Mussels are being hailed as the superfood that could improve Australians’ health while leaving an environmental footprint that’s lighter than vegetables, a recent study has found.
The report, published in March by senior health and environmental experts, found that instead of switching to a vegetarian or vegan diet, replacing land meats with seafood was the most sustainable answer, while keeping overall health and wellbeing high.
The report also found rope-cultured mussels could be a good option for those looking to cut down on red and processed meats and to protect the environment.
Mussels contain nearly five times the amount of vitamin B12 as beef and over eight times more iron than chicken. They are also extremely high in omega-3, selenium, iodine and protein.
The study suggested while animal protein is the highest quality protein to optimise muscle health, providing sustainable animal protein is going to be the biggest and most complex challenge as the population grows.
The Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) said that when it comes to the environment and marine health, mussels are one of the best options from a sustainability point of view.
“The advantage of mussels from an environmental point of view is that you simply put the ropes into the water and they pretty much feed themselves,” AMCS Sustainable Seafood program manager Adrian Meder said.
“There are no fertilisers needed, land to be cleared, or trawling.”
EP Seafoods, which specialises in mussels, say that mussels are often more sustainably cultivated than vegetables.
A fourth-generation fisherman and EP Seafoods managing director, Andrew Puglisi, says his mussels, “grown on the Eyre Peninsula, filtered 20 litres of seawater a day and fed off high concentration of sea-based nutrients.”
“Mussels balance local ecosystems and become meatier and more nutrient-dense depending on the seawater they are grown in,” Puglisi said.
“In this case, mussels benefit from nutrients from nearby kingfish and tuna living in the same catchment.
“The health perks that a single mussel holds are massive. They have been found to improve heart health, lower cholesterol levels and are the cheapest complete protein on the market,” he said.