Shrimp are widespread and abundant. There are thousands of species adapted to a wide range of habitats. They can be found feeding near the seafloor on most coasts and asturias, as well as in rivers and lakes. They usually live from one to seven years.
They play important roles in the food chain and are an important food source for larger animal ranging from fish to whales. The muscular tails of many shrimp are edible to humans, and they are widely caught and farmed for human consumption. Commercial shrimp species support an industry worth 50 billion dollars a year, and in 2010 the total commercial production of shrimp was nearly 7 million tonnes.
It is quite nutritious and provides high amounts of certain nutrients, such as iodine, that aren’t abundant in many other foods. On the other hand, some people claim that shrimp is unhealthy due to its high cholesterol content.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF SHRIMP
Scientists have dispelled old assumptios about the dangers of cholesterol from food.
While cardiologist once advised patients to avoid shrimp (which is naturally high in cholesterol), times have changed. You can now enjoy shrimp’s numerous health benefits without so much hesitation.
■ PROMOTES HEART HEALTH
Shrimp is a good source of choline, which impacts homocysteine levels, an important marker for heart disease. Although shrimp contains cholesterol, it is nearly devoid of saturated fat.
Newer research suggests that it’s the saturated fat in food, not dietary cholesterol, which increases the risk of heart disease.
■ SUPPORTS A HEALTHY PREGNANCY
Unlike most seafood, shrimp contains almost zero mercury, making it a safer choice for women looking to gain the health benefits of seafood during pregnancy.
Furthermore, shrimp provides many key nutrients that are beneficial in pregnancy, like iron, B12, calcium, zinc, choline, and protein.
■ HELPS MAINTAIN WEIGHT LOSS
Arguably more difficult than losing weight is the process of trying to keep it off. Luckily, high protein foods, like shrimp, may help.
Studies show that protein impacts multiple appetite hormone pathways, making it easier to avoid regaining weight that’t been lost. Following a meal pattern that’s higher in protein and lower in carbohydrates improves satiety and regulates food intake naturally.
■ MAY BENEFIT BRAIN HEALTH
There is some evidence that choline from foods like shrimp is beneficial for cognitive function.
Although the research is limited, choline is being considered in the treatment of dementia and neurological damage for stroke patients. In addition, krill oil has been shown to provide neuroprotective effects due to its astaxanthin and omega-3 fatty acids, which are also present in shrimp.
■ STRENGTHENS BONES
Shrimp offers several nutrients involved in maintaining bone health. Along with providing some calcium, magnesium, and selenium, shrimp is above all, an excellent source of protein. Large prospective studies show significant reductions in bone fractures related to protein intake.
Including a lean source of protein, from foods like shrimp, could be especially beneficial for osteoporosis prevention in older adults.
■ SHRIMP IS LOW IN CALORIES YET RICH IN NUTRIENTS
Shrimp has an impressive nutrition profile.
It is quite low in calories, providing only 84 calories in a 3-ounce (85-gram) serving, and does not contain any carbs. Approximately 90% of the calories in shrimp come from protein, and the rest come from fat.
Additionally, the same serving size provides more than 20 different vitamins and minerals, including 50% of your daily needs for selenium, a minerals that may help reduce inflammation and promote heart health.
Here is an overview of the nutrients inma 3-ounce (85-gram) serving of shrimp:
●Protein: 18 grams
●Selenium: 48% of the RDI
●Vitamin B12: 21% of the RDI
●Iron: 15% of the RDI
●Phosphorus: 12% of the RDI
●Niacin: 11% of the RshrimpDI
●Zinc: 9% of the RDI
●Magnesium: 7% of the RDI
Shrimp is also one of the best food sources of iodine, an important mineral that many people are deficient in. Iodine is required for proper thyroid function and brain health
Shrimp is very nutritious. It is fairly low in calories and provides a high amount of protein and healthy fats, in addition to a variety of vitamins and minerals.
In addition to their water content, shrimp are primarily made of protein. Three ounces of baked or broiled shrimp provides about 20 grams of protein, just a few grams less than that a 3-ounce chicken breast. Each jumbo shrimp provides about 3 grams, and contains very little fat and carbohydrate.
