What Are the Benefits of Eating Oysters? 5 Potential Benefits

Medically Reviewed on 5/11/2022
What Are the Benefits of Eating Oysters
Learn about the potential health benefits of oysters, as well as some of the side effects of eating them raw

Oysters are packed with nutrients while being low in calories. They are a particularly good source of zinc and vitamin B12, which help keep your brain healthy.

Learn about the potential health benefits of oysters, as well as some of the side effects of eating them raw.

5 potential benefits of eating oysters

  1. Low in calories: Oysters are naturally low in calories, which makes them a good addition to your diet if you are trying to lose weight. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 6 medium-sized oysters have just 47 calories, although this varies depending on the method of preparation (steamed oysters have fewer calories than fried oysters).
  2. High in protein: One oyster provides you with about 2 grams of protein depending on its size. That means that 6 medium-sized oysters can give you about 12 grams of protein, which equals protein content in about 2 ounces of meat.
  3. Improves heart health: Seafood is a good source of lean protein and omega-3 fatty acids, both of which are nutrients that promote heart health. Oysters also contain potassium, which can help lower blood pressure.
  4. Boosts immunity: Oysters are rich in zinc, which has beneficial effects on the immune system and can reduce the duration of the common cold and gut infections if started as a supplement in its initial stages.
  5. May prevent osteoporosis: Some preliminary studies suggest that certain compounds in oysters may help prevent bone loss. Although more evidence is needed, oysters can be consumed to promote bone health because of their protein and calcium content.

What is the nutritional value of oysters?

Table: Nutritional composition of 100 grams of raw Pacific oysters according to the USDA
Nutrient Amount
Calories 81 kcal
Proteins 9.45 grams
Fats 2.30 grams
Carbohydrates 4.95 grams
Zinc 16.6 mg
Copper 1.58 mg
Vitamin B12 16 mcg
Iron 5.11 mg
Magnesium 22 mg
Potassium 168 mg
Selenium 77 mcg

Are there any risks to eating oysters?

Oysters are often served raw, usually packed naturally in the shells. However raw oysters carry the risk of contamination with bacteria, parasites, or viruses if harvested from unclean water. 

Eating raw or undercooked oysters can cause infections, including Vibrio infection, norovirus infection, and hepatitis A. These conditions can cause symptoms that include:

These infections can turn life-threatening and require urgent medical attention. Eating raw oyster meat can also cause serious side effects in people with certain medical conditions, such as:

  • Diabetes
  • HIV infection
  • Liver disease
  • Chronic bowel and stomach diseases
  • Hemochromatosis or hemosiderosis (abnormal iron metabolism)
  • Steroid dependency (conditions that require frequent administration of steroids, such as asthma)
  • Achlorhydria (lowered secretion of acid required for digestion)
  • Cancer
  • Any illness or medical treatment that results in a weakened immune system
  • Excessive alcohol intake

This is why major health organizations recommend only eating oysters that have been thoroughly cooked, as cooking in high heat can kill harmful germs.


According to the USDA, there is no difference between a “portion” and a “serving.” See Answer

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Medically Reviewed on 5/11/2022
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Cleveland Clinic. The Many Reasons to Love Oysters — Even If You Hate Them. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/7-reasons-to-love-oysters-even-if-you-hate-them/

Virginia Department of Health. Risks of eating raw oysters and clams. https://www.vdh.virginia.gov/epidemiology/epidemiology-fact-sheets/risks-of-eating-raw-oysters-and-clams/

FoodData Central. Mollusks, oyster, Pacific, raw. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/174219/nutrients