Is Shrimps Healthy? Nutrition, Calories and More

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Shrimp is one of the most commonly consumed types of shellfish

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

Additionally, it is commonly believed that farm-raised shrimps may have some negative health effects compared to wild-caught shrimp

This article will explore the evidence to determine if shrimp is a healthy food to include in your diet

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 (1)

Additionally, the same serving size provides more than 20 different vitamins and minerals, including 50% of your daily needs for selenium, a mineral that may help reduce inflammation and promote heart health (1, 2Trusted Source)

Here is an overview of the nutrients in a 3-ounce (85-gram) serving of shrimp (1):

Calories: 84

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 RDI

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 (3Trusted Source, 4Trusted Source, 5Trusted Source)

Shrimp is also a good source of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, in addition to astaxanthin antioxidants, which may have a variety of health benefits (1, 6Trusted Source)

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 (1, 7)

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 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 on blood cholesterol levels (8Trusted Source, 9Trusted Source)

This is because most of the cholesterol in your blood is produced by your liver, and when you eat foods high in cholesterol, your liver produces less (8Trusted Source, 10Trusted Source)

What’s more, shrimp contains several nutrients that may actually boost health, such as omega-3 fatty acids and astaxanthin antioxidants (6Trusted Source, 11Trusted Source, 12Trusted Source, 13Trusted Source).

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 (14Trusted Source)

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 (15Trusted Source)

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 (16Trusted Source)

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