Clamato juice is a drink made with tomato juice, clam broth, and spices. Some people enjoy it as a cocktail mixer or drink it straight. But does clamato juice offer any health benefits? Let’s take a look at the nutritional profile and potential pros and cons of drinking clamato juice.
What is Clamato Juice?
Clamato juice is a blended, spiced drink made with tomato juice and clam broth. It was invented in the 1960s by Motts, who marketed it as a mixer for drinks like the Clamato Caesar cocktail. Some versions also contain extra spices and flavorings like horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, celery salt, etc.
The main ingredients in clamato juice are:
- Tomato juice – provides lycopene, vitamin C, potassium
- Clam broth – provides some minerals like zinc, iron, magnesium
- Spices and flavorings
The tomato juice gives clamato a reddish-pink hue. The clam broth provides a briny, seafood taste. And the spices add zest, heat, and extra flavor. The blend creates a unique drink with a cocktail-like flavor.
Nutrition Facts of Clamato Juice
The nutrition of clamato juice can vary by brand. But in general, a 6oz serving provides:
|Vitamin A||15% DV|
|Vitamin C||45% DV|
As you can see, a serving of clamato juice provides a good amount of vitamin C, vitamin A, potassium, and some iron. The tomato juice contributes most of these nutrients.
Potential Health Benefits
Does drinking clamato juice offer any health perks? Here are some of the possible benefits:
May Boost Immunity
Clamato juice is a source of immune-supporting vitamin C and vitamin A. One cup provides over 50% of the daily recommended intake of vitamin C. This essential vitamin acts as an antioxidant and helps stimulate white blood cell production.
With its sodium and potassium content, clamato juice can help replenish electrolytes lost through sweat. This makes it a good option for rehydration after exercise.
The tomato juice in clamato provides lycopene, a red plant pigment with antioxidant properties. Lycopene has been linked to benefits for heart health, bone health, and cancer prevention.
May Improve Digestion
Some evidence suggests that clam broth contains glycogen and electrolytes that may aid digestion. The tomato juice also provides some fiber to support digestive regularity.
Downsides and Health Risks
Despite some potential upsides, clamato juice may also come with some health cautions:
High in Sodium
Clamato juice contains around 500-600mg of sodium per cup. This is over 25% of the daily recommended limit. Too much sodium can increase blood pressure and heart disease risk.
Many brands include added sugars like high fructose corn syrup or sucrose. The 10g of sugar in a 6oz glass is a significant source of empty calories and carbs.
Some versions can contain up to 1.2% alcohol by volume. Consuming clamato regularly may be unsuitable for those avoiding alcohol.
Clamato juice contains shellfish (clams) and nightshade vegetables (tomatoes). People with sensitivities to these foods may experience adverse reactions.
The cans used in manufacturing clamato juice may contain BPA linings. BPA is an endocrine disruptor that can leach into the liquid. Look for BPA-free brands or make your own clamato juice from fresh ingredients.
Clamato Juice During Pregnancy
Is it safe to drink clamato juice while pregnant? Here are some key considerations:
The FDA recommends limiting seafood high in mercury during pregnancy. Clams can contain traces of mercury, so clamato juice is best enjoyed in moderation.
Pregnant women should avoid alcohol entirely. Check labels and avoid clamato juices with any alcohol content.
Only consume pasteurized juices to avoid illness from bacteria. Many clamato juices are shelf-stable or pasteurized, but homemade versions may not be.
Talk to Your Doctor
Get personalized advice from your prenatal care provider on how much clamato juice is safe for you to consume during pregnancy.
Here are some things to consider when giving clamato juice to children:
The added sugars can contribute excess calories and carbs without nutrition. Water or plain tomato juice are lower sugar options.
The salty, umami flavor profile may be off-putting for some kid’s palates. Stick to small servings to start.
If your child has seafood or tomato allergies, avoid clamato entirely due to the risk of reaction.
Too much sodium is unhealthy for developing kids. Dilute clamato with plain tomato juice or water to reduce the sodium content.
Is Clamato Juice Gluten-Free?
Clamato juice is naturally gluten-free, since it’s made from tomato juice, clam broth, and spices. But some versions may contain additives derived from gluten sources:
- Modified food starch
- Hydrolyzed wheat protein
- Hydrolyzed vegetable protein
Always check the label and look for a certified gluten-free stamp. Some brands specifically advertise being gluten-free.
Healthier Homemade Clamato Juice Recipe
You can create a fresher, healthier version of clamato juice at home. This lets you control the ingredients and skip additives like added sugars, preservatives, and BPA linings.
Try this easy homemade clamato juice recipe:
- 2 cups tomato juice
- 1 cup clam broth
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- 1 tsp horseradish (optional)
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce (optional)
- Dash of hot sauce
- 1/4 tsp celery salt
- Fresh ground black pepper
- Combine all ingredients in a pitcher and stir well.
- Taste and adjust lime juice, horseradish, hot sauce, and black pepper to your liking.
- Refrigerate until chilled before serving.
This homemade clamato juice keeps well for 3-4 days. Shake before pouring each glass.
How to Drink Clamato Juice
Here are some delicious ways to serve and drink clamato juice:
Clamato shines when mixed into cocktails like the Clamato Caesar. Add 1.5oz vodka and a dash of Tabasco, Worcestershire, and lime.
For a simple drink, pour clamato over ice and add a shot of vodka or tequila.
On the Rocks
Serve chilled clamato juice over ice for an easy refresher.
Rim your glass with celery salt or Tajín seasoning for a flavored rim.
In a Mocktail
For an alcohol-free option, mix with citrus juice, ginger beer, or Bloody Mary mix.
Where to Buy Clamato Juice
Clamato juice is sold in grocery stores, liquor stores, bars, and online. Some popular brands include:
- Motts Clamato
- Zing Zang Bloody Mary Mix
- Mr & Mrs T Bloody Mary Mix
- McClure’s Bloody Mary Mix
Check the juice aisle, mixer section, or bar area of stores. Buying online can give you a wider selection of brands.
Clamato juice provides a unique flavor along with some nutrition from its tomato and clam ingredients. It can offer vitamin C, lycopene, electrolytes, and minerals. However, the sodium, sugars, and additives may also come with some health cautions. Enjoy clamato juice in moderation or occasionally mixed into cocktails. Making your own version at home lets you control the quality. Overall, clamato juice is an interesting drink, but has pros and cons when it comes to health.