The best protein on the planet for men over 40


They may not be at the top of your shopping list but they are a powerhouse of nutrition for men…

And if your aim is more muscles — and better health for your brain, heart and more — eat more mussels.

Mussels are high in protein, low in fat and calories, and are a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids (DHA and EPA) — as well as various vitamins and minerals.

Here’s what you’ll get from 100 grams (3.5 oz) of green-lipped mussels:

  • Calories: 105 / 172
  • Protein: 18.8 g / 24 g
  • Fat: 3.1 g (more than 40% of fat content is omega-3s) / 4 g
  • Calcium: 173 mg / 33 mg
  • Omega 3 Fatty Acids: 850-900 mg
  • Copper: 0.19 mg / 0.1 mg
  • Iron: 10.9 mg / 6.7 mg
  • Magnesium: 82.5 mg / 37 mg
  • Manganese: 898 mcg / 680 mcg
  • Niacin: 5.6 mg / 3 mg
  • Phosphorus: 330 mg / 285 mg
  • Selenium: 75.6 mcg / 89.6 mcg
  • Zinc: 1.6 mg / 2.7 mg

Here are some more good reasons to count mussels as a superfood for men…

They are great for heart health

  • Magnesium helps maintain normal heart rhythm, and it works with calcium to ensure your heart functions properly.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids can help reduce triglyceride and cholesterol levels as well as lower blood pressure.
  • Selenium plays a key role in maintaining heart health and healthy blood vessels.
  • Iron and vitamin B12 assist in the production of red blood cells.
  • Phosphorus is an important factor in maintaining a regular heart beat.
  • Vitamin B12, along with vitamin B6 and folic acid, help keep levels of homocysteine in check. High homocysteine levels can damage arteries and contribute to atherosclerosis.
  • Copper is important for reducing cholesterol and regulating heart rhythm.
  • Calcium assists in supporting heart health and maintaining blood pressure.

They promote better muscle and bone health

  • Green-lipped mussel oil, which is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, has been shown to be effective in reducing muscle damage and inflammation, as well as increase lean muscle mass and reduce body fat.
  • Healthy muscle contractions benefit from the phosphorus and B vitamins in mussels.
  • Mussel protein contributes to the building, maintenance, and repair of muscle and connective tissue.
  • Calcium from mussels helps support healthy muscle tone and muscle contractions.
  • Mussels provide excellent levels of minerals essential for bone health: calcium, magnesium, zinc, manganese, and phosphorus.

They promote optimum brain health

  • Omega-3 fatty acids play a critical role in protecting the brain and cognitive function.
  • Vitamin B12 has a role in the production of melatonin, which in turn affects sleep, and in the manufacture of serotonin, which is associated with feeling calm.
  • Adequate magnesium is necessary to maintain healthy serotonin levels, and low serotonin is associated with depression.
  • Phosphorus is needed to help maintain cognitive function.

They help with better prostate and sexual health

  • Omega-3 fatty acids, and especially DHA, have been shown to reduce the risk of prostate cancer and prostate cancer cell growth.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids stimulate the release of endothelial nitric oxide, which in turn supports erectile function.
  • Vitamin B12 can improve sperm counts and sperm motility.
  • Phosphorus is a key factor in maintaining erectile function, libido, and sperm motility.

Eating mussels also promotes sustainability and is environmentally friendly

It turns out mussels are not only super in the nutrition department; they are a sustainable, environmentally friendly food as well – and are probably also acceptable for vegans. This applies to both wild and cultivated mussels. Why?

  • Mussels don’t require feed beyond the nutrients present in the water. That’s because mussels filter their food out of the water, so there’s no need to feed them other fish.
  • Mussels are low on the food chain, which means they have a minimal amount of mercury, to the tune of more than 30 times less than large predator fish such as tuna and swordfish.
  • Mussels have a rudimentary nervous system, which suggests they do not feel pain. This is an important factor since mussels should be cooked while still alive. So vegans can probably eat them guilt free.
  • Farmed mussels are a Seafood Watch Best Choice. The Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program provides consumers and businesses with recommendations on which seafood items are “Best Choices,” “Good Alternatives,” and which ones to “Avoid.” These recommendations are based on information about how seafood has been harvested or farmed in ways that protect marine life and habitats, now and for the future. You can also get the Seafood Watch app for your iPhone to help you make responsible purchasing decisions. It’s a great app.

According to Andy Sharpless, the CEO of Oceana and the coauthor of The Perfect Protein, we have the ability to reverse the devastation being perpetrated on our oceans and marine life. “A well-managed global ocean could provide the equivalent of a healthy seafood meal for a billion people every day forever,” he says. Let’s hope that days comes. Until then, mussels are my new superfood.


  1. Dyall SC et al. Long-chain omega-3 fatty acids and the brain: a review of the independent and shared effects of EPA, DPA and DHA. Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience 2015 Apr 21; 7:52
  2. Fu YQ et al. Effect of individual omega-3 fatty acids on the risk of prostate cancer: a systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. Journal of Epidemiology 2015; 25(4): 261-74
  3. Meldrum DR. A multifaceted approach to maximize erectile function and vascular health. Fertility and Sterility 2010 Dec; 94(7): 2514-20
  4. Mickleborough TD et al. The effects PCSO-524 a patented marine oil lipid and omega-3 PUFA blend derived from the New Zealand greenlipped mussel (Perna canaliculus) on indirect markers of muscle damage and inflammation after muscle damaging exercise in untrained men: a randomized, placebo controlled trial. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 2015 Feb 19; 12:10
  5. Nurtured Seafood
  6. Nutrition Data. Blue Mussels Nutrition Data.
  7. Zimmerman T. The Piscivore’s Dilemma
Craig Cooper

By Craig Cooper

Craig Cooper is a serial entrepreneur, venture capitalist, author, and TV host of CNBC's "Adventure Capitalists". He is an “Ambassador” for both the global men’s health foundation “Movember” and 2XU, the performance sportswear company. He is the author of the Harper Collins book “Your New Prime: 30 Days to Better Sex, Eternal Strength, and a Kick-Ass Life After 40“. Follow Craig on Instagram @craigcooperrrr and Facebook.