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Jan 24, 2023

HOW TOSeafood gives you wings? Two scallops have as much taurine as a can of Red Bull

The bounty of the ocean is also well known for massive health benefits, including the often-discussed Omega-3 fatty acids found in salmon, sardines and other fish. But did you know that seafood’s potential to juice you up rivals even the most powerful energy drinks?

Jan 24, 2023

Scallops vs Red Bull – taurine showdown!

Incredibly, the meat from two large whole scallops includes up to 1000 mg of taurine, the same amount as a standard can (250 ml) of the world-renowned energy drink Red Bull. The organic compound taurine supports healthy growth of and function of skeletal muscle, the retina and the central nervous system. It’s found in animal tissue, including high concentrations in tuna, octopus and shellfish, amongst other meats like turkey and pork.

Red Bull marketed their inclusion of taurine to perfection, and partially due the compound’s importance in human development (and also thanks to the heady buzz Red Bull has given millions) the beverage was etched in history. This also helped to start a global craze surrounding energy drinks and nutritional buzz words. 

Nutritional compounds in the spotlight

In Japan, the analysis of nutritional compounds in regard to diet is very familiar and well marketed, too. This means that diners may seek out different compounds present in certain foods, including amino acids or collagen—the latter is popular to promote glowing, healthy skin. Even dark chocolate has its cacao polyphenol content listed, an antioxidant that promotes vascular health.

If you’re seeking a natural way to add taurine to your diet, Japanese scallops are the perfect fit. In Japan, scallops are enjoyed in many different ways, including (1) raw in sushi and sashimi, (2) roasted on the half shell with butter and soy sauce (3) steamed with white wine and garlic or (4) grilled whole beachside until they crack open, and eaten with assorted condiments. Scallops are also popular dried into jerky.

Scallops, any way you slice ‘em

Hokkaido in Japan’s far north is Japan’s greatest exporter of seafood, including scallops, which they’re famous for. Shellfish thrive in colder waters, and the Sea of Okhotsk between Hokkaido and Russia is a perfect breeding ground. They’re also harvested in the northern prefecture of Aomori.

Wild scallops have two primary harvesting seasons in Japan: from May to August, and from December to March. Alternatively, farmed scallops can be eaten all year, of course. Japanese scallops are officially Yesso scallops, a bivalve in the Pectinidae family. Scallops that are exported from Japan to other countries are required by law to be first completely removed from the shell and processed.

Go for broke: Scallops are no joke

For many, the first time they saw the word “taurine” was perhaps on a can of Red Bull. In Japan, this powerful compound is available naturally in scallops as a source of healthy nutritional fortification. Taurine is found in even greater quantities when consumed raw. If sushi is your jam, go for the hotate – scallops – and embrace the heady buzz that comes from a balanced intake of taurine. Health is wealth, and the Japanese diet has it down to a science.