Shellfish are marine animals that have a hard shell. This includes crab, shrimp, and lobster which are defined as crustaceans, and the mollusk family which includes oysters and clams. Shellfish offer some great nutritional value to any diet.
First they are high in protein which is essential for building and maintaining tissues in our bodies. A 3 oz. serving of lobster has 16.15g of protein, while 3 oz. of oysters has 9.71g of protein, and 3 oz. of shrimp has 19.36g of protein. Shellfish are considered low fat because 15% or less of their calories come from fat. Shellfish contain some healthy fats including omega 3. Other nutrients such as iron, zinc, copper, and vitamin B-12 are also present in shellfish.
Cholesterol is important in order to make bile acids, vitamin D, and sex hormones. Too much cholesterol can hinder health, but luckily, most shellfish excluding squid contain a small amount of cholesterol and could be good for those who are trying to decrease cholesterol levels in their diet. Non-cholesterol sterols (also known as plant sterols) can be found in scallops and clams. These non-cholesterol compounds are absorbed from the intestine and actually decrease the amount of cholesterol absorbed having a positive health effect.