Shrimp is one of the most popular seafood in the United States. It’s always in high demand, so much so that there’ve also been issues and abuses in the fishing and processing of shrimp. Despite this, shrimp is widely known as being a very healthy food, high in protein and low in calories. But is shrimp healthy for good?
Moreover, we are still not very well informed about the provenience of the shrimp. This is an important issue with the risk of environmental pollution of today. In this article, we will be looking at the benefits of eating shrimp, at issues that might arise from shrimp consumption and try to answer the final question: is shrimp healthy?
Nutritional Benefits of Shrimp
- Is shrimp healthy for you? The main nutrient and star of the show is protein. A single serving of 3 ounces of shrimp contains 20 grams of protein. The protein then breaks down into essential amino acids that help repair your muscles and organs and improve your overall health.
- In addition, the high concentration of selenium, omega-3, vitamins B6 and B12 and other nutrients we might be lacking in, makes a great cocktail that fights cancer and cardiovascular disease.
- Another thing you should check before consuming shrimp is the amount of sodium written on the package. Because shrimp absorb minerals from the ocean, they will have a higher concentration of sodium than beef or chicken. As a result, you don’t need to pour extra salt on your meal. 3 ounces of shrimp contain 805 milligrams of sodium. This makes for a large part of the maximum recommended of 2,300.
- Shrimp is also famous for the low-calorie intake per serving. One medium shrimp amounts to only 7 calories, while a jumbo shrimp amounts to 14. The 3-ounce serving contains 60 calories.
- Finally, nutrients in shrimp worth mentioning are astaxanthin that helps repair brain cells and creatine that helps your own body produce the protein if needed. Moreover, naturally, shrimp contain no carbohydrates. If you should avoid eating breaded shrimp or serve it next to foods high in carbs if you want to keep the intake at a minimum.
Is shrimp healthy for you in a diet plan? Unless you are allergic to shrimp or need to follow a strict low-sodium diet, there’s no reason not to try it out.
The Disadvantages & Risks of Eating Shrimp
The main disadvantage is that shrimp is very high in cholesterol. A 3-ounce serving of shrimp contains 179 milligrams of cholesterol, while the recommended amount is a maximum of 300 milligrams. Despite the fact that eating shrimp leads to a rise in cholesterol, there is also a tendency of the high-density lipoprotein, the healthy cholesterol, to absorb it more. However, the risk for heart disease should not be neglected.
The risks, on the other hand, are far greater. More than 90% of the shrimp consumed in the United States is imported from Asia. Because of improper labels, to bypass environmental standards, we do not know exactly where they come from. Grocery stores and restaurants continuously serve misrepresented shrimp. In addition, less than 10% of the imported shrimp is checked for adulteration. Moreover, poor shrimp farm management can lead to the development of serious diseases and farms can only fight back with chemicals. Thus, the imported shrimp we end up buying might contain residues or antibiotic-resistant bacteria. These bacteria, such as organophosphates, malachite green, and organotin compound, can lead to memory loss, headaches, and hormonal system alteration.
Intensive shrimp farming can also pollute waters and contaminate soil. Some shrimp suppliers are linked to the use of forced labor.
Another risk is the 4-hexylresorcinol preservative found in shrimp this is used to maintain the coloration. The American Chemical Society labeled is as a xenoestrogen. This means that it can mimic estrogen and increase the risk of breast cancer.
How to Choose Shrimp
- As the risk of severe health issues is very high, we should be more careful when choosing shrimp. The international ocean conservation Oceana advises on avoiding farmed shrimp.
- In case you do purchase farmed shrimp, check to see if the fisheries have proper management and no links to forced labor.
- The best option is to check for shrimp caught in the United States because of the tighter regulations.
- The Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch is a very good resource for looking up shrimp recommendations, best choices and alternative recommendations.
Final Words – Is Shrimp Healthy?
Shrimp has indeed many nutritional benefits but there is still much controversy surrounding shrimp farming. Apart from the increased risk of contamination, careless farming has led to the destruction of thousands of acres of tropical mangrove. Moreover, continuous illegal fishing may result in actually killing various other species by accidentaly catching them instead of shrimp.
Considering these risks, as a consumer, you have to check the labels and read up on the farms. It is up to you to decide if you want to take all the necessary precautions or skip on the shrimp altogether.
Images from pixabay.com.