(NewsUSA) - In the pursuit of a healthier life, we join gyms, invest in the latest protein powders and high-fiber shakes and gamble on extreme diets. But did you know that there's a delicious powerhouse food that's easy to make and won't break your wallet?

"Fresh mussels are packed with important health benefits. They are rich in nutrients without adding calories or fat to meals. This makes them perfect for people who aim to live a life of fitness and health," explains registered dietitian Lois Ferguson.

Fresh mussels deliver vitamins and minerals like phosphorus, zinc, manganese, folate, niacin, riboflavin and thiamine. In fact, mussels offer more iron and vitamin B12 than beef, and more vitamin C than some fruits. And unlike beef or pork, blue cultured mussels are low in saturated fat but high in protein.

"This makes mussels a great choice for entrées as there's an abundance of delicious ingredients to combine with them to make healthy meals for family and friends," says Ferguson. "Mussels are every bit as versatile as shrimp, for instance, but mussels have only one-third the amount of cholesterol."

A common expression says seafood is "brain food," and research shows that long-chain omega-3 fats in our diet benefit the brain, eyes and nerves. Ferguson notes that mussels are similar in nutritional value to meaty fish, like halibut.

Mussels are also an excellent source of selenium, both a mineral and antioxidant often thought to be solely in the realm of fruits and vegetables. The dietary antioxidant helps the formation of proteins that defend against oxidative stress.

Enjoy a nutrient-rich meal with this Thai mussel recipe:

SWEET THAI MUSSELS

4 pounds fresh PEI mussels

4 ounces white wine

2 teaspoons red onions, finely chopped

6 tablespoons sweet chili sauce

4 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro

One-half lime squeezed

Rinse fresh PEI mussels in cold water. Tap any mussels that are still open. Discard any mussels that remain open.

Place mussels in a sauté pan, adding wine, red onions, sweet chili sauce, cilantro and lime. Cover pan and allow to steam until mussels start to open up.

Sauté the pan occasionally to ensure the chili sauce coats all the mussels. Discard any mussels that do not open.

Serve mussels in large oval bowl with your favorite bread for dipping.