Fresh Mussels Make 2012 Wellness Goals Taste Great

Every January, our focus turns to kicking off the year with a renewed commitment to healthy eating. We join gyms and invest in the latest protein powders and high-fiber shakes in pursuit of a healthier life. But did you know there’s a delicious powerhouse food that’s easy to make and won’t break your wallet just waiting to help us meet our goals?

Fresh mussels are packed with important health benefits. They are rich in nutrients without adding significant calories or fat to meals,” says registered dietitian Lois Ferguson, as he explains the benefits of fresh PEI mussels compared to other proteins like meat and poultry. “This makes them the perfect food for people who aim to live a life of fitness and health.”

A 100 gram serving of fresh mussels delivers an excellent source of vitamins and minerals like phosphorus, zinc, manganese, folate, niacin, riboflavin and thiamine. In fact, mussels offer more iron and vitamin B12 than beef. And unlike beef or pork, blue cultured mussels are low in saturated fat but high in protein.

“This makes mussels a great choice for entrées as there’s an abundance of delicious ingredients to combine with them to make healthy meals for family and friends,” notes Ferguson. “Mussels are every bit as versatile as shrimp, for instance, and while they’re both low in saturated fat, mussels have only one-third the amount of cholesterol.”

It’s a common expression that seafood is “brain food” and research shows that long-chain omega-3 fats in our food helps the brain, eyes and nerves. Ferguson points out that “compared to the very popular and healthy choice of halibut, a 100 gram serving of fresh blue cultured mussels has 125 percent of the omega 3 fats found in the same serving of halibut. So you can really think of mussels as having similar health benefits to fish.”

Often thought to be solely in the realm of fruits and vegetables, mussels are also a rich source of selenium, a mineral and dietary antioxidant involved in the formation of a protein that defends against oxidative stress.

“In addition to providing antioxidants, mussels are a good source of vitamin C, which is rare among protein sources,” says Ferguson. “A 100 gram serving of mussels provides 14 milligrams of vitamin C, compared to the same size serving of watermelon which has only 9 milligrams.”

Enjoy a nutrient-rich meal with this Thai recipe:

SWEET THAI MUSSELS

Ingredients:

4 pounds fresh PEI mussels
4 ounces white wine
2 teaspoons red onions, finely chopped
6 tablespoons sweet chili sauce
4 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro
1⁄2 lime squeezed

Instructions:

Rinse fresh PEI mussels in cold water. Tap any mussels that are still open. Discard any mussels that remain open.

In a sauté pan place mussels adding wine, red onions, sweet chili sauce, cilantro and lime. Cover pan and allow to steam until mussels start to open up. Sauté the pan occasionally to ensure the chili sauce coats all the mussels. Discard any mussels that do not open. Serve mussels a large oval bowl with your favorite bread for dipping.

Learn more about mussel health at discovermussels.com, and find more mussel recipes at discovermussels.com/recipes.

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