Is Octopus Wholesome? Vitamin, Advantages, Downsides

A dietitian explores the well being advantages, downsides, and dietary worth of consuming octopus.

The octopus is a kind of cephalopod that lives within the ocean.

It’s well-known for having eight legs and being some of the clever creatures within the sea (1, 2).

Octopus can also be a culinary delicacy in coastal areas of the world. It’s a beloved meals of many individuals in Asia-Pacific international locations like Japan and the Koreas in addition to within the Mediterranean, corresponding to Italy and Spain.

In case you’ve eaten octopus earlier than or questioned what it may be like, however you’re uncertain about how wholesome the seafood truly is, this text is for you.

Right here, we’ll take a deeper dive into the dietary profile of octopus, together with its advantages, downsides, and extra.

Like many sorts of seafood, octopus is flexible. The most typical types of octopus used for meals are:

Octopus may be eaten uncooked or cooked.

The most typical methods to cook dinner octopus are:

  • grilling
  • baking
  • steaming
  • boiling
  • poaching
  • stewing
  • frying

Relying on the kind of octopus you’re cooking with, and the way you determine to cook dinner it, octopus can tackle utterly completely different taste and texture profiles.

For instance, some folks have a tough time consuming octopus due to its chewy texture.

To attain a less-rubbery texture, many cooks swear by utilizing frozen octopus or by slow-poaching recent octopus in a flavorful liquid at a low temperature for a minimum of 90 minutes.

Dried octopus normally requires the same period of time for rehydrating and cooking, however chances are you’ll not all the time have time for such a prolonged course of.

In that case, canned octopus can simply be eaten instantly and served plain — or you’ll be able to rapidly spice it up with garlic, herbs and spices, citrus juices, and related seasonings.

SUMMARY

Contemporary octopus is usually utilized in meals, however frozen, dried, and canned varieties are additionally obtainable. There are numerous alternative ways to cook dinner octopus, and a few folks desire to eat it uncooked.

General, octopus is a wholesome supply of lean protein that’s low in energy, fats, and carbohydrates however excessive in amino acids (and thus protein), hint minerals, and micronutrients like nutritional vitamins (2, 3).

Right here is the vitamin profile for 3 ounces (85 grams) of octopus cooked utilizing a moist-heat cooking technique like boiling, braising, or stewing (4):

  • Energy: 139
  • Carbs: 4 grams
  • Protein: 25 grams
  • Fiber: 0 grams
  • Fats: 2 grams
  • Vitamin B12: 1,275% of the Day by day Worth (DV)
  • Selenium: 139% of the DV
  • Copper: 70% of the DV
  • Iron: 45% of the DV
  • Vitamin B6: 32% of the DV
  • Zinc: 26% of the DV
  • Niacin: 20% of the DV
  • Phosphorus: 19% of the DV
  • Sodium: 17% of the DV
  • Pantothenic acid: 15% of the DV
  • Choline: 13% of the DV
  • Magnesium: 12% of the DV
  • Potassium: 11% of the DV

Simply because the preparation technique you select for octopus can alter the style and texture of the ultimate dish, it may also affect the meals’s closing dietary worth (3).

For instance, a 3-ounce (45-gram) serving of dried octopus may comprise as a lot as 1,114 mg of salt — 289% greater than recent cooked octopus (5).

What’s extra, canned octopus is normally packed in oil and subsequently increased in fats (6).

If octopus has been deep-fried, it is going to even be increased in fats and energy than when the seafood is roasted, grilled, poached, or stewed.

Nonetheless, octopus ready any approach is an extremely wealthy supply of many vitamins, corresponding to vitamin B12 and selenium, that are vital for bodily features like forming pink blood cells, synthesizing DNA, and combating dangerous oxidation (7, 8).

Although it’s not fairly as wealthy in unsaturated fat as fatty fish like salmon and tuna, octopus continues to be excessive within the omega-3s docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) (2, 4, 9, 10).

They’re thought-about heart-healthy vitamins as a result of they could assist scale back irritation and defend in opposition to coronary heart illness (2, 4, 9, 10).

SUMMARY

Octopus is an extremely nutritious lean supply of protein. The seafood is low in energy and fats, but it’s stuffed with nutritional vitamins B6 and B12, selenium, copper, iron, zinc, and extra.

Octopus performs a vital function in lots of cultural and culinary traditions.

Not solely does the seafood make for a scrumptious meal to many, however octopus can undoubtedly be part of a nutritious and well-balanced food regimen.

Listed below are a couple of of probably the most spectacular well being advantages of octopus.

It’s a lean protein

“Lean” proteins are good sources of protein that stay comparatively low in energy, fats, and ldl cholesterol.

Packing greater than 25 grams of protein per serving for slightly below 140 energy, octopus undoubtedly suits the outline of a lean protein.

Although octopus does comprise a good quantity of ldl cholesterol — about 82 mg per serving — it nonetheless accommodates lower than squid and shrimp (4, 11, 12).

