Whether you love them raw, fried, or on the half shell, oysters can provide you with a host of health benefits, among them, high levels of heart- and brain-boosting omega-3 fatty acids, iron, and enough zinc (the aphrodisiac mineral) to keep your mojo flowing all night. (Here's an unbelievable recipe for grilled oysters with tarragon and miso.) Though farmed oysters are one of the most sustainable seafood options out there, more than 85 percent of the world's wild oyster reefs have been lost. (Here are 12 fish you should never eat.)
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Invasive species such as Atlantic coast crabs and snails are decimating oyster reefs off the California coast, and farm runoff from the Midwest is harming wild oyster beds in the Gulf of Mexico. Topping it off, climate change has increased the acidification of ocean waters, which in turn weakens oysters' shells causing them to die off. Luckily, more than more than 95% of oysters consumed worldwide are farmed, so you can feel good about what you're eating as long as it comes from a sustainable oyster farm. Here are six things you should know about oysters before you dine.