Raw oysters, considered by many to be a delicacy, are also a source of good nutrition. Oysters are among the suggestions for inclusion in low cholesterol diets from the National Heart and Lung Institute because they contain a balance of lipids, carbohydrates and protein. Compared to poultry, raw oysters are lower in fat, cholesterol and calories, and five medium-sized oysters supply the recommended daily allowance of many necessary minerals.
Fats and Fatty Acids
There are no trans fatty acids in raw oysters. A raw oyster does contain 370 mg of omega-3 fatty acids, and 16 mg of omega-6 fatty acids. The total fat content of a raw oyster is 1.1 g, with 0.3 g being saturated fat, 0.2 g monounsaturated fat, and 0.4 g polyunsaturated fat.
One raw oyster contains a variety of necessary vitamins including small amounts of Vitamins A, B6, C, along with a whopping 133 percent of Vitamin B12. Other vitamins found in a raw oyster include folate, riboflavin, thiamin and pantothenic acid.
Raw oysters are loaded with minerals including calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, copper, manganese and selenium; however, an especially positive health benefit is that oysters are low in sodium, containing only 2 percent of the daily requirements. One raw oyster contains 55 percent of the daily requirement for zinc.
Calories, Carbohydrates & Protein
Low calorie diets can benefit from oyster consumption. One half dozen raw oysters on the half-shell contains only 243 calories. The calories in a single raw oyster are made up of approximately 10 calories from both carbohydrates and fat and 10 calories from protein. There are 4.7 g of protein, or almost 5 percent of the daily requirement for a day’s protein in an oyster. A serving of 5 raw oysters contains 2.5 g of carbohydrates and no significant amount of dietary fiber, starch or sugar.
Vibrio vulnificus is a bacterium that can thrive in areas of the ocean with warm water and low salinity. Care must be taken to make sure that the raw oysters come from water where the temperature is below 86 degrees, and that the oysters are kept cold. In addition, it is only safe to eat raw oyster shells that are closed before shucking and eating. Raw oysters should not be part of a diet for persons suffering from liver disease, impaired immune systems or cancer because of the possibility of bacterial infection.