Plus, analysis on dietary ldl cholesterol and coronary heart illness has begun to shift. Opposite to what was as soon as believed, it appears consuming nutritious sources of ldl cholesterol like eggs and seafood is much less more likely to elevate blood levels of cholesterol than consuming meals like pink meat which might be excessive in saturated fats (13, 14).

In seems {that a} food regimen excessive in lean seafood — even when it accommodates some ldl cholesterol — may very well enhance coronary heart well being somewhat than hurt it (15, 16, 17, 18).

A wealthy supply of wholesome unsaturated fat

The wholesome unsaturated omega-3 fatty acids in octopus could assist stop coronary heart illness, however their advantages don’t cease there (9, 19, 20).

A food regimen wealthy in sources of omega-3s — like octopus and different sorts of fish — has additionally been linked with a decrease threat for some cancers, safety of cognitive perform, and a wholesome intestine microbiome (21, 22, 23, 24).

The intestine microbiome refers back to the teams of wholesome micro organism that reside in our intestines. The microbiome performs a significant function in immunity, irritation, and illness prevention.

Might have antidepressant properties

One other fascinating property of the omega-3s in octopus and seafood: consuming extra of them could scale back signs of main depressive dysfunction.

In sure populations, analysis reveals those that eat average — however not essentially excessive — quantities of seafood have a tendency to attain decrease on measures of melancholy. What’s extra, it seems the ratio between omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids within the blood can also be an element (25, 26, 27).

Although a food regimen wealthy in omega-3s from seafood has been linked with diminished melancholy, there’s not but sufficient proof to conclude that omega-3 dietary supplements successfully deal with folks already dwelling with melancholy (28).

Curiously sufficient, it’s not simply the omega-3s in octopus that account for its potential antidepressant properties.

One examine analyzed meals and their concentrations of 12 completely different antidepressant vitamins, together with omega-3s in addition to vitamin B12, selenium, iron, zinc, and extra. Octopus ranked sixth on the checklist of prime antidepressant meals (29).

SUMMARY

Octopus is a lean supply of seafood that’s low in energy and fats however wealthy in protein and different vitamins that will assist assist coronary heart well being, psychological well being, the intestine microbiome, and extra.

It’s evident that octopus is a nutrient-dense supply of protein that has been an integral a part of nutritious diets for ages.

Nonetheless, some folks have to keep away from octopus on account of allergic reactions. In truth, shellfish are some of the frequent allergenic meals (30, 31, 32, 33).

Different folks select to keep away from consuming octopus for moral causes. Some are involved with the sustainability of how octopus is caught or farmed, whereas others fear in regards to the ethics of killing and consuming octopus — particularly because it’s believed to be an extremely clever animal.

Apart from these vital conversations, there are additionally a few well being issues to remember in the event you eat octopus recurrently.

Octopus is excessive in salt

One serving of octopus may comprise as a lot as 25% of the DV for salt, and that’s with out including any extra salt throughout the cooking course of (3).

For some folks, this is probably not a lot to fret about. Nonetheless, for many who are salt-sensitive, it may adversely have an effect on your blood stress and lift your threat of coronary heart illness (34).

Fried variations could contribute to hypertension, coronary heart illness, and extra

One frequent technique to put together octopus is to deep-fry it.

Although many benefit from the style and texture, fried meals are linked with unfavourable well being outcomes, together with hypertension, coronary heart illness, melancholy, diabetes, and extra (35, 36, 37, 38).

There’s a threat of mercury publicity

Like most sorts of seafood, there’s an opportunity octopus could possibly be contaminated with heavy metals like mercury and arsenic (39, 40, 41).

Some analysis means that the metals usually focus within the digestive glands of the ocean creature, so avoiding these tissues is one technique to try to restrict your publicity when consuming octopus (42).

Researchers have additionally noticed polycyclic fragrant hydrocarbons (PAHs) — a category of carcinogenic pollution — in octopus, although to various levels relying on the place the octopuses lived (43).

Those that are significantly in danger to the results of mercury publicity, corresponding to pregnant and breastfeeding folks, young children, and individuals who eat quite a lot of seafood, could need to use additional warning and discover sources of octopus much less more likely to be contaminated (44, 45).

You may be taught extra about selecting extra sustainable meat right here.

SUMMARY

General, octopus is a nutritious meals. Nonetheless, it’s increased in salt than many different proteins, and there’s a probability it could possibly be contaminated with heavy metals. To get probably the most vitamin from the seafood, search sustainable sources and keep away from deep-fried varieties.

Octopus is a wholesome meals that’s extraordinarily wealthy in lots of vitamins identified to assist optimum human well being.

In case you determine to include octopus into your food regimen regularly, remember that it’s increased in salt than many different sorts of animal protein.

Plus, it carries a threat of being contaminated with heavy metals from air pollution within the ocean.

However, when consumed sparsely utilizing nutritious cooking strategies and as a part of a well-rounded food regimen, octopus could have advantages like lowering the danger of coronary heart illness and signs of melancholy.