In a large online poll that had thousands of voters, people were asked to name their favorite seafood to eat. Coming in second in this lengthy poll was crab, which is not surprising considering the amazing taste. While it’s not the easiest dish to prepare and eat, people find that crab is worth the trouble because of the delicious meat. What people probably don’t realize is that crab is actually pretty healthy.
There are several different types of crabs that people consume on a daily basis (and the price range shows that), and all of them have their benefits. When not doused in butter, crab has a ton of nutritional value, and is one of the most nutrient packed seafoods that you can find. To show you how healthy crab can be, let’s look at the nutritional value and proven health benefits that you can get from eating more crab in your diet.
Nutrition of Crab
There are several different types of crab, but the one we’ll break down is the queen crab, which is incredibly low in calories with under 100 per each three ounce serving. Considering that the same serving will also deliver nearly half of your daily recommendation for protein with no carbohydrates and just over one gram of fat, and you have yourself a very enriching food that you can fit into any calorie budget.
Queen crab is packed with vitamins and minerals, too, with more than a day’s worth of vitamin B12. Vitamin C, riboflavin and niacin are all above 10 percent, with folate, vitamin B6, thiamin and vitamin A all right behind at close to 10 percent daily value. As for the minerals, selenium is the big one with more than 50 percent daily value, while zinc and copper are above 20 percent. Iron, magnesium and phosphorus are above 10 percent, as well, with small amounts of calcium and potassium thrown in. Lastly, there are more than 400 milligrams of helpful omega-3 fatty acids.
Plenty of us are looking to drop a few pounds of fat while also building muscle. Crab is one of those foods that can help you tremendously in both of those departments. With just 100 calories per serving and about 50 percent of the daily protein recommendation, crab has one of the highest protein to calorie ratios of any food out there.
Doctors suggest that if you’re trying to shed pounds to eat more seafood, and crab is certainly on the list of suggested foods. The protein in crab is stronger than that of most other foods, as it’s easily absorbed by the body. This should increase your muscle mass, especially if you’re getting a good workout in. Not only does the protein help build muscle, but can also repair it from damage and, in turn, helps to burn more calories even while at rest.
Good For the Heart
Another one of the great things that omega-3 fatty acids can do for your body is protecting your heart. Omega-3 has been shown to have the ability to both lower your LDL (bad) cholesterol while raising your HDL (good) cholesterol. The same fatty acids can also regulate your blood pressure to reduce your chances of heart disease and stroke.
Going back to the high protein content, that’s another benefit for your heart, especially with the low amount of saturated fat. The high concentration of phosphorus within crab also helps, as this nutrient helps your build strength in your heart muscle to aid in contraction. While crab is high in cholesterol, it doesn’t have a negative effect on your heart thanks to the beneficial fatty acids and minerals within.
Phosphorus also plays a significant part in protecting your bones. You can get all of the calcium that you want in your diet, but if you’re not getting enough phosphorus, your body won’t be using all the calcium. Phosphorus is just as big of a part of your bones as calcium, and those that get enough of this mineral have stronger bones as it binds the building blocks of bones to improve density and prevent osteoporosis.
One of the reasons that omega-3 fatty acids have gotten so much attention over the past couple of decades is because it’s been shown that they are great for your brain’s health. Omega-3 acids promote brain development and make your neurotransmitters stronger, reducing your chances of diseases such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s down the road.
You’ll even improve the day to day function of your brain because crab contains the long chain form of omega-3 fatty acids. Boosting your cognitive ability and memory will make you more focused, which leads to an increased performance in your work. Other nutrients found in crab that can help your brain include copper and riboflavin. There’s not much in the nervous system that crab can’t help with, even if it doesn’t get as much attention in that department as other seafoods!
Seafoods have one particular nutrient that you won’t find in many others, and that’s selenium. Selenium is important for the immune system, making it more efficient in using antioxidants. These antioxidants will scope out harmful invaders and free radicals that attack your cells and can cause a wide range of illnesses that include cancer.
On top of antioxidants, there’s plenty of anti-inflammatory properties in crab that prevent problems in the digestive system and even gout. If you’re trying to detoxify your body but also want to keep eating the foods you love, crab is a good way of doing that as it flushes out your liver and kidneys. All in all, it seems that the amount of good that crab can do is endless.
Summing it Up
Seafood is a fantastic part of any diet, and health professionals recommend that you get several servings each week, especially in place of red meat. Crab is no exception, though there are some things you need to look out for, and it should always be eaten in moderation. The way crab is prepared, it can contain a lot of sodium, which isn’t good for the heart. Fresh crab eaten in moderation, though, won’t have much of a negative effect at all.
There is cholesterol within crab when you look at the nutritional label, but we’ve already shown how that’s not actually a bad thing. The one negative that people immediately think about with crab is the price. It can be a bit hard to find while also being costly and hard to eat, but it’s definitely worth it. Not only is the taste great, but those health benefits will keep you coming back for more, so spoil yourself with some crab and start enjoying those benefits!