Octopus Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

Octopus nutrition facts

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

Octopus is a type of shellfish that serves as an important source of protein for many coastal communities around the world. This fascinating sea creature is also considered a delicacy in many cultures.

High in protein and rich in many essential vitamins and minerals, more and more people are adding octopus to their menu. Here is a look at the nutrition, health benefits, and uses of octopus.

Octopus Nutrition Facts

This delicacy is high in protein, low in fat, and provides many essential vitamins and minerals you need for good health. This nutrition information comes from the USDA for 100 grams of steamed octopus prepared with table salt.

  • Calories: 163
  • Fat: 2g
  • Sodium: 711mg
  • Carbohydrates: 4g
  • Protein: 30g
  • Cholesterol: 95mg
  • Calcium: 106mg
  • Iron: 9.48mg
  • Zinc: 3.34mg
  • Selenium: 89mcg
  • Vitamin B12: 35.8mcg
  • Potassium: 626mg
  • Magnesium: 60mg
  • Vitamin A: 89mcg
  • Vitamin B6: 0.6mg


Though not a significant source of carbohydrates, a 100-gram serving of steamed octopus has 4 grams of carbs. It contains no fiber or sugar. 


Octopus contains 2 grams of total fat per serving. This total fat is made up of 0.45 grams from saturated fat, 0.322 grams from monounsaturated fat, and 0.474 grams from polyunsaturated fat. 

Most of the fat in shellfish comes from unsaturated fats. The American Heart Association (AHA) says these types of fat may help lower cholesterol and improve health when part of a balanced eating plan.

A 100-gram serving of octopus has 95 milligrams of cholesterol. However, the dietary guidelines from the AHA no longer provide limits on the consumption of dietary cholesterol. For most people, it is not the cholesterol in food that increases blood cholesterol, but the saturated fat. 


With 30 grams of protein in a 100-gram serving, steamed octopus is an excellent source of this essential nutrient. 

Vitamins and Minerals

Octopus has many essential vitamins and minerals, providing more than 20% of the daily value for iron, zinc, selenium, and vitamin B12 in a 3.5-ounce serving. It is also a source of calcium, phosphorus, potassium, and magnesium.

Depending on the preparation methods, octopus may be high in sodium.


Octopus contains 163 calories in a 100-gram serving. About 88% of the calories in the shellfish come from protein and the rest come from fat and carbs. 

Health Benefits

Octopus is a nutrient-dense food with a number of benefits when incorporated into a balanced eating plan. Here is an overview of the potential health benefits.

Promotes Heart Health

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fats your body uses to make cell membranes and hormones that control blood clotting, blood pressure, and inflammation. Including fish and seafood rich in omega-3 fatty acids into your eating plan may improve heart health and lower the risk of heart disease when part of a healthy balanced diet.

Omega-3 fatty acids are found in certain plants as alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). In fish and other seafood, the omega-3s are in the form of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Your body only uses EPA and DHA to perform essential functions, including those that benefit heart health. 

ALA is converted to EPA and DHA in your liver, but the conversion is inefficient. ALA is the primary source of Omega-3 fatty acids in the American diet, so there is a need for EPA and DHA, which octopus provides. The recommended adequate intake for omega-3 fatty acids ranges from 1.1 to 1.6 grams per day.

A 100-gram serving of steamed octopus has 0.38 grams of omega-3 fatty acids in the form of EPA and DHA, providing more than 20% of the recommended amounts.

Supports Immune Function

Your immune system relies on a number of essential nutrients to run efficiently, including some nutrients in octopus like protein, zinc, selenium, and vitamin B12. No food provides everything your body needs, but octopus can provide you with many of the nutrients it needs to support your immune system when combined with other nutrient-dense foods, getting enough sleep, and other healthy lifestyle factors like stress management.

May Improve Male Fertility

Many couples struggle with infertility. In men, poor semen quality is a common cause of infertility. According to a July 2017 systematic review of observational studies published in Human Reproduction Update, diet may influence the health and quality of semen in men.

The researchers noted eating a diet high in omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants like zinc and selenium from nutritious foods like fish and shellfish may improve semen quality and male fertility.  Because this was an observational study, it does not necessarily prove causation. Consequently, additional research is needed.


Octopus is a type of shellfish. If you have an allergy to shellfish, you need to avoid eating octopus. Shellfish allergies are one of the most common food allergies.

Though most often diagnosed in adults, shellfish allergies also occur in children. Treatment for this type of allergy is avoiding all shellfish, including meals or dishes containing octopus. 

Adverse Effects

Octopus, like most ocean animals is a source of mercury, but it is relatively low. Mercury is a toxic metal that causes brain damage and learning disabilities when consumed in excessive amounts. Pregnant women and young children need to limit their intake of foods high in mercury.

Though a source of mercury, octopus often has low levels of heavy metal and is safe to eat during pregnancy. However, never eat raw fish or shellfish, including raw octopus, during pregnancy.

Storage and Food Safety

When buying fresh octopus, only buy if refrigerated or kept on a bed of ice making sure it has no fishy smell. Keep your octopus in the refrigerator and cook it within 2 days. 

You can store frozen octopus for up to 3 months in the freezer. Defrost in the refrigerator overnight before cooking.

How to Prepare

When not properly prepped, an octopus may be too tough to eat. If you can, buy octopus that’s pre-cleaned so you don’t have to remove the guts, eyes, or beak. 

Simmering octopus in a pot of water tenderizes the shellfish. Add octopus, salt, pepper, and one fresh lemon cut in half in a pot and fill with water. Cook covered over medium heat until it comes to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 30 to 90 minutes. 

Once tenderized, quickly grill or broil your octopus to get a nice brown sear. Brush with olive oil and serve with wedges of lemon. Or, use your octopus to make a comforting seafood stew. Marinating your octopus after boiling may add more flavor to your dish. 

11 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. USDA. FoodData Central. Octopus, steamed.

  2. American Heart Association. Dietary fats.

  3. Carson JAS, Lichtenstein AH, Anderson CAM, et al. Dietary Cholesterol and Cardiovascular Risk: A Science Advisory From the American Heart Association. Circulation. 2020;141(3):e39-e53. doi:10.1161/CIR.0000000000000743

  4. National Institutes of Health. Office of Dietary Supplements. Omega-3 fatty acids.

  5. US Department of Health and Human Services. Office on Women’s Health. Infertility.

  6. Salas-Huetos A, Bulló M, Salas-Salvadó J. Dietary patterns, foods and nutrients in male fertility parameters and fecundability: a systematic review of observational studies. Hum Reprod Update. 2017;23(4):371-389. doi:10.1093/humupd/dmx006

  7. The American College of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology. Food Allergies. Shellfish.

  8. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Advice about eating fish For women who are or might become pregnant, breastfeeding mothers, and young children.

  9. Hawaii Department of Health. A local guide to eating fish safely.

  10. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Selecting and serving fresh and frozen seafood safely.

  11. Washington State Department of Health. Shellfish Handling, Storing, and Cooking.

By Jill Corleone, RD
Jill is a registered dietitian who's been learning and writing about nutrition for more than 20 years.