The Health Benefits of Shrimp

Research shows and dieticians concur that the high percentage of "good fats" in shrimp reduces the impact of cholesterol. So enjoy shrimp as part of a balanced diet.

The conventional wisdom on shrimp used to be that it tasted good, but that it was high in cholesterol. However, recent studies have revealed that cholesterol levels in shrimp are significantly lower than previously thought. An average 3 ounce (100 gram) shrimp portion contains about 150 milligrams of cholesterol, or about half the cholesterol found in one chicken egg.

There are two types of cholesterol. LDL is known as "bad cholesterol" because it may promote production of artery-building plaques that can result in a heart attack. HDL is called "good cholesterol" because it returns cholesterol back to the liver for reprocessing, which reduces cholesterol in the blood stream. A serving of a dozen large shrimp contains about 130 mg of cholesterol. This is not a health concern because shrimp is low fat with a rich content of highly unsaturated fatty acids which lead to the formation of high density lipids known as good cholesterol. Consuming shrimp may actually lower blood cholesterol levels.

The nutritional values of shrimp vary according to feed, geography, species and age. In general, shrimp is high in protein and low in calories. A serving of 3 ounces contains about 20 grams of protein and between 90 and 100 calories. Shrimp are low in fat ranging from gram to 1 gram per 3 ounces. Farmed shrimp contain almost zero fat due to their high protein diets. What little fat there is in shrimp is mostly polyunsaturated, containing moderate amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, a highly touted therapeutic component found almost exclusively in seafood. Shrimp is also a good source of calcium and phosphorus.

Health Benefits