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Can I eat mussels if I have high cholesterol?

Posted on : 30-01-2010 | By : Cindy | In : Maori kai, Seafood, Travelling

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The short answer is yes – you can eat mussels if you have high cholesterol. Mussels are low in kilojoules, cholesterol and fat. The little fat they do have is mostly healthy unsaturated fat with plenty of omega-3’s to help stabilise the heart muscle, reduce triglycerides (a type of fat in the blood), make arteries more elastic (which helps reduce blood pressure) and reduce blood clotting and inflammation.

Douse your mussels with butter, cream or other saturated fat and they will be more of a heart hazard than anything else. But if you eat them as we did at the Boat Shed Cafe in Nelson (northern tip of New Zealand’s South Island) – steamed with garlic, wine and parsley and served with a local pinot gris – your heart and your taste-buds will be very happy.

Last week we jumped on board the Pelorous Sound mail boat which chugs the length of Pelorous Sound three times a week delivering mail to homes that can only be accessed by boat (or in some remote luxury lodges – helicopter). On the way we passed numerous mussel farms – long lines of buoys tucked into sheltered bays, quietly nursing the mussels to maturity. “You can tell where the big ones are by how low the buoy is in the water,” the mail boat driver said. We cruised slowly along one line where the buoy was almost submerged and peered through the clear, turquoise water at the mussels below. This is truly sustainable eco-farming. In fact New Zealand Green lip (also called Greenshell) mussels are one of the top two most eco-friendly seafoods in the world, according to the Blue Ocean Institute.

Mussels are also rich in protein and iron. Six mussels (100 grams) provide around 10mg of easily absorbed haem iron – more than half a woman’s RDI (recommended dietary intake), and a lot more than the equivalent amount of red meat. For the blokes, six mussels gives you all the iron you need for a day – no need for a steak as well!

A platter of six steamed NZ green mussels provides 800mg of omega-3 fat. That more than covers the recommended 500mg per day suggested by the Australian Heart Foundation. Two or three fish meals a week helps keep our heart and arteries healthy so, if you get the chance to try fresh steamed mussels, grab it and enjoy!

My link: Mighty marine mollusc

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Comments (1)

Great article, thank you very much. I was concerned that all shellfish had high cholesterol, but this has moved me back onto mussels!

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