Us Mainers eat a lot of lobster. These crustaceans have been harvested commercially in Maine since the mid 1800’s, but even before that, they were still large, plentiful, and delicious. While Maine lobsters have become increasingly expensive, they were once one of the cheapest things a Mainer could buy – or catch – for dinner. But though lobsters are less affordable now than they were 100 years ago, we still incorporate them into our holiday meals, special dinners, and birthday feasts.
As with all local sources of Maine nutrition, lobster has its benefits and detractors. We’ve highlighted some of the most important facts about eating Maine lobster below so that you can make the best decision for yourself and your health.
Health Benefits of Lobster
Maine lobsters are nutritionally dense. One cup of cooked lobster has close to 29 grams of protein, which is around half of a person’s daily recommended value. Lobster is also rich in copper, selenium, zinc, phosphorus, vitamin B12, magnesium, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamin E. As a result, many studies have suggested that lobster can improve thyroid function and may have certain mental health benefits. Additionally, lobster is a great source of copper and iron for people who have iron-deficiency anemia. When eaten in moderation, lobster can be a great supplier of locally sourced nutrition.
Health Detractors of Lobster
Though lobster has a lot of nutritional benefits, it is also a large source of fat and calories. One pound of lobster meat will yield 8.6 grams of fat and 413. While we don’t necessarily encourage folks to count their calories, those who eat a lot of lobster should look to cut fat sources in other parts of their diet. Importantly, one pound of meat will also contain 900 milligrams of cholesterol and 1,359 milligrams of sodium – around 300% and 70% of a person’s daily recommended value, respectively. We don’t recommend that people with high LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol eat a lot of lobster, but some can remain healthy and eat it in moderation.
Additionally, lobster can contain moderate levels of mercury. This means Mainers should look to restrict their lobster dinners to no more than six times per month. Additionally, pregnant women should restrict their intake of foods that may contain mercury.
How to Add Lobster to Your Diet
While lobster has its health drawbacks, doctors agree that it can be nutritionally beneficial when consumed in moderation. Next, however, comes the hard part: Finding lobster at an accessible price point. Many people who live outside of Maine tend to buy lobster online so that they can compare prices. But most Mainers don’t need to comparison shop to find the freshest lobster available. Maine lobster prices are at their lowest in May and June, when lobster fishing picks up. May is typically the best month of the year to buy live lobsters. If you’re looking to add some shellfish to your diet, this is the best time to try it. You’ll get the best lobster at the lowest price.