Health Benefits of Scallops

Unveiling The 10 Health Benefits of Scallops – Seafood for Superior Health


As part of a balanced diet, seafood is known to have profound health benefits. One such nutrient-packed powerhouse from the sea is the humble scallop. Delicate in flavor yet packing a punch in the nutrition department, scallops have been an essential part of various diets worldwide. This comprehensive guide intends to Unveiling The 10 health Benefits of Scallops. They’re not just a treat for the palate but also a boon for the body, contributing to our overall well-being in ways that may surprise you. 

What Are Scallops?

Health Benefits of ScallopsScallops are a type of bivalve mollusk, like oysters and clams. They live in all the world’s oceans but are particularly plentiful in the Atlantic and Pacific. Scallops are known for their distinct fan-shaped shells that hide the real treasure within – the white, tender meat that is not just delicious but chock-full of nutrients.

Historical Usage and Culinary Significance

Scallops have a rich history that is as deep and vast as the oceans they come from. Historically, these mollusks have left their mark, both as a source of sustenance and as a symbol in cultural contexts.

Health Benefits of ScallopsArchaeological evidence suggests that scallops were a part of ancient diets in coastal regions worldwide. In Europe, their shells have been discovered in ancient ruins, pointing to their consumption thousands of years ago. The scallop shell also holds religious significance, often associated with the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. Pilgrims would carry a scallop shell with them, and it later became a symbol of their journey.

In culinary contexts, scallops have been celebrated in various cultures for their delicate flavor and versatility. From the coastal regions of Asia to the Mediterranean shores, scallops have been featured in traditional recipes that highlight their natural taste. The French “Coquilles Saint-Jacques,” a dish where the scallop is often served in its shell with a wine or cream sauce, is a classic example of its culinary significance.

The Nutritional Profile of Scallops

Scallops are an excellent source of lean protein and are loaded with heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids and key micronutrients, including Vitamin B12, iron, magnesium, and zinc. A 3-ounce (84-gram) serving of scallops provides:

  • Calories: 94
  • Protein: 20 grams
  • Fat: 0.8 grams
  • Omega-3 fatty acids: 333 mg
  • Vitamin B12: 1.8 mcg (76% of the Daily Value)
  • Iron: 0.6 mg (3% of the Daily Value)
  • Magnesium: 55 mg (13% of the Daily Value)
  • Zinc: 1.2 mg (11% of the Daily Value)

10 Health Benefits of Scallops

  • Rich Source of Protein: Protein is a crucial building block for your bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood. It’s also used to build and repair tissues, which is essential for injury recovery. A 3-ounce serving of scallops provides 20 grams of protein, making them an excellent source of this vital macronutrient.
  • Low in Fat and Calories: Scallops are naturally low in fat and calories, making them a perfect addition to a weight management diet. With just 0.8 grams of fat and 94 calories per 3-ounce serving, they’re a guilt-free indulgence for those watching their calorie intake.
  • High in Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Omega-3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fats crucial for brain function and are believed to offer heart protection. Like many other seafood, scallops are an excellent source of these essential fatty acids.
  • Excellent Source of Micronutrients: Scallops offer various essential vitamins and minerals. They’re particularly rich in vitamin B12, a nutrient for proper brain function and blood formation. Other vital nutrients in scallops include iron, which is necessary for transporting oxygen around the body; magnesium, crucial for muscle and nerve function; and zinc, needed for immune function and wound healing.
  • Promote Heart Health: The combination of high protein, low fat, and a good dose of omega-3 fatty acids makes scallops a heart-friendly food choice. The omega-3 fatty acids in scallops may help lower your risk of heart disease by reducing inflammation and preventing blood clotting.
  • Enhance Brain Function: The omega-3 fatty acids and B vitamins found in scallops can aid cognitive function and overall brain health. Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for brain health and function, while vitamin B12 plays a critical role in maintaining the health of nerve cells and helps produce DNA, the genetic material in all cells.
  • Promote Weight Management: Due to their high protein and low fat and calorie content, scallops can be an excellent choice for those trying to lose or maintain a healthy weight. They can make you feel full and satisfied, reducing the urge for unnecessary snacking.
  • Aid in Muscle Growth and Recovery: The high protein content of scallops also makes them an excellent food for promoting muscle growth and recovery after physical activity. Protein helps repair muscle tissues worn out after exercise, promoting faster recovery and muscle growth.
  • Beneficial for Eye Health: Scallops are rich in retinol, a form of vitamin A that is beneficial for maintaining eye health. Regular intake of scallops can contribute to better vision and reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration and other eye conditions.
  • Boost Skin Health: The array of vitamins and minerals in scallops, including vitamin E and zinc, contribute to maintaining skin health. These nutrients aid in promoting skin repair and growth, maintaining skin elasticity and texture, and reducing inflammation associated with acne and other skin conditions.

