Shrimps are small aquatic crustaceans. Before consuming them, they must be separated at the head, thorax and belly and their exoskeleton removed.
Shrimp can be found in both warm and cold water, with those in hard water generally being smaller. There are many species of shrimp, and the term can be used to refer to jumbo shrimp that weigh 15 pounds or less, such as “king shrimp.” Many of them are grown for human consumption.
At one time, experts warned people with heart disease or high cholesterol to steer clear of shrimp. However, to research showed that shrimp are low in saturated fat and naturally contain cholesterol, so eating them won’t necessarily raise LDL (bad) cholesterol. Therefore, nutritionists suggest including shrimp in a healthy and balanced diet.
Nutritional values of prawns
According to USDAhere is an estimate of the nutrients contained in a 100 g serving of shrimp:
- Energy: 146kCal
- Protein: 15.5g
- Fat: 6.6g
- Calcium: 64mg
- Iron: 0.53mg
- Sodium: 348mg
- Phosphorus: 273mg
- Potassium: 131mg
- Selenium: 33.3 mcg
- Folate: 24 mcg
- Cholesterol: 140mg
Looking at the nutritional value of shrimp, people may think that with such amount of cholesterol, shrimp would raise the cholesterol level. However, this is not always true.
Some meals may contain cholesterol, but this does not always negatively affect blood cholesterol levels. However, it is only accurate if you eat them in moderation and prepare them healthily.
Shrimp and their effect on cholesterol
The body needs cholesterol for digestion and hormone production, and it can produce enough to support these processes. Therefore, eating meals high in cholesterol can potentially increase your risk of developing health problems.
Despite their high cholesterol content, shrimp are still healthy and can be part of a healthy, low-cholesterol diet. Unfortunately, there is a common misconception that foods high in cholesterol will lead to increased bad blood cholesterol (LDL) levels and heart disease, leading many people to avoid them.
To research showed that only 25% of people are sensitive to dietary cholesterol. This means that for most people, dietary cholesterol may not affect their blood cholesterol levels. However, eating high-cholesterol meals can lower cholesterol produced by the liver, which is responsible for most of the cholesterol in the blood.
Although shrimp meat contains a large amount of cholesterol, to research indicates that it is also an excellent source of many other essential nutrients. These include proteins, bioactive peptides, omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants and minerals, which help reduce cholesterol absorption and benefit overall health.
Note from The Fitness Freak
According to studies, although a significant increase in your shrimp intake causes a minor increase in LDL or “bad” cholesterol, it also, and more seriously, causes an increase in HDL or “good” cholesterol. Moreover, these improvements in HDL levels are significantly greater than the increases in LDL levels, indicating that the favorable fat levels of shrimp generally do not increase the risk of heart disease.
Benefits of eating shrimp
- Shrimps are nutrient rich as they contain calcium, phosphorus, potassium, vitamin A, vitamin E and other vitamins and minerals. In addition, they are rich in niacin, vitamin B6 and vitamins B12 and B6. In addition, they contain a lot of iron, which promotes the growth of red blood cells.
- Shrimp are high in protein. Eating a protein-rich diet helps you feel full longer and increases your energy.
- Shrimp are an excellent source of selenium, iodine and zinc, among other trace minerals. While selenium and zinc support the immune system, iodine is needed to maintain thyroid gland function.
- Shrimp contains a lot of vitamin E, which promotes healthy skin.
Note from The Fitness Freak
Regardless of a person’s cholesterol level, doctors now believe that most people can safely eat shrimp. Shrimp can provide a variety of vital nutrients when eaten in moderation. Connect with one of our coaches at HealthifyMe if you want to follow a cholesterol-lowering diet as advised by a doctor. Talk to expert nutritionists about which meals would be the best choice for your cholesterol intake.
Shrimp is generally a healthy food choice and may be beneficial for cholesterol levels. Studies have shown that eating shrimp can help lower bad cholesterol (LDL) levels and increase good cholesterol (HDL) levels, positively affecting overall cholesterol levels. Plus, shrimp is low in fat and calories, but high in protein and other essential vitamins and minerals.
For people with a healthy lifestyle, a moderate consumption of shrimp can be beneficial. However, it is essential to note that shrimp are still high in cholesterol and should be eaten in moderation as part of a balanced diet.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. How much cholesterol is in a shrimp?
A: Shrimp is an excellent source of lean protein and is relatively low in cholesterol. Depending on the size, a 100 g serving of shrimp can contain between 55 and 75 mg of cholesterol. It is much lower than other animal proteins, such as beef and pork, which can contain more than 100mg per 100g serving. Plus, shrimp are a good source of unsaturated fats, which can help lower bad cholesterol levels in your blood. Therefore, shrimp is a great option for those looking to lower their cholesterol levels.
Q. Who should avoid shrimp?
A: People allergic to shellfish or crustaceans should avoid eating shrimp. People with certain medical conditions, such as a weakened immune system, should avoid eating shrimp. Pregnant women should also avoid eating shrimp due to their potential risk of foodborne illness. Finally, people on a low-sodium diet should also avoid eating shrimp, as they tend to be high in sodium.
Q. Are shrimp good for the heart?
A: Shrimp is a great choice for the heart due to its high content of omega-3 fatty acids, which are known to reduce inflammation and improve heart health. They’re also a good source of protein and low in calories, making them a great choice for anyone looking to lose or maintain weight. In addition, shrimp are rich in vitamin B12 and selenium, beneficial for the cardiovascular system. They are also low in saturated fat, making them a healthy choice for those looking to lower their cholesterol levels.
Q. Can shrimp increase high blood pressure?
A: Shrimp has many health benefits, but can also increase high blood pressure. This is due to the high sodium content in shrimp, as sodium is known to raise blood pressure. Additionally, shrimp contain omega-3 fatty acids, which may also contribute to high blood pressure. Therefore, people with high blood pressure should avoid overeating shrimp and opt for healthier, lower-sodium seafood options. Talking to a doctor to determine the best dietary changes to make if high blood pressure is a problem is crucial.
Sources of support
1. Jones, W. & Wong, Max & Lowe, Gordon & Davies, Ian & Isherwood, C. & Griffin, Bruce. (2010). The effect of shrimp consumption on lipoprotein subclasses in healthy males. Proceedings of The Nutrition Society – PROC NUTR SOC-ENGL SCOT. 69. 10.1017/S0029665109992849.
2. United States Department of Agriculture. Shrimp, NFS
3. Berger S, Raman G, Vishwanathan R, Jacques PF, Johnson EJ. Dietary cholesterol and cardiovascular disease: systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Clin Nutr. 2015 Aug;102(2):276-94. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.114.100305. Published online June 24, 2015. PMID: 26109578.
4. Menon, V. & Gopakumar, Kumarapanicker. (2017). Shellfish: nutritional value, health benefits and consumer safety. Comprehensive reviews in food science and food safety. 16.10.1111/1541-4337.12312.
5. Soliman, GA Dietary cholesterol and lack of evidence in cardiovascular disease. Nutrients 2018, 10, 780.
6. De Oliveira e Silva ER, Seidman CE, Tian JJ, Hudgins LC, Sacks FM, Breslow JL. Effects of shrimp consumption on plasma lipoproteins. Am J Clin Nutr. 1996 Nov;64(5):712-7. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/64.5.712. PMID: 8901790.