I love to eat clams in the summer. They remind me of my childhood at the Jersey Shore, as we often enjoyed them on lazy Sunday afternoons as an appetizer before dinner. Perhaps one of the most nutrient dense foods around, many might be surprised to know about the superfood qualities of clams. Their “gummy” and salty properties may make for an acquired taste; however, they can be enjoyed in a variety of ways: steamed, grilled, in dips or soups, with sauces or over pasta, and a trial is definitely in order. One serving size is about 3 ounces, which is about 10 small clams and the nutritional qualities are impressive.
Here are some important reasons to incorporate this mollusk into your diet:
1. Clams are rich in iron. Clams contain more iron than beef or liver. A three ounce serving contains 24 mg of iron, which represents about 150% of the recommended daily intake of iron., based upon a 2000 calorie diet. The form of iron is called heme iron, which is absorbed easier than elemental iron.
2. Clams are rich sources of omega-three fatty acids, without containing unhealthy saturated fat. Omega-threes are essential fatty acids that the body must have, but cannot produce on its own. Omega-threes lower blood pressure and heart rate, lower triglycerides and may reduce inflammation which can lead to atherosclerosis, all essential for heart health.
3. Clams are an excellent source of lean protein. Ten small clams provide 25 grams of protein, 50% of the recommended daily intake.
4. Clams are incredibly high in B12, a vitamin essential for producing red blood cells and aiding in metabolism. One serving contains 1500% of the daily recommended amount. Additionally they contain important vitamins and minerals such as selenium, vitamin A, iodine, chromium and B2.
5. Clams contain high levels of potassium, essential for athletes and those on medications which causes the loss of potassium such as diuretics or certain types of “water pills.” One serving contains about 600mg of potassium, or 15% of the daily recommended amount.
Here is a super simple way of preparing clams.
|Clams on the Grill|| |
- 2 pounds of little neck clams (about 30-36)
- 4 tablespoons of melted butter
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- handful of chopped parsley
- Store clams in refrigerator until ready to prepare.
- Scrub clams well with brush under cold water.
- Discard clams that are broken or are not closed all the way. A live clam should be closed. If open, it is not alive and should not be eaten. A live clam may be slightly open, but should close promptly if tapped on the side. If it closes, it is alive.
- Place clams directly on medium heat grill.
- After 8-10 minutes, the clams should pop open.
- Carefully remove them from grill with tongs.
- If a clam does open after about 12 minutes, do not eat and discard.
- Mix melted butter and olive oil together and stir in parsley.
- Pour oil mixture over clams and enjoy with small fork.