Recipes Featuring Scallops

1. Scallops with Lemon-Herb Drizzle


  • 10-12 large scallops
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh basil, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tablespoon fresh chives, finely chopped
  • A pinch of red pepper flakes (optional for some heat)


  1. Preparation of Scallops: Rinse the scallops under cold water and pat them dry with paper towels. Season them on both sides with salt and black pepper.
  2. Cooking the Scallops: In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the scallops, ensuring not to overcrowd the pan. Cook for about 2-3 minutes on each side, or until they have a golden crust and are translucent in the center. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  3. Lemon-Herb Drizzle: In the same pan, add a bit more olive oil if needed. Sauté the garlic until it’s fragrant but not browned. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, parsley, basil, and chives. Stir for a minute, allowing the flavors to meld. If you like a bit of heat, add the red pepper flakes.
  4. Serving: Plate the scallops and drizzle the lemon-herb sauce over them. Garnish with some more fresh herbs if desired and serve immediately.

2. Pan-Seared Scallops with Mango-Avocado Salsa


  • 10-12 large scallops
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 ripe mango, diced
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1/4 cup red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • A pinch of chili powder


  1. Mango-Avocado Salsa: In a mixing bowl, combine mango, avocado, red bell pepper, red onion, cilantro, lime juice, chili powder, salt, and pepper. Mix gently and set aside.
  2. Scallops: Season scallops with salt and pepper. In a skillet, heat coconut oil over medium-high heat. Sear the scallops for 2-3 minutes on each side or until golden.
  3. Serving: Plate scallops and generously top with mango-avocado salsa.

3. Garlic Butter Scallops with Zucchini Noodles


  • 10-12 large scallops
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 medium zucchinis, spiralized into noodles
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • Fresh parsley, chopped, for garnish
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Grated parmesan cheese (optional)


  1. Zucchini Noodles: In a large skillet, sauté zucchini noodles in 1 tablespoon of butter until just tender. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to serving plates.
  2. Scallops: In the same skillet, melt the remaining butter. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant. Add scallops and sear for about 2-3 minutes on each side. Drizzle with lemon juice.
  3. Serving: Place scallops atop the zucchini noodles. Garnish with fresh parsley and a sprinkle of parmesan if desired.

4. Scallops in Creamy Pesto Sauce with Spinach


  • 10-12 large scallops
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup pesto sauce
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream or coconut milk (for a dairy-free option)
  • 1 cup fresh spinach
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Grated parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes for garnish (optional)


  1. Creamy Pesto Sauce: In a saucepan, gently heat pesto and heavy cream (or coconut milk). Stir until well combined. Season with salt and pepper. Keep warm.
  2. Scallops: In a skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Sear scallops for 2-3 minutes on each side or until golden. Remove and set aside.
  3. Spinach: In the same skillet, sauté garlic until fragrant. Add spinach and cook until wilted.
  4. Combining: Add the creamy pesto sauce to the skillet with spinach, stir gently. Return scallops to the pan and let everything heat through.
  5. Serving: Serve scallops and sauce over cooked pasta, rice, or on their own. Garnish with parmesan and red pepper flakes if desired.

5. Spicy Asian-Style Scallops with Broccoli


  • 10-12 large scallops
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce (or tamari for gluten-free)
  • 1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup broccoli florets, blanched
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 2 green onions, sliced


  1. Sauce Preparation: In a small bowl, combine soy sauce, honey, ginger, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Whisk together and set aside.
  2. Scallops: Heat sesame oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Sear scallops for 2-3 minutes on each side or until golden.
  3. Combine: Add the prepared sauce to the skillet, tossing to coat the scallops. Add the blanched broccoli florets, mixing well to ensure they absorb the sauce.
  4. Serving: Serve scallops and broccoli on a plate, garnishing with sesame seeds and sliced green onions.

6. Mediterranean Scallops with Cherry Tomatoes and Olives


  • 10-12 large scallops
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and halved
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, torn
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled (optional)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


  1. Scallops: In a skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Season scallops with salt and pepper, then sear for 2-3 minutes on each side. Remove scallops from the skillet and set aside.
  2. Mediterranean Mix: In the same skillet, sauté garlic until fragrant. Add cherry tomatoes and olives, cooking for 3-4 minutes until tomatoes are slightly softened.
  3. Combining: Return scallops to the skillet, mixing with the tomatoes and olives. Sprinkle with lemon zest and fresh basil.
  4. Serving: Serve scallops with the Mediterranean mix on a plate, topped with crumbled feta cheese (if desired).

Wrapping It Up: Scallops in a Healthy Diet

  • Culinary Charm: Scallops are celebrated not just for their unique, delicate flavor but also for their versatility in various dishes.
  • Nutritional Powerhouse: Beyond taste, scallops pack a robust nutritional profile, contributing essential proteins, vitamins, and minerals to our diet.
  • Diverse Incorporation: Their subtle taste makes them perfect for various recipes, be it salads, pastas, or as a main seared dish.
  • Sustainable Sourcing: It’s crucial to ensure that your scallops are sourced sustainably, prioritizing the health of marine ecosystems.
  • Balanced Diet Integration: Pair scallops with whole grains, fresh vegetables, and other lean protein sources for a well-rounded meal.
  • Moderation is Key: While scallops are nutritious, it’s essential to consume them in moderation to enjoy their health benefits fully.
  • Historical Favorite: Remember, when you eat scallops, you’re partaking in a culinary tradition that spans centuries, relishing a seafood that has stood the test of time in taste and health benefits.
  • Healthy Exploration: Whether you’re a seasoned seafood lover or a newbie, introducing scallops into your diet is an excellent way to explore varied flavors and boost your health quotient.

