Incredible taste and texture aside, you should gain peace of mind knowing the benefits of wild caught shrimp. Wild shrimp contains selenium, vitamin B12, phosphorus, choline, copper, iodine, vitamin B3, zinc, vitamin E, vitamin B6, Omega-3 fats, pantothenic acid, vitamin A and magnesium. At nearly 26 grams per 4-ounce serving, shrimp ranks as a very good source of protein and provides over half of the Daily Value in each serving ranking as the 8th best source of protein. Approximately 90% of the calories in shrimp come from protein, and the rest come from fat.
At only 7 calories per shrimp, we can eat a relatively large amount of this shellfish without using up too many of our daily calories. For example, a person eating 1800 calories per day could consume 20 shrimp and only be “spending” about 8% of his or her daily calories. This very low calorie cost would not be so remarkable if it were not for the fact that shrimp provides us with significant amounts of so many nutrients. We usually have to eat foods with far greater calorie content to get the nutrient richness provided by shrimp. For example, those same 20 shrimp that provide us with about 140 calories also provide us with 25 grams of protein or 50% of the Daily Value. They also provide nearly 2 micrograms of vitamin B12-over 80% of the Dietary Reference Intake level for adults. When this nutrient richness list for shrimp is continued across the list of other vitamins and minerals provided by this fish, it becomes striking how much nourishment can be provide by shrimp for less than 10% of a total day’s calories.
On the other hand, some people claim that shrimp is unhealthy due to its high cholesterol content. However, research shows this may not be the case for most people, as only a quarter of the population is sensitive to dietary cholesterol. For the rest, dietary cholesterol may only have a small impact on blood cholesterol. This is because most of the cholesterol in your blood is produced by your liver, and when you eat foods high in cholesterol, your liver produces less. What’s more, shrimp contains several nutrients that may actually boost health, such as omega-3 fatty acids and astaxanthin antioxidants.
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One study found that adults who ate 300 grams of shrimp daily increased their “good” HDL cholesterol levels by 12% and decreased their triglycerides by 13%. Both of these are important factors in reducing the risk of heart disease. Another study found that 356 women who consumed shellfish, including shrimp, on a regular basis had significantly lower triglycerides and blood pressure levels compared to those who did not include shellfish in their diets. Research has also shown that people who consume shrimp regularly do not have a higher risk of heart disease compared to those who do not eat it.
The primary type of antioxidant in shrimp is a carotenoid called astaxanthin. Astaxanthin is a component of algae, which is consumed by shrimp. For this reason, shrimp is a major source of astaxanthin. In fact, this antioxidant is responsible for the reddish color of shrimp cells. When you consume astaxanthin, it may help protect against inflammation by preventing free radicals from damaging your cells. It has been studied for its role in reducing the risk of several chronic diseases.
Many studies have found astaxanthin may help strengthen arteries, which may reduce the risk of heart attacks. It may also help increase levels of “good” HDL cholesterol, an important factor in heart health. In addition, astaxanthin may be beneficial for brain health. Its anti-inflammatory properties may prevent damage to your brain cells that often leads to memory loss and neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s.
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