Aside from protein, shrimp provide a pretty impressive array of nutrients.
Four ounces steamed contains over 100% of the Daily Value for:
● Selenium: 75%
● Vitamin B12: 50%
● Phosphorus: 30%
For choline, copper, and iodine. And while we don’t typically think of animal proteins as sources of antioxidants, shrimp contain two types.
In addition to being a mineral that plays a role in immunity and thyroid function, selenium is an important antioxidant that help fight damaging particles called free radicals, which damage cell membranes and DNA, leading to premature aging and disease.
Another antioxidant, called astaxanthin, which provides the primary color pigment in shrimp, has been shown to help reduce inflammation, a known trigger of aging and disease.
■ SHRIMP IS HIGH IN CHOLESTEROL
Shrimp often gets a bad rap for its high cholesterol content.
A 3-ounce (85-gram) serving contains 166 mg of cholesterol. That’s almost 85% more than the amount of cholesterol in other types of seafood, such as tuna.
Many people fear foods that are high in cholesterol due to the belief that they increase the cholesterol in your blood, and thus promote heart disease.
However, research shows this may not be the case for the most people, as only a quarter of the population is sensitive to dietary cholesterol. For the rest, dietary cholesterol may only have a small impact of blood cholesterol levels.
This is because most of the cholesterol in your blood is produced by your liver, and when you eat food high in cholesterol, your liver produces less.
What’s more, shrimp contains several nitrients that may actually boost health, such as omega-3 fatty acids and astaxanthin antioxidants.
One study found that adults who ate 300 grams of shrimp daily increased their “good” HDL cholesterol levels by 12% and decreased their triglycerides by 13%. Both of these are important factors in reducing the risk of heart disease.
Another study found that 356 women who consumed shellfish, including shrimp, on a regular basis had significantly lower triglycerides and blood pressure levels compared to those who did not include shellfish in their diets.
Research has also shown that people who consume shrimp regularly do not have a higher risk of heart disease compared to those who do not eat it.
Although more research is needed to explore shrimp’s role in heart health, it has a variety of beneficial properties that may outweigh its cholesterol content.
Shrimp is high in cholesterol, but it also contains nutrients including antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to promote heart health. Research on shrimp has also shown positive health effects.
■ SHRIMP CONTAINS ANTIOXIDANTS
The primary type of antioxidant in shrimp is a carotenoid called astaxanthin.
Astaxanthin is a component of algae, which is consumed by shrimp. For this reason, shrimp is a major source of astaxanthin. In fact, this antioxidant is responsible for the reddish color of shrimp cells.
When you consume astaxanthin, it may help protect against inflammation by preventing free radicals from damaging your cells. It has been studied for its role in reducing the risk of several chronic diseases.
Many studies have found astaxanthin may help strengthen arteries, which may reduce the risk of heart attacks. It may also help increase levels of “good” HDL cholesterol, an important factor in heart health.
In addition, astaxanthin may be beneficial for brain health. Its anti-inflammatory properties may prevent damage to your brain cells that often leads to memory loss and neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s.
Despite these findings, more human research is needed to determine the overall role that the astaxanthin in shrimp may have on overall health.
Shrimp contains an antioxidant called astaxanthin, which has been studied for its role in promoting brain and heart health.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Shrimp may have a variety of health benefits.
It is high in several vitamins and minerals, and is rich source of protein. Eating shrimp may also promote heart and brain health due to its content of omega-3 fatty acids and the antioxidant astaxanthin.
Although shrimp is high in cholesterol, it has not been found to have a negative impact on heart health. Eating shrimp may actually help lower your levels of triglycerides and “bad” LDL cholesterol.
Despite the health benefits of shrimp, there are some concerns about the quality of farm-raised shrimp, such as potential contamination with antibiotics.
However, there are plenty of steps you can take to ensure you’re getting high-quality shrimp, such as purchasing it from reputable suppliers.
Overall, shrimp is a healthy food that can fit well into a balanced diet.
References: healthline.com / verywellfit.com