Precautions and Considerations for Consuming Scallops

Scallops, while offering a plethora of health benefits and culinary joys, also come with certain precautions and considerations to ensure their consumption remains safe and beneficial. Here’s what you need to know:

  1. Origin and Freshness: Always purchase scallops from a reputable source. Check for their freshness – they should have a mild sea aroma and not a strong fishy smell. The flesh should be firm and slightly translucent.
  2. Raw Consumption: While some recipes might suggest eating scallops raw, it’s essential to be cautious. Consuming raw or undercooked scallops can pose a risk of foodborne illnesses, especially if they are not sourced from clean waters.
  3. Sustainable Sourcing: Overfishing is a concern in various parts of the world. Opt for scallops labeled as sustainably sourced. This not only protects marine ecosystems but also ensures you’re getting a product that’s been responsibly harvested.
  4. Allergic Reactions: As with all shellfish, scallops can be allergenic for some people. If you or someone you’re serving has a shellfish allergy, it’s best to avoid consuming scallops.
  5. Proper Storage: Scallops should be stored in the coldest part of the refrigerator and consumed within a day or two of purchase. If you’ve bought frozen scallops, ensure they’re thawed in the refrigerator and not on the kitchen counter.
  6. Rinsing and Cleaning: Before cooking, always rinse scallops under cold water to remove any sand or grit. Pat them dry with paper towels to ensure proper searing.
  7. High Sodium Content: Scallops naturally have a slightly higher sodium content. For those on sodium-restricted diets, it’s essential to be mindful of the portion size and the added seasonings.
  8. Cholesterol Consideration: While scallops are a healthy source of protein, they do contain cholesterol. While dietary cholesterol doesn’t impact blood cholesterol levels for everyone, those with certain health conditions might need to monitor their intake.
  9. Pregnancy Concerns: Pregnant women are often advised to limit the consumption of certain seafood because of potential contaminants. While scallops are typically safe, it’s essential to consult with a healthcare provider regarding quantity and frequency.
  10. Cooking Considerations: Overcooking scallops can make them tough and chewy. To enjoy their delicate texture and flavor, it’s best to cook them briefly on high heat.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Scallops

1. What are scallops?

Scallops are marine mollusks that have a bivalve shell, similar to clams and oysters. They are renowned for their tender, sweet, and succulent meat which is a popular seafood delicacy across the globe.

2. How can I identify fresh scallops?

Fresh scallops should have a mild, ocean-like scent. They should appear slightly translucent with a moist, but not slimy, texture. Any strong fishy odor is a red flag, indicating that the scallops might not be fresh.

3. Are scallops high in cholesterol?

While scallops do contain cholesterol, it’s important to remember that dietary cholesterol does not necessarily translate to high blood cholesterol for everyone. Scallops also offer various beneficial nutrients that can be part of a balanced diet.

4. Can I eat scallops raw?

While scallops can be consumed raw in dishes like ceviche or sushi, it’s essential to ensure they are extremely fresh and sourced from clean, uncontaminated waters. Always be cautious and aware of the potential risk of foodborne illnesses.

5. How long should scallops be cooked?

Scallops cook quickly. Overcooking can lead to a rubbery texture. Generally, 2-3 minutes per side on high heat is sufficient for searing.

6. Are scallops safe for pregnant women?

Scallops, when thoroughly cooked, are typically safe for pregnant women. However, due to concerns about contaminants in seafood, it’s a good practice for pregnant women to consult with a healthcare provider before consuming scallops or any other seafood.

7. What’s the difference between sea scallops and bay scallops?

Sea scallops are larger and can be up to two inches in diameter. They’re the most commonly available variety. Bay scallops, on the other hand, are smaller, often around half an inch in diameter, and have a sweeter taste.

8. Are scallops a sustainable seafood choice?

Sustainability depends on the source. Overfishing has affected some scallop populations. It’s always best to look for certification labels or check with the store or supplier about the sustainability of their scallops.

9. Can I freeze scallops?

Yes, scallops can be frozen to extend their shelf life. Before freezing, it’s advisable to rinse them in cold water, pat them dry, and then store them in airtight containers or freezer bags.

10. Are scallops suitable for a low-carb or keto diet?

Yes, scallops are low in carbohydrates and can fit well into low-carb and ketogenic diets. They provide high-quality protein and are rich in essential nutrients.


ScallopsHealth Benefits of Scallops are undoubtedly a superfood from the sea. Their high-quality protein, heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, and many essential vitamins and minerals offer substantial health benefits. You can reap these benefits by incorporating scallops into your diet while enjoying their delightful taste.

Remember, while scallops provide numerous health benefits, consuming them as part of a balanced diet is essential. Always remember that no single food is a magic bullet for health, and maintaining a diversified diet is key to achieving and sustaining overall health and well-being. So add these nutritious marine mollusks to your menu and enjoy the superior health that seafood offers!

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