By Keri Glassman, MS, RD, CDN
What They Are
Call ‘em mollusks, call ‘em bivalves or call ‘em aphrodisiacs -- today we’re talking sexy, slurpy, slimy oysters for you and your valentine. A close relative to clams and scallops, oysters are eaten worldwide -- and for good reason. They grow in any body of saltwater and come in many crazy shapes and sizes, depending on the environment they live in. You’ve heard the rumor that they’re good for you, and that they help you get your romance on, right? So pull on your sexiest skivvies and shimmy up to the oyster bar tonight (for your health)!
The Dirty Deets
Does that shellfish tower lustfully call for you? Don’t feel any guilt when eating oysters. A half-dozen medium oysters will run you about 45 calories, has less than 1.5 grams of fat and contains a whopping 5 grams of protein. Keep in mind that raw oysters are not for people who are immunocompromised, and the risk of a getting a life-threatening foodborne illness is real for everyone who eats them. If you haven’t tried oysters steamed or smoked, they're a safer bet -- with all of the same great nutrition.
- Oysters contain all 9 essential amino acids; they're rich in protein, minerals and omega-3 fatty acids. All of these things will keep you strong -- and keep your immune system charged. And you barely have to chew them to knock back their nutrients!
- Oysters' "sexiness" may be due to the fact that, to some people, they resemble female genitalia. (Yes, for real: It's believed that oysters' appearance alone may make you want to... you know.) It could also be due to the fact that oysters are rich in zinc, which is essential to male fertility. Also, the iron found in these little globules keeps energy up and oxygen flowing -- two things that are helpful in the bedroom. So is it myth or fact that eating oysters brings out lust? Best to answer that one by testing it for yourself!
How To Chow Down
Unless you're adventurous in the kitchen, eat your raw oysters at a good restaurant. It's not easy to pry those little suckers out. It takes mad shucking skills to make good things happen, and requires a glove and a special little knife (one that's infamous for causing self-inflicted stab wounds to the hand).
- If you do possess the determination to eat oysters in the comfort of your own home, classic toppings include Tabasco, lemon, horseradish, cocktail sauce and mignonette, a fancy vinegar-and-shallot concoction guaranteed to pull a happy pucker out of your date.
- Steamed oysters make for a great, healthful oyster adventure. They’re a down-and-dirty way to feast. Smoked oysters are a more refined appetizer and taste great straight from the tin, when placed on top of low-fat cream cheese and a mini toast, or even blended into a spread. Delish.
In The Know
It may be hard to stay away from the fried oyster po’ boys and oyster casseroles that you adore, but the saturated fat in them will dampen your sexiness. Covered with oil, cream or cheese, oysters are a nutrition don’t. So keep ‘em clean, kids! Raw, steamed and smoked oysters will bring out your heat this Valentine’s Day. And if your date asks, say you ordered them in the name of research!