Eating shrimp as part of a balanced diet can offer a person several key nutrients, and it may be good for their heart and cardiovascular health.
Doctors previously recommended against eating shrimp as part of a heart-healthy diet, citing the high levels of cholesterol it contains.
However, researchers now have a better understanding of what contributes to heart disease and higher cholesterol. It seems that shrimp may, after all, be an excellent addition to a healthful diet.
Even for people with high cholesterol, the advantages of eating shrimp appear to outweigh the disadvantages.
Learn more about the benefits of eating shrimp in this article.
Is shrimp high in cholesterol?
The United States Department of AgricultureTrusted Source note that 100 grams (g) of shrimp contains 189 milligrams (mg) of cholesterol.
The 2015–2015 Dietary Guidelines for AmericansTrusted Source suggest eating as little dietary cholesterol as possible. They do not recommend a specific amount, but they do say that a person who follows a healthful eating pattern will consume around 100–300 mg of cholesterol per day.
In the past, doctors thought that all cholesterol was bad for health. However, experts now believe that high density lipoprotein (HDL), or “good,” cholesterol may balance out the negative impact of low density lipoprotein (LDL), or “bad,” cholesterol, resulting in a healthful balance.
In other words, “good” HDL cholesterol may help reduce the risk of heart disease, which LDL cholesterol increases.
In 1996, a group of scientistsTrusted Source found that eating shrimp increased the levels of LDL cholesterol, but that levels of HDL cholesterol also rose. They suggested that shrimp might support heart health rather than making it worse.
Foods high in saturated and trans fats can also increase LDL cholesterol levels. However, 100 g of shrimp containsTrusted Source less than 0.3 g of fat, and most of this is unsaturated. In other words, the fat content of shrimp is unlikely to increase levels of LDL cholesterol.
In one 2018 studyTrusted Source, researchers noted that most foods that are high in cholesterol are also high in saturated fat. Shrimp and egg yolk are exceptions. Both are low in saturated fat but high in other nutrients. The authors suggest that shrimp and egg are healthful foods that will not increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.
The American Heart Association (AHA) even list shrimp as a food that can lower cholesterol levels — as long as people do not fry it.
Elsewhere, the AHA claim that shrimp contains some omega-3 fatty acids. This is a healthful type of fat that can benefit the cardiovascular system and other bodily functions.
This article provides some tips on lowering cholesterol levels.
Risks of eating shrimp
Eating shrimp may not increase cholesterol levels, but people should consider a number of factors when including it in the diet. The following sections detail these factors.
Although shrimp may be heart-healthy, some cooking methods may not be.
To ensure that shrimp is as heart-healthy and low in cholesterol as possible, a person can:
bake it, boil it, grill it, or cook it with little to no oil
season it with spices, garlic, and herbs
add lemon juice to it
They should try not to:
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