Nutrition, Benefits and Risks of Shrimp

Do you like fried puff shrimp or a decadent shrimp cocktail? No need to skimp on the shrimp! The popular crustacean swims with nutrients.

Shrimp is a low-calorie, nutrient-dense food that contains a healthy serving of protein, vitamin B12, and essential minerals like selenium, zinc, and iodine. Shellfish allergies aside, this shellfish is a healthy addition to most homies’ plates.

Here’s the scoop on shrimp nutrition and the many benefits of eating this starlet of the sea.

Since shrimp are available in a wide range of sizes and types, their nutritional content varies. Typically, shrimp don’t contain many calories or carbs, but they are high in protein, vitamins, and minerals. #Winner

On average, here’s what you’ll get in a 3.5 ounce (100 gram) serving of steamed or boiled shrimp:

  • calories: 91
  • Protein: 17.4 grams (g)
  • Fat: 1.3g
  • Crabs: 1.16g
  • Selenium: 69% of the recommended daily value (DV)
  • Vitamin B12: 35% DV
  • Phosphorus: 17% of DV
  • Zinc: 11% of DV
  • Magnesium: 6% of DV

Shrimp is a particularly stellar source of selenium. Your body needs this mineral for proper thyroid function, fertility, and prevention of infection and inflammation.

This small crustacean also offers small amounts of omega-3 fatty acids and iodine. Since your body doesn’t need many of these nutrients to thrive, even a shrimp-sized piece goes a long way.

Shrimp may offer several health benefits to anyone *not* allergic to shellfish.

Loads of antioxidants

Although shrimp salad does not cure cancer, the antioxidants in shrimp can help your body fight oxidative stress.

In fgeneral, antioxidants can support your body’s ongoing fight against health issues such as:

Hey heart health

If you leave shrimp and bang-bang shrimp cocktails behind, these shellfish become a lean, medium source of protein. And that’s good news for your ticker.

It has been shown that the Mediterranean diet, which emphasizes lean proteins (like shrimp!) rather than fatty proteins (like red meat!) reduce the risk of heart disease.

Shrimps also contain cholinewhich could prevent heart problems by reducing blood pressure.

weight loss support

Anyone working to lose weight knows the importance of creating a calorie deficit. Shrimp to the rescue!

Shrimp are low in calories and packed with protein, which is known to stimulate feelings of fullness. So a cup of shrimp will satisfy you more than, say, a green salad – but you’ll still keep your calorie count low.

High-protein, low-carb foods like shrimp help people lose weight (if that’s your goal) without feeling deprived.

Bone Demo

Shrimp contain protein, magnesium, and selenium, all of which play a role in bone health.

Further studies are needed, but to research suggests that higher protein intake = better bone density.

To be clear, you can’t just eat shrimp to get out of brittle bones. Strong, healthy bones require a balanced diet and regular movement.

Safe seafood for pregnant women

Unlike some seafood, shrimp contain very low mercury content. So if you are pregnant, you should be able to safely add shrimp to the weekly menu.

To research also suggests that pregnant women who consume more omega-3s are less likely to give birth prematurely. And while shrimp won’t provide you heaps of omega-3s, that’s not a bad start.

brain food

Remember the choline in shrimp? Well, it’s essential for memory and brain function.

Beyond that, astaxanthinone of the antioxidants in shrimp, may help protect against Alzheimer’s disease and other neurocognitive declines.

Shrimp should be safe for most people. But there are some potential risks. 👇

allergies

Seafood allergies affect approximately 2 percent of the American population. And shrimp = public enemy No. 1 for people allergic to shellfish.

An allergic reaction can trigger:

  • tingling in the mouth
  • To vomit
  • stomach cramps
  • dizziness or lightheadedness
  • urticaria
  • throat constriction (Call 911! 🚨)

Do you think you are allergic to shellfish? Don’t. eat. shrimp. And talk to your doctor about getting an EpiPen.

Shellfish poisoning

In a 2011 report, researchers wrote: “Shellfish poisoning is often passed off as an allergic reaction.” In other words, people sometimes assume they are allergic because they ate contaminated shrimp.

You can reduce the risk of shellfish poisoning by eating shrimp that has been properly chilled or frozen as soon as possible after being caught. Oh, and if it smells good, don’t eat it!

Iodine and mercury overload

Shrimp contain iodine. Your thyroid needs it *a little* iodine to functionbut ingesting too much can increase your risk of conditions like hypothyroidism.

You probably know that seafood contains mercury. In the world of sea creatures, the shrimp has the third lowest mercury concentration (after scallops and clams). So while a mercury overload is *super* unlikely, it’s a risk to keep in mind.

Gout attack

Shrimp might not be your friend if you have drop or kidney problems. That’s because eating shrimp can raise your uric acid levels – a common trigger for gout attacks.

A shrimp is not just a shrimp. It can be a wild white prawn, a rock prawn, a northern rose prawn… Since prawns come in many types and sizes, choose your variety of prawns according to your recipe.

But how do you make sure you get the best shrimp? Here are some tips for choosing and storing shrimp safely:

  • Buy them from the freezer case. Unless you live on water, your “fresh” grocery store shrimp are just thawed. Shrimp start to go bad as soon as they die, so opt for freezing (and keep them frozen until you’re ready to cook).
  • Pay attention to the smell and texture. Firm shrimp = fresh shrimp. Avoid soft shrimp with a fishy stench and shrimp with ice crystals (this could mean they have already been thawed before being frozen). The shrimp should also smell like the ocean, not ammonia.
  • Opt for veined and peeled shrimp. The less the shrimp has been handled, the fresher it is likely to be.
  • Think sustainable. It’s not as simple as wild fishing versus farm fishing. Check with an organization like the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch find the healthiest shrimp for you, the planet and others.
  • Keep shrimp cool during storage. Store packaged shrimp in a container in the freezer, on ice, covered with waxed paper in the refrigerator or in a unsealed plastic bag in the coldest part of the refrigerator. Shrimp will only keep in the fridge for about 2 days.

As Shrimp Stan Bubba would say, “You can barbecue it, boil it, broil it, bake it, sauté it.” There are endless ways to prepare shrimp.

If you bought frozen shrimp, let them thaw in the refrigerator or in cold water. Depending on the recipe, you can also devein the shrimp and peel them before cooking.

For your information, that dark line that runs along the length of the shrimp isn’t actually a vein – it’s the creature’s digestive tract. Although eating it won’t hurt you, many people take it out. To devein the shrimp:

  1. Use a paring knife to make a slit along the back of the shrimp.
  2. Gently lift the line with the tip of the knife.
  3. Pull it all out.

Ready to cook? If you need #shrimpspo, try these recipes:

Depending on how you prepare them, shrimp can be a healthy, low-calorie, high-protein snack. Shrimp also contains antioxidants, vitamins and minerals like selenium, magnesium and iodine.

Most people, including pregnant women, can safely enjoy the nutritional richness of shrimp. But anyone allergic to shellfish should avoid shrimp. Shrimp might also not be a healthy choice for people with gout.

To get the most health benefits from shrimp, buy them frozen (or fresh from the water!). Look for firm, meaty shrimp with a pleasantly salty smell. Keep your meal light and well-balanced by steaming or boiling the shrimp instead of beating and frying them. Enjoy your lunch!


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Richard V. Johnson