickled, and added to pilaf. There are those who prefer to eat mussels raw. But this is not worth doing. This mollusk is in perfect harmony with lemon juice and fine white wine. This composition makes a real delicacy.
Contraindications to eating mussels
Mussels are not recommended for gout because they, like other mollusks, are rich in protein compounds that are converted to uric acid in the process of metabolism. It is this acid that forms crystals that are deposited in the joints, causing pain.
Mussels can also cause allergies, including cross-allergies, which are caused by the similarity of allergenic structures. In addition, it is not allowed to use this product in case of blood clotting disorders.
In nature, mussels are filters and pass a lot of water through themselves (an average of 70-80 liters), purifying the liquid from various substances dangerous to all living things and harmful microorganisms. Therefore, over time, a strong neurotoxin called saxitoxin accumulates in them.
However, if you choose the right mussels, you can reduce the risk of saxitoxin poisoning to zero.
Thus, doctors recommend not buying mussels with a bad odor, or products with broken and white shells. The general rules of the choice state that the shell flaps should be tightly closed and undamaged, and nothing should be hanging around inside.