Is Shrimp Bad For Me?

30 06 2010

For years people have been concerned that eating shrimp would raise their cholesterol levels.  Shrimp is naturally high in cholesterol.  But what we have learned from research is that dietary cholesterol does not raise your blood levels of cholesterol like saturated fat and trans fat do.  Shrimp is actually a very low fat, high protein food.  It could be a great addition to your normal diet.  Now, that doesn’t mean that you should go buy popcorn or coconut shrimp.  Breading and frying add the saturated fat that we are trying to keep in check.  Feel free to use steamed or cocktail shrimp.

In addition to being a good lean source of protein, shrimp have other health benefits.  They are very high in a carotenoid called astaxanthin.  This is responsible for seafood’s red color (shrimp, lobster, salmon, trout).   Studies have demonstrated that astaxanthin is much more active as an antioxidant than beta-carotene or vitamin E.  Other studies have also shown that dietary astaxanthin enhances our immune response, decreases inflammation, enhances fat metabolism, and improves eye health.

Bottom Line:  Shrimp can be part of a healthy diet, and I would argue that it should be included to balance your diet.

© Randy Bird, MS, RD, CSSD, CSCS and Randy Bird Sports Nutrition, 2010.

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