Is it better to eat raw or cooked oysters?

January 25, 2024 | 03:00 pm PT
My husband believes raw oysters offer more nutrients, but I prefer cooked oysters due to infection concerns. What's the better choice? (Trang, 25, Hanoi)


Oysters, high in vitamins, zinc, omega-3 fatty acids, and cholesterol, benefit adults and children, particularly men. Their zinc content is six to ten times higher than in other foods. Zinc is vital for the male reproductive system, aiding in testosterone balance and production, thus enhancing sexual health. As an antioxidant, zinc also improves sperm quality and mobility.

Raw oysters. Illustration photo by Freepik

Raw oysters. Illustration photo by Freepik

However, oysters, being marine and bottom-dwelling shellfish, are prone to bacterial contamination from environmental pollution. Therefore, eating them raw does not offer more nutrients and risks bacterial entry into the body. Consuming other seafood raw can also lead to poisoning and infection.

Before consumption, oysters should be soaked in clean or salted water for about three hours to eliminate impurities and mud.

While nutritious, excessive or frequent oyster consumption should be avoided to prevent zinc overload, which can cause nausea, stomach ache, diarrhea, a bitter taste in the mouth, flu-like symptoms, copper deficiency, and illness susceptibility. Excessive oyster intake may also increase cholesterol levels, posing risks of cardiovascular diseases, blood pressure issues, and stroke.

Dr. Phan Chi Thanh

National Hospital of Obstetrics and Gynecology

go to top