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Is Shrimp Healthy to Eat or Not? A Dietician Answers

4 mins read
Isobel Krüger
Written by Isobel Krüger
Isobel Krüger

Written by Isobel Krüger

Isobel is a health and fitness writer, and also a health and fitness fanatic in real life. She loves researching the latest health and fitness topics and trends that can make life healthier, happier, and easier.

on November 14, 2022
Dr. Olena Avdiievska, MD, RDN
Fact checked by Dr. Olena Avdiievska, MD, RDN

Dr. Olena Avdiievska is a nutritional and medical expert at Unimeal. She is an MD and RDN in Dietology and nutrition and a university professor with 76 scientific publications. 

The Unimeal team works to give you the most accurate and up-to-date information. All texts are reviewed by a panel of experts and editors and updated according to the latest research. Only evidenced-based and verified sources of leading medical publications and universities get into the article materials.

Shrimp is a versatile source of protein found in delicious dishes globally. However, is shrimp healthy and good for weight loss? Find out everything you need to know about shrimp and the best advice from a dietician.

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Shrimp is a versatile source of protein found in delicious dishes globally. However, is shrimp healthy and good for weight loss?  Find out everything you need to know about shrimp and the best advice from a dietician.

Shrimp Health Benefits

If you like eating shrimp, you're in for a treat. Take a look at the following stunning health benefits.

Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Shrimp can definitely be considered a super-protein as it contains antioxidants and fatty acids that help maintain a healthy brain and heart.

One of the main concerns about shrimp is that it is high in cholesterol; however, when it comes to health benefits, the healthy outweighs the unhealthy by far, and recent studies have shown that although shrimp is high in cholesterol, it remains a healthy protein source. The high levels of Omega 3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory and provide crucial nourishment for both the brain and heart that can protect against heart problems and neurodegenerative diseases.

Astaxanthin

Astaxanthin is a super-antioxidant is what gives shrimp its pinkish color and is one of the most potent antioxidants protecting your body against free radicals and cell damage. 

Another superhero for your brain, heart, and overall cell function. Astaxanthin helps strengthen your arteries, boost your good cholesterol levels, and reduce potential chronic health issues.

Astaxanthin is an anti-inflammatory element that helps maintain optimal brain health, helping you steer clear of neurodegenerative diseases and promoting a clear and heatlhy mind. 

Shrimp: Nutritional Value

Shrimp is extremely high in protein, considering the fact that it also has high water content.  

Three oz. or 85 grams of shrimp contains the following nutrients:

  • 84.2 calories
  • 20.4 g protein
  • 220 mg Potassium
  • 1.39 mg Zinc
  • 33.2 mg Magnesium
  • 0.433 mg Iron
  • 201 mg Phosphorus
  • 94.4 mg Sodium

Possible Risks of Eating Shrimp

Although shrimp is a great addition to your diet, you also need to know what the possible risks of eating shrimp are.

Allergies

Shrimp and other shellfish are common causes of allergic reactions. Shrimp contains three top allergens, which are all proteins. They are tropomyosin, arginine kinase, and hemocyanin.

Allergic reactions to shrimp can include flushed skin, a rash or hives, digestive issues, dizziness, and an itchy mouth or tingly throat and tongue. An allergic reaction to shrimp can cause serious health complications, so it’s crucial to find out whether you’re allergic to shrimp or shellfish in general. 

Toxins and Contaminants

Top contaminants to be aware of include heavy metals and microplastics. Heavy metals like mercury are often found in shrimp, and high mercury levels have an adverse effect on heart health, the nervous system, and kidney health.

Is Shrimp Good For Weight Loss?

Generally speaking, foods that are high in protein and low in calories are good for weight loss; from that perspective, shrimp definitely fits the bill. 

It’s important to include a variety of foods in your weight loss eating plan, and adding shrimp as a protein source is good for weight loss and your overall health. 

It’s all about how you cook it, so stay tuned as we tell you everything you need to know about cooking tasty but weight-loss-friendly shrimp dishes. 

How to Choose Shrimp

You’d want to make sure you choose shrimp that doesn’t contain unnecessary antibiotics and other substances that can affect your health. So, ensure you know where the shrimp you buy is sourced from and that it’s a reputable supplier either farming organic shrimp or wild-caught shrimp. 

If a supplier can answer all the questions you have about their shrimp-farming practices without hesitation and provide information about their practices, you most likely have yourself a good supplier. 

It’s also important to ensure your shrimp is properly cooked and, if you’re cooking frozen shrimp, that it doesn’t spoil while it’s thawing. 

The Best Ways to Prepare Shrimp for Weight Loss

While shrimp is a tasty and healthy protein source, make sure you’re not eating too much shrimp and that your portion sizes are controlled. Although it’s really tasty, avoid cooking shrimp in butter or frying in other saturated fats. Instead, focus on adding some solid flavor to your shrimp-inspired dish while either lightly sautéeing or grilling them and adding immune-boosting spices like garlic, turmeric, ginger, chili, lemon, and paprika. 

 

Conclusion

Eating too much shrimp has little side-effects, but it's important to keep in mind that eating too much of anything is not a part of a balanced eating plan. So, if you want to include this fantastic protein source in your weight loss diet, make sure you control your portions, use healthy cooking methods, make sure the shrimp is safe to eat, and check your allergy profile to avoid side effects and possible reactions. 

Apart from eating shrimp for weight loss, your heart, brain, and immune system will love you for it! 

How do you feel about my article?

Unimeal does not diagnose or suggest treatments. Any description of the diet, training plan or supplement should be discussed with your current physician or nutritionist. This article does not address specific conditions and is simply meant to provide general information on healthcare topics. Following any advice is at your own initiative and does not impose any responsibility on the blog authors for your health and safety.

Sources:

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Dayal, J. & Ponniah, A.G. & Khan, Imran & Babu, Ebin & Kondusamy, Ambasankar & Vasagam, K. 2013. Shrimps - a nutritional perspective. Current Science. DOI:104. 1487-1491
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National Institute of Health. 2017. Office of Dietary Supplements - Omega-3 Fatty Acids. Nih.gov. Retrieved from https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Omega3FattyAcids-HealthProfessional/
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