If you had to guess what type of seafood was the most commonly eaten in the entire world, you might guess shrimp. That would be the correct answer, as countries such as the United States eat an average of four pounds of shrimp each year. That’s 1.3 pounds more than canned tuna, which was the second most common seafood. Shrimp might go by the name prawn in certain cultures, but it all means the same thing.
Unfortunately, many people choose to go with the fried route when they’re eating shrimp. It’s not very healthy when prepared that way, but eating shrimp that has been baked, boiled or grilled is actually quite beneficial for your health. Even looking at the nutritional value is surprising for those that don’t think of shrimp as a healthy food. Here, we’ll look at that nutritional breakdown, and what that means for your health. The benefits might be quite surprising for you.
Nutrition of Shrimp
Shrimp is one of those meats that doesn’t bring a lot of calories per serving. Raw shrimp has just 90 calories in those three ounces, with less than one gram of carbohydrates and under two grams of fat. That’s already encouraging straight off the bat, and even moreso when you realize that there’s more than one-third of your daily recommendation for protein. You’ll even find a good amount of vitamins and minerals in shrimp.
In the vitamin department, vitamin D is the most abundant, totalling one-third of your daily value. Others that come in at more than 10 percent are niacin and vitamin B12. The rest are around five percent of daily value, including vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin B6 and thiamin. Shrimp is packed with the mineral selenium at half of your daily recommendation. Coming in at more than 10 percent are iron, phosphorus and copper. Lastly, shrimp is a great source for calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc and manganese.
Fat Burner, Muscle Builder
Shrimp is packed with protein in each three ounce serving, but lacks fat and carbohydrates. It also lacks calories, which is the biggest thing you need to be watching if you want to lose weight. Eating more protein than fat and carbohydrates allows your body to build muscle easier and get through those tough workouts. By building more muscle, your body naturally burns more calories even when not working out and also burns stubborn fat.
Beyond those nutrients, shrimp also contains plenty of vitamin D and zinc. These are the key nutrients you need to be looking out for if you want to control your appetite and change how your body stores fat. If you’re one of (the millions and millions) of people that have fat around your midsection that you can’t seem to get rid of, eating more foods like shrimp is going to help tremendously.
So now that we know that shrimp can help you slim down, how else can it affect your outward appearance? Well, the good news is that you can look much better! Shrimp contains several antioxidants that help your skin, including astaxanthin. This antioxidant has been shown to help your skin increase resistance to the sun’s damaging rays. Not only are you less likely to suffer sun related damage, but this also slows down aging.
You also have beneficial vitamins like vitamins C and E that are essential for skin to make it more elastic and glowing, preventing wrinkles and blemishes. Finally, your hair gets a boost from eating more shrimp thanks to a high amount of zinc. While your family history plays a big part into hair loss, a deficiency in zinc also plays a role.
As long as you’re finding shrimp that hasn’t been contaminated by mercury or bacteria (which is easy to do when getting from a reputable source like a grocery store), you can expect your body to prevent more diseases. Earlier we mentioned how astaxanthin was good for your skin, but it’s also been linked at lowering your risk for certain types of cancers. The two that are most affected by this antioxidant are in the prostate and lung.
Thyroid irregularity is also another problem that people seem to be facing more and more these days. Thankfully, shrimp is able to regulate your thyroid function through containing a high amount of selenium. Not only will that help your thyroid, but selenium is one of those antioxidants that attacks free radicals. Research has shown that people who get more selenium are much less likely to be diagnosed with cancer down the road.
Good For the Heart
While shrimp might not be the best food for your heart since it does contain a fair amount of cholesterol, it’s not exactly damaging. LDL (bad) cholesterol isn’t affected too much by eating shrimp in your diet, but you are raising your HDL (good) cholesterol and lowering triglycerides when eating more shrimp. The triglyceride count was the biggest change according to studies, with some people lowering their levels by more than 25 percent. As long as you’re eating other foods that lower your LDL levels, shrimp is incredibly heart healthy.
All In Your Head
Some of the other diseases that can happen as a result of aging happen to the brain, particularly with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Some of these problems are because people aren’t getting enough iron in their system. Iron helps to carry oxygen to the blood that flows to your brain. The more efficiently that your body is getting oxygen in the blood, the less likely you are to have age-related neurological diseases.
It’s not just long term, either, as eating food such as shrimp can improve your day-to-day brain functions. Of course, our eyesight is one of the first things to be affected by age, and foods like shrimp keep your eyes sharper for longer. It’s been found that shrimp contains compounds that are effective in preventing macular degeneration, one of the most common eye diseases associated with the elderly.
Summing it Up
A lot of people out there assume that shrimp is unhealthy compared to other seafoods, and that might be because it looks different than other dishes and is typically fried. There are some things you need to know about shrimp, though. There are plenty of people that will be allergic to shrimp, and it needs to be prepared properly as it can develop bacteria quite easily. That’s the case with most seafood, though, so thankfully it’s common knowledge for most people.
You also don’t want to be eating shrimp on a daily basis or more than the suggested serving because of the cholesterol and sodium numbers. Eating shrimp in moderation won’t damage your heart, especially if you’re eating an overall healthy diet. All of the other complaints about shrimp have to do with environment protection, so you might just avoid shrimp altogether if you have major concerns there. Outside of that, shrimp is healthier than you might imagine, and is a perfectly fine thing to eat as part of your overall weekly diet.