Cuttlefish is a good source of protein, essential amino acids and several vitamins and minerals. A 3-ounce serving of cuttlefish prepared using a moist cooking method has 134 calories and over 25 percent of your daily value of sodium, but almost no fat, saturated fat or carbohydrates. Because cuttlefish is extremely low in carbohydrates, but offers significant health benefits, it's an excellent choice for people following low-carbohydrate, high-protein diets. Unfortunately, cuttlefish can trigger seafood allergies in both children and adults.
A 3-ounce serving of cuttlefish contains 55 percent of the daily value of protein. When you digest protein, your body converts it into amino acids. Your body uses amino acids to repair and maintain cells. Amino acids are also necessary for healthy fetal, childhood and adolescent growth and development. You need 21 amino acids to maintain your health. Your body can produce 12 of those on its own, but the other nine, called essential amino acids, must come from your diet. Cuttlefish provides significant amounts of six of the essential amino acids and smaller amounts of the other three.
The same serving of cuttlefish has 191 percent of the adult recommended dietary allowance for vitamin B-12. Vitamin B-12 allows your body to build genetic materials like DNA, produce red blood cells and maintain neurological health. A 3-ounce serving of cuttlefish supplies 134 percent of the adult female RDA for riboflavin and 113 percent of the adult male RDA. Riboflavin helps your body derive energy from food and maintain healthy vision and skin. Three ounces of cuttlefish also offer 25 percent of the adult female RDA for vitamin A and 19 percent of the adult male RDA. Vitamin A is essential for night vision. It also promotes healthy skin and mucous membranes, bone and tooth development and functions as an antioxidant that may help prevent heart disease and cancer by repairing the damage caused by free radicals.
Cuttlefish is also an excellent source of minerals. A serving has 139 percent of the adult RDA for selenium. When you metabolize selenium, it combines with proteins to form selenoproteins, which are powerful antioxidants. Selenium is also important for healthy thyroid and immune function. A 3-ounce serving of cuttlefish has 115 percent of the adult male RDA for iron and 51 percent of the adult female RDA. Iron plays a vital role in transporting oxygen from your lungs to your cells and is also important in cell growth.
The only major downside to cuttlefish is that it contains a significant amount of cholesterol. A serving has 63 percent of the DV of cholesterol. Your body needs cholesterol to maintain healthy skin and produce important hormones, digestive juices and vitamin D, but it is capable of making all the cholesterol it needs. Consuming too much cholesterol can lead to fatty deposits in your arteries that can limit or block blood flow to your heart and brain, causing heart disease and strokes.
Cuttlefish can be fried, braised, broiled, grilled, sautéed and cooked in stews and soups. Grilled chunks of cuttlefish are often used in tapas recipes, pastas and salads. To reduce the amount of fat and cholesterol in your cuttlefish recipes, avoid frying it.
- USDA National Agricultural Library: Full Report Nutrient Data for 15229, Mollusks, Cuttlefish, Mixed Species, Cooked, Moist Heat
- MayoClinic.com: Shellfish Allergies: Causes
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Protein in Diet - All Information
- National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements: Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet: Selenium
- National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements: Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet: Iron
- Cleveland Clinic: Cholesterol
- Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images