Can Pregnant Women Eat Clams?

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When you’re pregnant, it becomes important to investigate the food you’re eating and seafood especially needs attention so that it may cause no harm and provide nutritional benefits. When it comes to clams , their safety is entirely dependent on how they’re cooked. If it’s clam chowder Or steamed clams, it all depends on the products used for their cooking. As for clam chowder , it is safe to eat if the other ingredients used for cooking are also pregnancy safe like pasteurized milk and cream.

clam during pregnancy

Nutritional profile of Clams

Clams are amongst the most nutritional seafood. They are filled with various essential vitamins and minerals . 100g of clams contain the following nutrients:-

  • Calories- 74 kcal
  • Carbohydrate- 2.6 g
  • Fat- 0g
  • Omega-3 198 mg
  • Omega-6 0 mg
  • Protein 12.8 g

They contain vitamins like Vitamin C, Vitamin B2, B3, Vitamin A They are exceptionally high in iron and vitamin B12.

The mineral content of clams per 100g is:

Highest in Iron with 78 %,  Selenium 35 %, Manganese and Phosphorus 17 %, Copper 17 % , Zinc 9 % . They also contain 9% Potassium and 5% calcium, Magnesium  and Sodium 2 %.

5 Surprising Health Benefits Of Clam

Rich In Protein

Clams provide 12.8g protein for per 100g of it. They are an excellent source of lean protein and they provide exceptional protein density . One of the clam health benefits is that eating clam during pregnancy gives protein to the body and Protein helps in the development of baby and it also help your baby to grow normally. It also makes anti-bodies for their immune system. Eating Clams Regularly may also improve your zinc status and overall immune function. They are loaded with protein and healthy fats .

Excellent Source Of Vitamin C

Clams are a rare non plant source of vitamin C. Intake of vitamin C during pregnancy is very important as it helps you and your baby to make collagen for your tendons, bone and skin. It also helps in developing a healthy immune system . It is evident that vitamin C in our body helps in tissue repair, wound healing, bone growth and repair, and healthy skin. This vitamin also acts as an antioxidant, protecting cells from damage and helps your body to fight infections.

Rich In Iron

One of the most profound health benefits of clams is that they are exceptionally rich in iron. Deficiency of iron causes anemia during pregnancy, it also leads to fatigue. So it becomes crucial to include iron in your diet. Iron plays an essential role in oxygen transport and is necessary for a wide range of metabolic processes. Iron is also needed during breastfeeding. Iron requirements during pregnancy begin to increase at the beginning of second trimester .

Provides Omega-3

omega-3 fatty acids are  building blocks of foetal brain and retina, so the consumption of omega 3 becomes essential during pregnancy. Clams provide substantial amount of Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) which are the most bioavailable forms of omega. They may also play a role in preventing perinatal depression and determining the length of gestation period, so you can have clams during pregnancy.

Exceptional Source Of Vitamin B-12

Vitamin B12 helps in Forming and maintaining DNA, Producing red blood cells and Protein synthesis. It is crucial for human health. During pregnancy, it plays an important role in brain development and functioning. They provide far more vitamin B12 as compared to beef, which is generally regarded to have high vitamin B12. Clams are essentially rich source of vitamin B12 and including clams in your diet can provide you with many health benefits.

How To Consume Clams

Before cooking clams, it becomes important to clean them thoroughly. Before cooking live clams you should gently tap the clam and if it’s still alive and healthy, it will close. Do not any that don’t close and discard them. Clean the clam or scrub them under running water to remove any debris or sand.

Here are some of the ways to eat clams.:

  • Clam chowder – one of the most popular way of eating clams is clam chowder . While preparing clam chowder, make sure that the clams are fresh and boiled for 3 minutes in the chowder or soup to cook them completely. Use pasteurized milk and cream in the chowder as it is pregnancy safe. Serve it hot.
  • Fried clams- Also known as clam strips, deep fried clams are safe to eat in pregnancy if they are fully cooked.
  • Steamed clams- Clean the clams and steam them for 5 to 8 minutes, Clams will open when they are cooked all of the way through. If Some among them  have not opened, it means they were either not cooked long enough or they are bad and should be discarded. Steamed clams are safe to eat during pregnancy if they are thoroughly cooked.

Dietary Restrictions

Do not eat raw clams as they can bear bacteria and pathogens like Vibrio vulnificus, a type of bacteria found in saltwater. This bacteria can be found in all types of seawater, even the ones that have been approved for harvesting clams and other shellfish. It is best to cook clams as most bacteria are killed by cooking and thus cooking clams makes it safer to consume.

Conclusion

All in all, clams are a lean source of protein; are rich in minerals, vitamins, and Omega- 3 fatty acids. They have been found to possess cancer-preventing properties. They should be consumed fully cooked and it is great to include them in your diet, as they are very nutritious whole food with low fat, low mercury that can be enjoyed safely In pregnancy.

Overall, they are also a top source of potassium and Vitamin B12 which makes them a superfood.

References:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6104785/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2211746/

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